Let’s Not Race To The Bottom

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…the problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win.

You might make a few more bucks for now, but not for long and not with pride. Someone will always find a way to be cheaper or more brutal than you.

via Seth’s Blog: The race to the bottom.

There Are 11 Comments On This Article.

  1. Last week I found out I lost a bid to shoot 60 corporate type head shot portraits, spread out over three days, studio on location type work at one location. The winning bid was $1,200 all inclusive.

    At rates like that someone is not only not making any money but is essentially paying the client to rent the conference room where the shoot is staged.

    • Ellis, I feel your pain. I think we all have a few of these, I used to say wait till they get the shoddy results and they will be back for quality…unfortunately , I no longer feel this way, I do not think this type of client cares, or better yet, knows to care. Yes, let’s not race to the bottom, but I think we have all seen a glimps of what it looks like. Chin up, fight, fight, fight!

    • Mind me asking what your price was and what sort of usage they were looking for and for how long?

      $1,200 seems so incredibly stupid, baffling.

      • I don’t mind at all. In the mid $7K range. That includes an assistant @ $300.00 per day and set up and strike time and very basic cosmetic retouching on the finals. I asked other local photographers I know and respect their off the cuff estimates ranged from around $7K to $9K.

          • Because of the nature of the subject and the purpose of the shoot – basically perpetual for public relations, press releases, and marketing. They are a privately held company so annual report usage was not discussed but frankly I’d have no problem with them using the photos for an a.r. or in B2B capability brochures.

  2. One time I had a similar situation happen. However I had a signed contract with the client to do the shoot for $5000 (it wasn’t 60 and it wasnt multiple days!). The client then backed out a week before the shoot. Thankfully my contract said that if you back out you pay me a 50% kill fee. So I got paid $2500 to do nothing. They flat out said they found a “photographer” that would do the shoot for under $1000.

    I later found out who the photographer was. I emailed her and said “good job. I got paid more than you did and I didn’t do any work.”

    She emailed back saying she will likely have a repeat client. I’m certain I’ve still made more money off them.

    • Hey Jeff, mind me asking how much lower than 60 was it? I never have signed contracts, usually everything I do is through email so when I send a quote to a client I include the terms and conditions, and then the client accepts to go ahead with the shoot with me. Does this constitute accepting my quote?

      I have a section in my terms and conditions about a cancellation fee but I don’t know if it will hold up…

  3. It’s like a relationship- whether you need them more than they need you or vice versa.

    Repeat client? Continuous low paying jobs demanding your time and taxing your health? I’d rather be growing some food in the garden. I’ve quite a few low paying jobs starting out to know that one mistake like damaging a lens- losing a filter is a bloody pain as the job is practically a loss.