A photographer responds to the “Ask Anything” post by A Photo Editor


Most of you have no doubt already read the first installment of Rob Haggart’s new “Ask Anything” series, in which Suzanne Sease and Amanda Sosa Stone addressed the question of “How much money do commercial photographers make?” But have you read the almost point-by-point commentary by photographer/blogger John Harrington over at Photo Business News & Forum? Here’s a juicy excerpt:


A Photo Editor: “So, what do successful commercial photographers make? I’ve always believed it was a lot.”

John Harrington: Success is not always defined by what someone makes. For example, the owners of LifeTouch – the business that does a large number of school portraits across the country is a commercial enterprise, bringing in millions each year. Yet is that success? For the owners? For the commercial photographer that runs the on-tripod camera with formulaic strobe setups?

APE: “How has the economy effected the way people price?”

JH: While you might seem to think that there would be an effect, and erroneously, there is, it isn’t a long term solution – because when you’re a $1,000 photographer for X, and you do the job for 1/2 of X, that client will remember you at the 1/2 price rate when the economy rebounds.

APE: “Are photographers starting to base their usage on their cost of doing business instead of the cost of the use?”

JH: This too is a flawed question – usage should never be based on the CODB, it should be based upon the use. However, one’s photographers fees should have, as an absolute floor, that photographer’s CODB when it comes to a photographers creative/assignment fees.

APE: Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease wrote:
“we had 1 photographer bold enough to give the answer everyone has been waiting for.”

JH: I’m not sure which one they are speaking about, so knowing this would be helpful.


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