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State of the ART: The Little Lens That Could Read More

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Serious Joke ?

Rashed Ahmed , Jun 01, 2011; 01:46 a.m.

Client : Nice shot, John. You got it in 15 minutes. But 1,000 bucks for that isn't a robbery?
John (photographer) : Yes, you are right. To get it done correctly in 15 minutes took me 15 years of hard work & dedication to master this art of 'robbery'.

Responses


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Steve Smith , Jun 01, 2011; 02:58 a.m.

I assume you will have the same attitude when a plumber with twenty five years experience charges you $1,000 to replace a tap washer!

It doesn't matter what the profession is, I wouldn't give anyone $1,000 for fifteen minutes of their time.

Matthew Muskovac , Jun 01, 2011; 03:38 a.m.

It doesn't matter what the profession is, I wouldn't give anyone $1,000 for fifteen minutes of their time.

I would, if the alternative was spending $5,000 to solve the problem another way.

Robert Cossar , Jun 01, 2011; 04:02 a.m.

Mention that to your cardiologist, Steve, should you ever need one....:)

Steve Smith , Jun 01, 2011; 04:19 a.m.

Mention that to your cardiologist, Steve, should you ever need one....:)

I'm English. We have a National Health System. I don't need to pay a cardiologist (or any medical professional) anything above my monthly taxes.

And I don't think a cardiologist is worth $4,000 per hour either.

Matt Laur , Jun 01, 2011; 06:54 a.m.

It's always amazing to hear people who think that the only thing they're buying from a professional are the minutes they spend in face-to-face production time on a project. They ignore what comes before and after, ignore the overhead, the liabilities, the staff, the equipment, and the opportunity costs of taking on a project. And, as mentioned above, ignore the lifetime of experience that comes with hiring someone who knows what they hell they're doing. You're not paying $1,000 for 15 minutes, you're paying $1,000 for specific results.

Ellis Vener , Jun 01, 2011; 07:04 a.m.

@ Steve , if the photos the photographer makes during his 15 minutes helped make my company make many times more than that in profit , $1,000 for fifteen minutes of his work would be a bargain.

Steve Smith , Jun 01, 2011; 08:53 a.m.

if the photos the photographer makes during his 15 minutes helped make my company make many times more than that in profit , $1,000 for fifteen minutes of his work would be a bargain.

And if they don't, it's not so much of a bargain. I think the actual profession is irrelevant here. The question is, is anyone really worth $4,000 an hour (or $1,000 for fifteen minutes). I can't think of anyone who is.

Mike Dixon , Jun 01, 2011; 09:10 a.m.

About the only people who actually make that kind of money are a few sports stars and popular actors. (And, similar to what Ellis said, they make that much money because their employers still expect to make a profit.) Even big-name, high-dollar photographers don't earn $4,000/hr simply for showing up and taking pictures.

Matt Laur , Jun 01, 2011; 10:14 a.m.

Steve: nobody makes $1,000 for fifteen minutes, because nobody rational thinks that the fifteen minutes of actual shooting is all of the time that actually goes into the process. There are hours on either side of those 15 minutes that get their own share of that $1,000. Suddenly it's looking more like $150/hour, gross. Add in the non-billable overhead time of marketing and paperwork and contractual back-and-forth, and it's more like $80/hour, or considerably less if it took even three hours to hammer out the licensing and related legal issues for a commercial job.

Pay your insurance, your state and local taxes, keep your equipment up to date and working and having the required spares, get yourself to the gig, pay your assistant, and presto: you're making lower-middle-income wages, at best, by the time the dust settles. $1,000 for a gig - even when the actual shooting time is only 15 minutes - isn't much at all. Especially if time had to be set aside for the gig (to provide for the possibility of it taking longer), which prevents you from booking other, full-day type gigs.

Nobody who's ever looked at the actual reality of such situations thinks in terms of the fee for the gig only applying to the time literally shooting. Photographers who do end up bankrupt or delivering pizza at night to make ends meet, and clients who do end up getting craigslist-first-time-out-grade wannabe commercial photographers and exactly the services and photographs they deserve.


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