The High Cost of Ignorance
Before you read on, I want you to know that I am a pretty even-tempered sort of guy. I don’t get too worked up over anything. So, if you read on and think that I am sort of mad about what I am about to discuss…you would be right. Yet, I am trying to figure out why I got so mad about this incident.
It happened while I was doing the shooting for the above mentioned job. I was on day three of 8 hour days of shooting. I may have been tired and not in as good of a mood as I might have been, when this happened. I am sitting at my table taking orders and photographing one subject after another when two ladies stood within five feet of me and started having a conversation with each other which went something like this:
Lady 1: “$25 for two 5×7’s? That is sort of pricey don’t you think?”
Lady 2: “Sure is…especially when you know how much they cost.”
Lady 1: “Yeah, I can get them for $1.47.”
Lady 2: “Did you bring your camera?”
Lady 1: “No, but I can take photos when we get home.”
Lady 2: “I think I’ll just order a group photo for $10.”
Lady 1: “Yeah, they are making quite a profit!”
That was when I could no longer bite my tongue. I spoke up something to the effect:
“That $25 covers the sales tax, the shipping and the time that it will take to prepare the order for shipping and the 40 hours I have to spend taking the photographs….not to mention the camera, the lights and the background!”
I tried to stay calm…but I was not happy. That was when Lady 1 said something to the effect:
“I know it takes a lot but I am in the business and I know how much everything costs.”
No, she does not! She knows the price of things…she does NOT know the COSTS!
Obviously, this lady is clueless! Worse, she is ignorant! I think I figured it out…I am mad that she is so ignorant and she calls herself a photographer. As an instructor who has worked hard to educate photographers on the value of our images and the importance of charging a fair amount for our work, here I am face to face with a so called photographer who cannot even see the value of charging $12.50 for a 5×7 – which includes sales tax and shipping. Even worse, she is griping about all of the money I am making on that 5×7! Unbelievable!
I have worked with hundreds of photographers who may have started out as clueless as this woman, but I never took it personally and I have always enjoyed bringing my eager students into a realistic view of the cost of doing business. But this woman was so vocal…knowing full well I was hearing every word she said.
I was really glad that she did not seem to know me. I was glad that she did not know that I had just finished a week at Texas School educating photographers who RESPECT their business. I am glad that she was not one of the 1000+ photographers who invested in their career to attend Texas School so that they might be able to produce an outstanding product and command a commensurate price. I am glad she walked out of there as dumb as she came in.
I am sure she will be out of business in no time.
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