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|| News Item: Posted 2006-09-05

Let's Talk Business: Finding Your Way
By Rick Rickman

Photo by
I've been lying low for sometime now trying to gauge if people in our business were getting any smarter about how they do business. Quite honestly, I've gotten really tired of seeing and hearing people making the same mistakes over and over again. The availability of good information about how do set up a good business has become very substantial and is readily available for those who are interested. Sometimes I think that we have cleared the hump. Other times I think we continue to make the same mistakes over and over because the people who are entering this profession are just basically stupid.

I held that believe for a while until I started to do some teaching at the Brooks Institute of Photography. Since that beginning I know that the majority of the people wanting to become photographers aren't at all stupid. What I have found however is the vast majority are inherently lazy. Even though good information on good business practices is readily available people just don't want to do the research to find it.

Most photographers, like many who are members of would rather just send out a quick email to ask a question about how to price for a job or how to charge for a CD of pictures. To add to the difficulty, many of the photographers who write to ask questions do think about the importance of the question to have asked it enough in advance to use the information they are given.

I was flabbergasted a few day ago when I read that one photographer was actually going to charge a client $10.00 for a processed and completely worked up image for use on a website. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but no self-respecting, professional, photographer who wants to stay in business sells 5 x 7 prints for $ 10.00. How is it possible to believe that it's a good idea to sell images for any kind of publishing use for $ 10.00.

Just by prowling the archives of, it is entirely possible to find almost any ballpark-pricing scenario that exists out there. There have been discussions for the past several years that go to the heart of doing good business and pricing appropriately. There are other websites out there that have pricing schematics that will help find many situations. has a wealth of information available. has lots of information as well.

One thing that has to be realized is that even with boatloads of information available it is still incumbent on the individual to find that information and use it. Being lazy and pleading ignorance is absolutely no excuse for continuing to ruin the profession that has the potential to make you and others a good living. I've also decided that being silent is no way to make things better. So, it's incumbent on all of us to speak up when people are screwing up and to help others in every way we can to make better business decisions if there is going to be any future left to this profession.

Let's all try really hard to find our way out of the redundancy of making the same mistakes over and over again and actually get set on a path that allows people to do great pictures and get paid appropriately or their creative efforts.

(Rick Rickman is on the faculty of Brooks Institute of Photography.)

Related Links:
Rickman's member page

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