Most photographers will know that familiar sinking feeling of clients bargaining down their fees to a level that it becomes simply not worth working for. Most photographers will also know a colleague who they could pass the work on to, someone who for different reasons is happy to take any job any time, even if it means unashamedly undercutting the market price. It can be difficult to be angry with such a colleague, although often such colleagues are difficult to offend!
In many other spheres of work, once you have a contract you don’t have to discuss wages or fees for years or even decades. For photographers, however, bargaining with clients or potential clients over fees for a shoot are part of the daily routine. Unfortunately it is commonplace for clients to offer insultingly low prices. Some even expect you to work for free, and even be happy with the offer and the ‘opportunity ‘. Sometimes even suggesting payment for one’s time can bring a discussion with a client to an abrupt end.
One of my friends and colleagues David Kecskemeti has a really good suggestion for those clients looking for cheap or free labour.:
“The automated photo booth in the closest underpass takes a photo for only €2.75 (800HUF) and welcomes customers 24/7 you don’t even need an appointment.”
This idea inspired David so much he set about organizing an actual fashion shoot project in and around a photo booth. The difference being of course that here he was the organiser and the creator not the photographer, the automated portrait booth ‘stepping’ into that role for the day. Looking back on the day’s shoot, David says he took with him in small change almost as much as a fee for an ordinary photo shoot. All the coins were used by the end!
Anyway, it’s a really interesting idea. You can see the complete series at David’s blog:
Have you ever reached the point when you offered a robot instead of your own real-life photography work and experience?
A reference shot is below: