Photography Tips: COUNTING THE COST - PART 2 OF 2

Having touched upon the first part of the question asked of Mark Jordan Photography in Part 1 of this 2 part series ("How do you charge more than $50 for an 8x10...), we are now ready to continue in Part 2 by answering the second part of the question, "and stay in business?" This will entail a very brief discussion of Implicit Costs and conclude with a word on the Hobbyest. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Besides "Accounting Costs," there's also another cost accounting factor: "Economic Costs." In brief, while Accounting Costs are primarily bookkeeping in nature, "Economic Costs" considers both explicit accounting costs (bookkeeping), and an animal we have yet to discuss, implicit costs.

In a nutshell, implicit costs are the costs realized by the forgoing of a viable alternative that would ostensible earn more money. In brief, the difference between what you could be earning at this other endeavor (say as a rocket scientist), and what your are earning now as a professional photographer, must also be considered when counting the cost.

Since a great many of photographers feel that "photography" is the only occupation they would ever consider devoting themselves to, and would rather die than do anything else (being infected by the same disease as actors), the Economic Cost component is more than likely a moot point. Where this is the case, such economic consideration falls well within the very real realm of "psychic income." To read more, just click the link. 

As to the "staying in business" portion of your question, this is another can of worms, which many may not like my prescription.

My personal sense is that if a viable business model cannot be established and supported, the one needs to be honest and call it for what it is: a hobby (regardless of psychic income).

It's the hobbyist, in my humble opinion, who are flooding the marketplace/internet. Like unrelenting waves of jellyfish, they're elevated in glory one moment only to be crushed upon the shore the next. Before they crash, however, they lure an unsuspecting populace with illegitimate pricing, all to the detriment of bonafide professional photographers, if not to sting the public as well.

I don't mind at all that hobbyists are attempting to make money from photography - not by any stretch. I only wish they would be aboveboard and announce they're a "serious hobbyest". That is unless one believes that the common practice of accepting money for one's service alone constitutes and defines a professional. I guess that would be true if one also acknowledges the nobel "professions" of paperboy and lemonade salesperson.

This not being the case, I think it is reasonable to suggest that the mere acceptance or exchange of money for services rendered does not a professional make

So then, what am I saying? If, after determining the cost of one's services, it is determined that the pricing required to sustain the business is not viable, then do what it takes to either make it a reality or find another "business." To go on pretending that one's hobby is a business, while undercutting the stalwart professionals who are striving to support their viable businesses (and families), is not what I would consider wholly honest. 

Hobbyist or Professional?
For me (photographer and owner of Mark Jordan Photography) it's a question of integrity. When one is weighing the matter, whether or not to be (a person of integrity), there is no question. Either a photographer counts the real costs and then proceeds to make it as a credible business, or they face the facts and represent themselves as a hobbyist.

In the end, everyone who undertakes disingenuous practices not only diminishes the profession they profess to be a legitimate member, but soon enough will discover that we humans truly do reap what we sew.

Again, my plea would be to count the cost, both as a caring, responsible citizen, and for one's own good conscience and peace of mind.

Hope this helps. Anything else, just let me know.

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