Earlier today my friend and fellow photographer posted a link to a craigslist ad from a woman in Seattle looking for a wedding photographer. The woman was upset because she thought that $3,000 for a wedding photographer was “wack” because all we do “is hang out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them” and that we are “making so much money its crazy.”
I first read this post earlier today while I was running errands and my head almost exploded. I immediately started drafting a horribly mean and punishing response in my head, but by the time I got home, I realized that this is probably a common misconception and that maybe I should try to explain why photographers charge what we do for our work.
If you’re in the market for a new digital camera this year, buying it in January or February might get you the best deal. Lifehacker has published a comprehensive list of when to buy things based on when you’re most likely to see low prices:
January: After the big trade shows like CES come around in mid-January, you’ll see that older model cameras drop in price to prepare for the newly-announced ones.
February: Since the newest cameras will have just come out post-CES, you can grab last year’s models for less.
The Best Time to Buy Anything in 2012 [Lifehacker]
Image credit: February Already!?! by ohdarling
In August 2005, a UK student named Alex Tew launched a creative project called The Million Dollar Homepage. It was a simple webpage containing 1 million pixels that he sold to advertisers for $1 each. The idea quickly went viral, and Tew became a millionaire less than six months after launching it. The Most Expensive Picture is a new photo website that may make its owners rich in a similar way. Anyone can upload a photograph to the website, but for a price: you’ll need to pay $1 more than the person before you. Each photo is featured for at least an hour before new submissions are accepted, and the first 300 submissions will be turned into a book (which all the submitters will receive).
The Most Expensive Picture (via Coudal Partners)
Consumer affairs blog The Consumerist caused a stir earlier this week by offering the following advice to people looking to earn some extra cash for the holidays:
Become a photographer. Most photographers will tell you that persistence is at least as important as skill in creating great work. If you know people who are looking to take portraits or holding a social function, offer to shoot it for free and sell them the pictures if they like them.
Needless to say, the suggestion caused quite an angry response from actual photographers, who equated the tip with telling people to buying a hammer in order to become an independent contractor. Stan Horaczek over at PopPhoto has also written up a lengthy response. It looks like people are taking Missy’s advice quite seriously.
Ideas On Scraping Up Extra Cash For The Holidays (via PopPhoto)
Image credit: Day 270/365 – Too Many Cameras by Great Beyond
Want to know how long it’ll take you to save up for that camera or lens you’ve been dreaming of buying? grndctrl, an uber-simple personal finance web app, can tell you. It doesn’t take any personal details, but simply asks for your income, expenses, and savings amounts. You can then provide it with a list of “rewards” that you’d like to save up for, and it will give you estimates of how long you’ll need to wait.
grndctrl (via MakeUseOf via Lifehacker)
Did you know that Photoshop has built-in mechanisms that prevent you from editing photos of banknotes? After getting a payday, Reddit user tarballdotgz tried to Photoshop some of his hundred dollar bills, but ran into the above error in Photoshop. Even if you find a way to edit the images in Photoshop, there’s a good chance your printer will give you a similar error if you try to print the image out!
TIL that Photoshop doesn’t let you edit photos of currency [Reddit]
Update: Another interesting fact: apparently one mechanism used to do this is something called the “EURion constellation“, a specific pattern built into banknotes worldwide. (Thx David!)
A Leica 0-series camera made in 1923 was sold this past weekend at WestLicht Photographica Auctions for a staggering €1.32 million (~$1.89 million). Only about 25 0-series cameras were manufactured to test the market before Leica began commercially producing the Leica A. It’s the most expensive camera ever sold, but is still only half the price of the most expensive photo that was auctioned earlier this month.
Photographer Laurence Kim wrote an interesting article titled “The Photography Business and the American Dream” in which he takes a look at the economics of doing photography as a career, coming to the conclusion that it’s one of the worst things you can do from a wealth creation standpoint.
I actually can’t think of a worse business than photography. I honestly can’t. In fact, if I were teaching an entrepreneurship class at a business school this would make a great exercise: Have my class think of a business that builds zero equity, had zero scalability and zero barriers to entry. It would be interesting to see if my class could come up with professional wedding/portrait photography. Knowing what makes a bad business would be very helpful in designing a good business.
The bottom line is this: from a wealth-creation standpoint, photography is a lousy career. But you probably already know that.
On the flip side, if you’re toiling as a photographer, you’re likely driven by a love of photography, not a love for money. Kim has some helpful tips for how to do photography as a career while staying smart financially.
Image credit: Money by AMagill
Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled #96″ from 1981 has become the world’s most valuable photograph after selling for a staggering $3.89 million at a Christie’s auction yesterday (it was estimated to be worth up to $2 million). The winning bidder was Philippe Segalot, a private advisor to some of the world’s wealthiest art collectors. The photo takes the top spot away from “99 Cent II Diptychon” by Andreas Gursky, which enjoyed five years as the world’s most valuable photo after selling for $3.35 million back in 2006.
(via ARTINFO via Popular Photography)
Image credit: Photograph by Cindy Sherman
Photographer and blogger Thomas Hawk has an ongoing project called $2 Portraits in which he gives $2 to people on the street in exchange for a portrait:
[…] I am going to offer $2 to anyone who asks me for money in exchange for their portrait. While I’m taking their portrait I’m going to ask their name and try to learn a little bit about them. I plan on doing this for the rest of my life — assuming that I can afford to.
To make things easier I’m putting $2 in reserve money in a special place in my wallet so that even if I don’t have change I will always have the $2 to hand over.
In part I’m undertaking this project because I realize that I’ve been avoiding people asking me for money. My biggest motivation behind this project however is simply that I think human interaction is a good thing. I’m not doing this to exploit homeless people or show how hard and bad life can be. I’m doing this because I want to celebrate other human beings as human beings and I think that this commercial transaction gives us an opportunity to engage and interact on a more human level… and I also think that I can take a pretty decent portrait.
You can see all of the portraits Hawk has taken so far in his $2 Portraits Flickr set, where he also shares the story behind each photo. If you’d like to start doing the same thing, he also has a Flickr group where people can share their own $2 photographs.
$2 Portraits (via ALTFoto)