You get what you pay for


Brownie Hawkeye in black and white. Scene lit with SB800 1/2 power with red gel and Rogue Grid on backdrop. Camera lit with SB699 with snoot 1/8th power. Circular polarizer used to reduce glare and reflections


Photography is like anything else, you get what you pay for, meaning if you buy something cheap the quality is most likely to match the price.  Most people expect professional results when hiring a professional.  That being said, hiring professionals is not cheap.  We ensure we hire professionals when it comes to our health but we look for cheap and often inexperienced when we want to capture our memories of life’s moments such as weddings, maternity, family and baby portraits.

Recently I was asked if I would consider photographing a maternity portrait.  The soon-to-be mother asked a friend about finding someone who could re-create the image below.


My friend referred the soon-to-be mother to me, but I never got a call or email about doing the session.  A couple of weeks later I saw the results of using the free/cheap photographer.  See the image below.


I often feel bad for these people because they expected to get the look they saw on Pinterest or elsewhere but the result was FAR from that quality, especially if they paid professional level prices.  Most often though they chose the cut rate, lowball, or free photographer and got the quality for which they paid.

Here are some ads from a recent search on Craig’s list.



A decent quality (out of focus) photo, and a “good” (out of focus) photograph to “grab” attention!.

I’m on a Facebook group that is a “Trade for Time” for models or want to be models and see images like this all the time.


I am not sure she understood the comment, “you glow!!!”.  She is really glowing orange.

We can all have some photographs where we miss the focus or have weird color due to a failure on our part.  The difference is a professional doesn’t give these to the customer.

As photographers, we need to educate people to stop paying for bad photography of their cherished memories.  Models who get bad photographs are not likely to get jobs.

I am not saying I, or any professional photographer, is perfect.  I am not, nor are they.  The difference is that professionals care about the quality of their work and want to ensure everything fits their reputation.  It is a matter of making a living or going broke.

As potential photography customers, talk to your photographer prospects.  Check out the quality of their work,  compare them to others.  Don’t just let price drive your decision, it may be a costly one.


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