Why Cheap Photographers Don’t Pose a Threat to the Industry

Photographer Zack Arias has an interesting piece on why he doesn’t think photographers should feel threatened by others who offer their services for absurdly low prices:

Think of the brides out there who don’t have a budget but want some photos of their weddings. Maybe there are young couples getting married who don’t have the parents to pay for a big event or they don’t want to start their young family in debt but they would like someone to come take some pictures. Are you saying that if they can’t afford a $3,000+ photographer then they don’t deserve photos? Are you saying that if they can’t afford a Mercedes then they shouldn’t be allowed to drive? Shame on you. Not everyone can afford pro level prices. That doesn’t mean they can’t have some level of photographic services available to them.

[…] I’ve laid this all out to make the point that cheap photography has its place. It has its place for clients who can’t afford much and it has its place for photographers trying to build something from nothing. It’s part of becoming a full time working photographer in an age when so many want to become a photographer.

Cheap Photographers Only Kill Themselves, Not The Industry [Zack Arias]

  • John

    Zack’s article was posted in October of last year. Not exactly recent ^_^

  • Paul

    It’s its

  • Michael Zhang

    Good point. Changed that :D

  • Seven Bates

    I started out cheap. I filled a niche and I know for a fact that my clients couldn’t have afforded a $3000 package. I still offer wedding packages significantly lower than “high end” studios, because IMO, their prices reflect unnecessary overhead. My skillset allows me to do virtually everything in-house. The competition I provide has given the consumers in my area, more choices and made my competitors offer more in their packages, to compete with me. 

  • Michael Zhang

    Just edited those :)

  • Anonymous

    I was gonna say…

  • Daruosha

    He is a lovely man and what a NICE attitude he has.

  • Daniel Yu Suzuki

    Cheap photography does have its place. But when a cheap photographer advertises themselves as a high quality professional, and asks for $300 instead of $3000, the perceived industry prices changes. 
    If you are a beginning photographer and want to charge less, advertise that you are a beginning photographer. Don’t claim to be a professional without knowing how to shoot.


    I don’t agree. A photographer could be shooting for years as a hobby before/if they decide they want to do it for a living. So saying all photographers who are “beginning in business” dont know how to shoot is not practical.

  • Cynthia

    There is something about the word “cheap” that is a little abrasive.  I prefer the words affordable or  moderate.  Certainly everyone cannot afford to spend $3,000 on wedding photographs and there will be millionaires who do not choose to spend their $$$$ that way.  Finding the best photographer for your family includes taking in consideration your budget – it does not mean you must settle for mediocre work.  

  • bob cooley

    Unfortunately this issue doesn’t just extend to wedding photography.

    Publications and commercial enterprises who typically CAN and used to pay a fair rate for photographic assignments now all-too-often go the cheap rout and find work that is “good enough”, either in purchasing cheap stock (yes, we’re talking about you istockphoto), or will convince young, inexperienced photographers that “being published and getting the photo-credit is more important than being paid”.

    The other problem is that typically the photographers who are charging the low low rate are going to deliver what the client paid for: low quality. 

    When mediocre quality permeates the market, it becomes the standard.

    Shooting a wedding properly takes a LOT of planning, work, follow-up, and good directional skills to not only produce images that will commemorate the special day a lifetime; but to help create an photographic experience for the family that they will remember as a positive one.

    I’m not even a wedding shooter and I know how hard it is to properly provide full-service at a wedding; it can require more project management skills than a high-end commercial advertising shoot (not always, but it sometimes does).

    I’m certainly not arguing that all wedding photographers should charge $3,000; but charging 1/10 of the market value devalues the entire market.

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