Photography: Art vs Sales

Something that's been on my mind this week was brought to my attention again last night when I read this article about the real reason wedding photography is expensive. The idea is nothing new and it's what I've said to people in the past. But no one wants to justify themselves for running their business. And I know, or hope, people don't mean to be hurtful when they tell us, the photographers, that we're all too expensive. But hey artists tend to be a sensitive lot and that's what a photographer is, an artist.

I had a wonderful, encouraging breakfast earlier this week with my friend and fellow artist, Andrea Pesce, and we were talking about, among many things, how photographers today have become individual craftsmen instead of the big studio salespeople that they often were in the past. I think people like the idea of hiring an "artist," or at the very least, a person they trust. But sometimes, I think they see that person as just that, instead of as a business that needs to succeed.

Personally, I think there's a need for artists who provide the same amount of goods as the big studios do. The best of both worlds so to speak. That's why it's important to me to maintain my personal connection with my clients, but at the same time, provide them with all the service and products they could have with a larger studio.

I think most of us went into photography because we love the art of it. And there's nothing wrong with that. I just want to do more. Provide more. Sometimes photographers are so swept up in being best friends with all their clients, that they forget all the real, tangible services we can give to them. Things we take for granted like designing an album or wall display, or even planning a wedding day timeline. Bless every bride who has asked me their opinion on that ;)

I wonder how the majority of photographers see themselves. Artists? Salespeople? Entrepreneurs? All of the above? I definitely want to be all of the above, which I think is a rarity. But calling myself an artist or entrepreneur just sounds so much better! I think "sales" has an unfortunate connotation and people associate it with high pressure and wasteful spending. But I definitely don't think it has to, or ever should be that way. Even when I bought my car from the notorious car salespeople I was clear that that tactic wouldn't work on me. I'm just very resistant to anyone trying to pressure me or tell me what to do, especially if it involves my money! 

If you're a photographer, how do you define yourself? Do you ever feel limited by that label? And if you're not a photographer, what do you think? Are we just a self-absorbed breed who needs to stop hemming and hawing (I can't believe I just wrote "hemming and hawing") over what we're called or how the world sees us? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!