Serious Joke ?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by rashedahmed, May 31, 2011.

  1. Client : Nice shot, John. You got it in 15 minutes. But 1,000 bucks for that isn't a robbery?
    John (photographer) : Yes, you are right. To get it done correctly in 15 minutes took me 15 years of hard work & dedication to master this art of 'robbery'.
     
  2. I assume you will have the same attitude when a plumber with twenty five years experience charges you $1,000 to replace a tap washer!
    It doesn't matter what the profession is, I wouldn't give anyone $1,000 for fifteen minutes of their time.
     
  3. It doesn't matter what the profession is, I wouldn't give anyone $1,000 for fifteen minutes of their time.​
    I would, if the alternative was spending $5,000 to solve the problem another way.
     
  4. Mention that to your cardiologist, Steve, should you ever need one....:)
     
  5. Mention that to your cardiologist, Steve, should you ever need one....:)
    I'm English. We have a National Health System. I don't need to pay a cardiologist (or any medical professional) anything above my monthly taxes.
    And I don't think a cardiologist is worth $4,000 per hour either.
     
  6. It's always amazing to hear people who think that the only thing they're buying from a professional are the minutes they spend in face-to-face production time on a project. They ignore what comes before and after, ignore the overhead, the liabilities, the staff, the equipment, and the opportunity costs of taking on a project. And, as mentioned above, ignore the lifetime of experience that comes with hiring someone who knows what they hell they're doing. You're not paying $1,000 for 15 minutes, you're paying $1,000 for specific results.
     
  7. @ Steve , if the photos the photographer makes during his 15 minutes helped make my company make many times more than that in profit , $1,000 for fifteen minutes of his work would be a bargain.
     
  8. if the photos the photographer makes during his 15 minutes helped make my company make many times more than that in profit , $1,000 for fifteen minutes of his work would be a bargain.​
    And if they don't, it's not so much of a bargain. I think the actual profession is irrelevant here. The question is, is anyone really worth $4,000 an hour (or $1,000 for fifteen minutes). I can't think of anyone who is.
     
  9. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    About the only people who actually make that kind of money are a few sports stars and popular actors. (And, similar to what Ellis said, they make that much money because their employers still expect to make a profit.) Even big-name, high-dollar photographers don't earn $4,000/hr simply for showing up and taking pictures.
     
  10. Steve: nobody makes $1,000 for fifteen minutes, because nobody rational thinks that the fifteen minutes of actual shooting is all of the time that actually goes into the process. There are hours on either side of those 15 minutes that get their own share of that $1,000. Suddenly it's looking more like $150/hour, gross. Add in the non-billable overhead time of marketing and paperwork and contractual back-and-forth, and it's more like $80/hour, or considerably less if it took even three hours to hammer out the licensing and related legal issues for a commercial job.

    Pay your insurance, your state and local taxes, keep your equipment up to date and working and having the required spares, get yourself to the gig, pay your assistant, and presto: you're making lower-middle-income wages, at best, by the time the dust settles. $1,000 for a gig - even when the actual shooting time is only 15 minutes - isn't much at all. Especially if time had to be set aside for the gig (to provide for the possibility of it taking longer), which prevents you from booking other, full-day type gigs.

    Nobody who's ever looked at the actual reality of such situations thinks in terms of the fee for the gig only applying to the time literally shooting. Photographers who do end up bankrupt or delivering pizza at night to make ends meet, and clients who do end up getting craigslist-first-time-out-grade wannabe commercial photographers and exactly the services and photographs they deserve.
     
  11. I am willing to bet the overhead for the photographs taken on the moon in 1969 were quite a bit higher for that 15 minutes work also...
     
  12. "It's always amazing to hear people who think that the only thing they're buying from a professional are the minutes they spend in face-to-face production time on a project"
    =====================================================================
    It's even worse when a guy with a Point and Shoot thinks that he can do what you can do and beleive it or not, this happens very often.
     
  13. It's the old Steinmetz tale again...
    Charles Proteus Steinmetz was a brilliant electrical engineer, the master of the design of rotating magnetic field generators. He worked for GE for decades. After he retired, GE had problems with a new generator, and they hired Steinmetz to come in and consult. He came in, looked around and made notes for a couple of days, the relying on nothing but experience, visual inspection, and pencil and paper calculations, drew an X on the generator casing, gave GE a note saying something like "cut the case there, unwind 2 turns from the stator, close the case. He billed them $1000 (which is like $50,000 in 2011 money).
    GE management said "all you did was draw an X" and asked for an itemized bill. Steinmetz put down two lines...
    • Drawing an X, $1
    • Knowing where to draw an X, $999
    There's several distorted versions floating around, sometimes you'll hear the story with Tesla, not Steinmetz as the consultant. Edison can appear in either role, as the consultant drawing the X, or as the guy who called in Steinmetz. Sometimes, it's Henry Ford asking for help with an assembly line problem.
    But it really does appear to have been Steinmetz...
    http://www.edisontechcenter.org/CharlesProteusSteinmetz.html
     
  14. I am enjoying it Guys. 1,000 bucks in 15 minutes is not important here. But to reach up to 1,000 or 100 bucks in 15 minutes is important . It shows the photographer's ability to produce the image in short time by his experience which he gathered in 15 long years. It's that simple.
     
  15. The mother of the bride (I was 'Uncle Bob' sans camera) thought $2K was a lot for a 4 hour wedding and I mentioned that most of the time is in the dark room. But here the thinking is that gross is figured as a rate multiplied by time. My main point is that there are times when the value of the item/service sold, here a photo, is greater than a rate by time calculation. Of course, the OP here is where the perceived value of the client is less than what was billed. But what of the opposite case?
    So how would value billing work in a photography practice? In an accounting seminars, some marketer type speaker argued for the idea of value billing. E.G., CPA gets introduced to an out of town business who can't get its credit line increased by its bank. CPA meets with banker, asks what the problem is, resolves it in 15 minutes. CPA goes back to the client with the approval of say another $30 million in the credit line. Including travel, CPA has about a day of time with two staffers. Client is estatic and asks what the fee is and CPA says $75,000. Client writes the check and CPA goes home. That's value billing, because the rate and time gross would have been maybe $5,000 (10 hours, 3 people). But the perceived value to the client: he may have thought $75,000 was inexpensive.
    I propose that the key is to recognize when one is having a 'Steinmetz' moment and to then be willing to accept a value billing paradigm as more appropriate in that moment than mere rate times time. In accounting, and I would ask if its the same in photography, 'Steinmetz' moments don't happen that often, and rarely of the magnitude in the example above. Yet there are times when the perceived value to the accounting client is greater than what one would charge using rate times time and where the greater 'value bill' is still perceived as inexpensive to the client.
    Are there times when you could have probably charged more and didn't? Felt that something important wasn't billed, the money just left on the table? Or is it just so entirely competitive that those opportunities don't exist?
     
  16. I was once told that most businesses can charge their customers for about 1000 hours a year. That works out at about twenty hours a week as the rest of the time you will be doing other stuff which the customer will not see or be aware of. Chasing suppliers, getting stuff, etc.
    As for the fifteen years' experience: Some people do have that, others have one year's experience fifteen times!
    I don't think having fifteen years experience is enough to justify $1,000 for fifteen minutes of a photographer's time any more than a carpenter would be justified in charging $1,000 to spend fifteen minutes hanging a door because of his many years of experience in the trade.
     
  17. Steve,
    Adam Smith was an Englishman, Scotsman at least. Same island whatever, to us 'Mericans it's the same.
    Supply and demand.
    If I can find someone to reliably hang the door for 50, I will get them to do it. That usually affects the price of the craftsman carpenter with 15 years experience who wants to hang doors(for $1000). If the carpenter does not want to hang doors for $50, then he better find something else to do to ply his trade, no.
     
  18. Oh, and Steve,
    As much as I agree with you on photographers and carpenters.
    I have to disagree with you regarding cardiologists. I would not want any ol' doctor sticking a wire into my heart, and doing interventions like arthroplasty and stent placement. I want plenty of gatekeepers preventing normal run of the mill, C average doctors(B doctors actually), from doing that kind of work on me.
    I want the field limited to the fewest possibly needed.
    If you are fine with Mohinder Ramachandran who graduated from the the University of Bangalore, with a C average, sticking a metal wire into your heart, because it is free to you. By all means, you deserve what you get.
     
  19. It's even worse when a guy with a Point and Shoot thinks that he can do what you can do and beleive it or not, this happens very often.​
    Harry, having more expensive equipment and even a lot more experience doesn't make you a better photographer. Sometimes the guy with the point and shoot can do what you can do and he can do it a lot better . . . because of his own hard work and talent . . . or luck. Then again, maybe you are a better photographer, but if the other guy has better marketing skills he may well make the big bucks. That's business. It's not always about who does the best job. Art is the same way. It sometimes boils down to PR. Not always. You can either be envious of the guy with the point and shoot or you can out-market him.
    What you say is very observant: "a guy with a Point and Shoot thinks that he can do what you can do . . ." Sometimes it just takes that kind of thinking and confidence to make it.
    ________________________________
    Plenty of folks make plenty of money without investing much at all. Capitalism is often idealized. One can claim that you get out of it what you put into it. That, of course, would be denying all the luck, nepotism, inheritance, cheating, trickery, advertising, and manipulation of the system and consumer that can occur. Many people do charge based on what they, themselves, have invested or put into the work (and not just the time the consumer sees as being directly related to the job). And many people charge more.
     
  20. If you are fine with Mohinder Ramachandran who graduated from the the University of Bangalore, with a C average, sticking a metal wire into your heart, because it is free to you. By all means, you deserve what you get.​
    I am fine with whoever our NHS decides is qualified and competent to do the job. They should know more about it than I do. I don't see how I can decide who does it.
     
  21. it is wrong to believe the job only takes 15 minutes to deliver the actual result, especially in Quality Photography. Not sure what the client ordered and what the use is going to be, but $1000 for something tangible of high quality and lasting me a life time is worth it or making the investment double or triple for business people.
     
  22. oh, and hanging a door may take 15 min, which I doubt. I surely doubt that delivering a 40x60 framed wall art made of high quality materials really takes 15 min to set up, create, process and deliver. You still believe a Grand isn't worth it?
     
  23. You still believe a Grand isn't worth it?​
    I believe I said that No one is worth $1,000 for fifteen minutes of their time.
     
  24. I believe I said that No one is worth $1,000 for fifteen minutes of their time.​
    But you haven't said why you think anything being discussed here is an example of that.
     
  25. I am fine with whoever our NHS decides is qualified and competent to do the job. They should know more about it than I do. I don't see how I can decide who does it.​
    Steve - you are ultimately the one able to decide on your own medical treatment. I know a few people (including myself) that have done so.
    I've refused to see a particular pulmonoligist because his knowledge on a subject just happens to be less than mine. He's discounted a huge body of research, knowledge and proof of a particular treatment. Last time I spoke to him, he said "you can keep on taking the vitamins if you want, or you can stand on your head, or you can go home and pray to god, you have the same chance of remission". I do respect his experience and knowledge but I'm not taking vitamins, so I couldnt really take him seriously after that.
    I think a lot of people accept any and all things from medical professionals because they are qualified, experienced, registered and legal. A huge problem with a lot of today's medicine is that GPs and specialists are often not up-to-date.
    I'm way off-topic, so anyway re the original post:
    I think stupid people should be made to wear dunces hats. Then we'd know to give them a wide berth ;)
     
  26. But you haven't said why you think anything being discussed here is an example of that.​
    The original post said "To get it done correctly in 15 minutes took me 15 years of hard work & dedication to master this art of 'robbery'."
    None of that refers to any extra product being supplied or any extra time spent off-site which can legitimately be charged for. There fore I stand by my original statement that I do not believe anyone is worth $1,000 for 15 minutes of their time..... and I will add: Regardless of experience.
    It is human nature to try to over-value ourselves. As this is a photography forum, we think photographers are worth more than they are paid. On teachers' forums, teachers complain about being underpaid and I'm sure (if they exist) Doctors' and Lawyers' forums also have posts stating that they are worth more than they get.
    I like the dunces hat idea!
     
  27. None of that refers to any extra product being supplied or any extra time spent off-site which can legitimately be charged for.​
    That's because we're all photographers. We don't need to say that, because it's obvious to anyone participating in the conversation. Further, to anyone in any industry that bills for their time, it's obvious that the time spent executing work in front of the customer comes with substantial overhead-related time - away from the customer - that is reflected in the actual billable face time. You know this, I know this, everyone know here knows this. There is no 15 minutes in reality, there is only a line item on an invoice that says 15 minutes. Everybody knows it represents far more than that, and everyonr includes you. If you really didn't know that and understand it before this thread, you do now.
     
  28. Everybody knows it represents far more than that, and everyonr includes you. If you really didn't know that and understand it before this thread, you do now.​
    Obviously I knew that because I wrote about it. However, the tone of the original post was that the photographer was worth the $1,000 for 15 minutes fee because of his experience or 'hard work and dedication' as it was described.
     
  29. You're worth whatever the market will bear. How long do you think it took Cindy Sherman to take her $3.9 mil photo?
    But I think the real question is what did the client agree to pay for the photo before it was taken? It was obviously worth $1000 to the client or s/he wouldn't have agreed on that price. They may have even thought it was a steal, depending on what the subject matter was. The fact that it only took 15 minutes is completely irrelevant and sour grapes by any client who would want to re-negotiate the deal after the fact. They got what they paid for so it's a good value. If they are upset by the 15 minutes, then the next time they need a photo they can put how long it will take to shoot into the contract.
     
  30. I think this was a hypothetical fifteen minutes and perhaps we are discussing it a bit too seriously!
     
  31. Annie Leibovitz has an annual contact with Vanity Fair U$ 2 Million. If she gives 36 days of her time ( 3days x 12 months) you can easily calculate how much she earns every minutes. Let alone what her clients pays.
     
  32. Except, as mentione above, three days of shooting each month (to follow your example) is the tip of the iceberg. She would spend many more days than that communicating about and planning the shoots. She would be paying her large staff, dealing with locations/scouting/studio space, and all the rest. Dividing her contract value by her minutes on the set shooting is just falling into exactly the same tunnel-vision trap as the other comments above. She's not just a photographer, she's running a large, complex business.
     
  33. Back in the '70's I fixed a "friend's" turntable for an agreed upon price of $20. When he saw the apparent ease in doing it, he would only pay me $5.
    I learned never to let them watch you work.
     
  34. This reminds of the joke about the high cost of plumbers. So the doctor wakes up in the middle of the night hearing something terrible in the basement. He checks and finds a leak causing a 4 foot flood. So he quickly calls his plumber who come over immediately at 3 am in the morning.
    So the plumber goes to the basement and returns in 5 minutes. "Well," the plumber says. "It's fixed."
    "That's amazing, 5 minutes!" says the doctor. "How much do I owe you?"
    "$300."
    "$300? For 5 minutes work!" complains the Doctor. "I'm a doctor and I don't earn that much."
    "Well," says the plumber. "When I use to be a doctor, I didn't earn as much either?"
     
  35. Matt, I knew what you mentioned above will arise. But that's all because of her brand value. If I or other photographer work with the same Leibovitz team, surely Clients will not pay the same amount of money as they are paying to her. It's the result of her vision, creativity, experience & hard work.
     

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