Dear Photographers: You’re Doing Cheap Gigs Wrong

This post isn’t dedicated to the higher end tier of photographers at all, nor is it dedicated to those reaching for lower fruit; instead it’s for the photographers in the middle tier of things. You know, the ones who scoff at Craigslist gigs and cheap gigs below what they’re worth but don’t necessarily have the chops to work with really big brands. These are the photographers who won’t do “cheap weddings.” That’s not at all a defense of cheap weddings where they try to skimp out on a photographer of some sort. Nor is it a defense of cheap portrait gigs, cheap event gigs, etc. Instead it’s insight into how to adapt to the changing world of photography.

And more or less, it’s a secret. Are you ready?

Are you really ready? Okay.

Don’t shoot RAW. Shoot JPEG; or shoot raw and JPEG and just convert or give them the JPEGs. Don’t post-process. Just cull. Don’t spend more than an hour after the gig putting together the package. Don’t use those images for your portfolio in the same way that you’re picky and curatorial about a number of other things. Be upfront. Be certain your client understands what they’re getting and that it’s not a service you’re typically providing but instead you’re manipulating your services to fit their budget.

It’s called diversification. It can mean you get some nice gigs where the money is tax free. This is spending money and you shouldn’t try to make this the core of what you do, of course. But instead, adapt what you do for another price point. You know who does this? EVERY COMPANY ON EARTH! If you can’t afford a Lexus, you’re probably going to get a Camry or something else. If you can’t get the iPhone X, there’s always the iPhone 8.

Then there are even more affordable options too.

That’s it. That’s the secret.