The Photographer That Charged $10 For a Portrait Session


So I was in a meeting earlier this week with the CEO of a top printing company when he narrated the story of an interesting photographer I’m dying to meet. Apparently this photographer took his studio lights and other photography gadgets to a clients house for a family portrait session he charged $10 for. And that was after he had deducted the 70% December discount he was offering.

The first question I asked myself was what exactly was the $10 covering. Was it for the taxi that got him to the client’s house? Or was it for the equipment rental he would pay himself for the use of his gadgets? Perhaps it must be because he loved the client so much that he didn’t want to do the job for free. Either way, I’m a little confused.

I’m confused as to how someone that calls himself a professional photographer can make a good living by charging such an amount. I’m confused how such an amount will help cater for a wife and a child. I wonder how he was able to buy the photography equipment in the first place. How can one pay for house rent and utility bills in Lagos state with such a fee. Maybe he’s still staying with his parents and does not have much responsibility in life. Perhaps I’m missing something. Or perhaps he just needed the pictures for his portfolio. Perhaps he’ll charge $100 or $200 for the next session with the client.

Whatever the answer I get, I’m tired and frustrated. I’m tired of increasingly hearing and meeting photographers that charge peanuts and scrap just to be able to keep body and soul together. At the end of the day we wonder why much respect is not being given towards one of the profession responsible for documenting human history.

Perhaps there are some other facts that haven’t been presented in the $10 scenario above. I wish I could meet the photographer to hear his point of view. Maybe then I’ll understand the permissible situations that will make a photographer charge fees that might eventually make him unemployed in a few years or months.

If that is fast becoming the norm for what to charge for a family portrait session, then maybe I need to start looking for a way I can survive in an industry that is being increasingly populated with unprofressional professional photographers. Maybe I should consider the comedy industry. Any suggestions.

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2 comments

  1. Dayo · December 21, 2012

    You are not the only person in such dilemma. As a new comer in photography, I met some photographer in a wedding some days ago. Looking at the conduct of the so called ogas in the field, honestly as a new comer I started asking myself if this is what photography profession is all about & if this is what I actually want.

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  2. cathy · January 6

    Well since you didn’t get the entire information i don’t think its fair to judge!

    First the 10usd might be and hourly rate? and it does not include his deliverables, the soft copies, the prints the enlargments, he could easily cover ground in these areas.

    Just my thought.

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