A creative art such as photography can be considered a premium service when a client sees the actual value. The number one question I get asked about my photography service is, "How much do you charge?” This question usually comes before any other question about the service and products I offer. When I get that question first, I already know that this potential client does not care about the quality of their photography. They are more concerned with how much they will spend. With today’s economy, I understand why this may be a major concern. If you are looking for a bargain, you will probably find the cheapest price available on whatever product or service wanted. If you are looking for a premium or high quality product, the price will be higher than the bargain. An example would be shopping for electronic products. If you shop for a bargain, the product will probably be cheaply made or old. If you shop for a high quality product, the price will most likely be higher because of the work and attention to detail it took to produce what you are looking for.
Photography should be well thought out and produced. In the words of Ansel Adams, “you don't take a photograph, you make it.” The time, attention to detail, and creativity that is put into making photographs to provide clients with a premium product is far from bargain work. When I think of bargains, I think of places like Walmart or Kmart. These are places where people shop to get what they can for the money that they have. Walmart has become a huge part of society because of bargain shoppers. When you are shopping for a specific item, quality matters. In my opinion, I would not go to Walmart to find quality clothing or shoes. If I am looking for a good deal on notebook paper and the crowd doesn’t bother me, then Walmart is the place to go. When it comes to photography, I believe there is too much time, creativity, and thought put into it to be a bargain. Premium anything is not going to go for the cheapest price.
To turn a vision into an image, a photographer uses the precise tools to get the job done. When I got started with photography, I had no idea how expensive the gear could be. I was looking for a hobby back then, but fell in love. I started to learn more about the gear and determined that I wanted to do this for a living. Then, I got a look at the tools required to do what I love. One of the most important tools that I over looked was education and learning the craft of photography. A DSLR camera body has become more affordable but still not cheap. In order to perform a shoot with backups, I have to bring over $5000 worth of gear to the studio or locations. This premium equipment has to be maintained and insured. Yes, I do understand that the gear doesn’t make the artist. I also understand that the gear enables a photographer to produce the results wanted in a different manner and different speed. When shopping for premium photography service, you will most likely have a photographer that is working with some of the top professional equipment. So as long as the photographer is educated and knows the gear, the results should be high quality.
When an image enters its final stage, it will have to be examined. If there are any unwanted flaws in this image, the photographer should be educated enough to remove what is unwanted and leave what makes the image look natural. Computers with high quality displays are perfect tools for editing and viewing images before delivering them. My main workflow includes an MacBook Pro 15.4" with Retina Display, Adobe Lightroom 5.5, Photoshop CC, Medium Wacom Tablet, and 3 external hard drives. The image will go from my camera to the computer for viewing in Lightroom. Then minor edits and cleaning in Lightroom. If needed the image will be opened in Photoshop for more retouching. After finalizing in Lightroom, the image is pushed to a file as a jpeg for delivery. For one image, the process can be very lengthy. There are hours in front of a computer to ensure a quality product is being delivered to clients.
The care that a small businessperson has for clients and customers is unmatched. Clients are a major part of a photography business. This is why I believe they should be treated with as much care as possible. Of course, a smart businessperson will not put themselves out of business by giving in to whatever clients want. A photographer should always look to deliver premium service and products. A relationship or friendship should be developed during client's experience. You will never get that at Walmart.
How much do you charge? If this question is asked before even talking about what is offered, my mind starts to tell me that this is not the client for me. We can talk about pricing all day, but if the price is not right for the client they will not hire me. People that complain about the price of an Apple computer (yes I'm an Apple fan) are not looking for quality or a premium product. In my opinion, if it is too cheap I worry about it being too CHEAP...
So, shopping for a bargain will not get you what you want but maybe what you need. If I need soap, I can get a bargain brand for cheap. I might want Nivea soap, which will come with a premium price.