OK, I admit it, like many people, I’m always on the lookout for good deals. What a pleasant feeling indeed to get a professional quality service at an unbeatable price!

For several months, I have seen quite many of these good deals happening on Groupon.

  • here, a professional photoshoot in the Walloon Brabant for 19€ instead of 150€,
  • there, a studio photoshoot in Brussels for 24,99€ instead of 325€

Up to 92% off!!! Prices worthy of the hard discount industry, which leave me both admiring and puzzled.

What will be the next step: free photoshoots?

How much does a hard discount photographer earn?

Let’s take this photographer asking for €19 VAT incl. per session. What do we get for this price? 1h30 of shooting + let’s say 30 min – rough estimate – for some mass image corrections and emailing photos to the client.

Here’s a quick little calculation:

2 hours of work for € 15,70 exVAT
MINUS about 20% Groupon commission
MINUS about 35% taxes, if our “professional” is registered as a company and not as a simple freelancer

Which means 4€ net salary for 1 hour of work: not even enough to afford a crate of 24 Carapils!

Behind every professional photographer there’s a double chain of values:

    1. One quantifiable: the investment in professional equipment – up to several thousands of euros – which will be amortized over several years of work.
    2. One intangible, and nevertheless very perceptible which differentiates, a priori, a pro from an amateur and, all the more, a good photographer from a bad photographer: the artistic approach and the style which are the result of multiple trainings, experiments, peregrinations, discussions and inspiration from different types of art.

What should we be thinking of these so-called “professional” photographers who sell off their services and their art up to this point? What about their economic and artistic value?

Economic nonsense

It’s hard to blame mindful consumers with a small budget rightfully looking to get bang for their buck. And this, all the more so as the Internet has accustomed us, in recent years, to almost everything free. By the way, wrongly, but that’s another debate.

Unfortunately for low cost photographers, their almost free photoshoots cannot be compensated for by the commercial use of their clients’ personal data. Not everyone can be Facebook! In short, unless you come across an annuitant photographer who doesn’t care to be profitable, the conclusion is unmistakable: a photo shoot at an ultra-reduced price equals ultra-reduced quality.

4€ net salary for 1 hour of work: not even enough to afford a crate of 24 Carapils!

At a 4€ per hour rate, these hard-discounters will have to work 75 hours a week if they want to claim a staggering salary of … 1200€ net! Impossible under these conditions to set aside enough money to renew their equipment, like any self-respecting professional.

Do these low-cost photographers sincerely think to make ends meet by increasing the number of low cost shootings, like assembly line workers? Could this be the Taylorism of the 21st century?

Artistic nonsense

Ultimately, THE irritating question, in my opinion, is artistic. What kind of photographer, with a little respect for their body, their mind and their peers, can sell off their art at such ridiculous prices?

As written above, a good half, if not most of a photographer’s value is not quantifiable. A good photographer, like any good artist, cannot work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Not out of laziness. With some exceptions, a self-employed person always works much more than an employee. But because creativity and art in general require constant availability and openness. You won’t probably see it at first, but a great photo is always the result of dozens, if not hundreds of hours of daydreaming, observing, saving, digesting and carrying out ideas. The concept of artistic assembly line work is therefore complete nonsense!

Therefore, working at least 75 hours a week does not augur well on the artistic or quality level. Even worse, at this rate, burnout is not far away.

Do low cost photographers sincerely think they can overcome their physical and psychological limits?

A prejudice for an entire profession

Everyone is free to make their own experiences. However, if this kind of practice were to continue, it would end up bringing irreparable discredit to an entire profession. By maintaining the illusion that a professional photoshoot is worth no more than €19 or €24.99, these low cost photographers not only shoot themselves in the foot, but, even worse, they put at stake the credibility of the whole photographers community. Or how to turn a desperate act into a hopeless move for an entire industry!

Anyway, if you are looking for a professional photographer in Brussels who won’t sacrifice the quality of his work on the altar of price, you can always contact me here for a studio shoot!