Years ago a photographer friend of mine told me a true sales example of how he perceived the value of a picture. He was at a client's home doing a sale's appontment and they reacted to his price of $85 for an 8x10. This was around 1990 and we were still shooting film. Looking over at the client's book shelf he saw an old, beautiful 8 x 10" black and white photograph of a couple. He went over to the bookshelf to have a closer look at it and said: I love this picture, it is so beautiful. I would love to buy it from you, what about $200? The wife answered: It's my grandparents and the only copy we have, so there is no way I will sell it; it means a lot to me. My friend said what about $300? She answered it is worth more than money to me. Then he said: And you think it is to expensive to pay $85 for the one of your own family?
I hope this post can put some thoughts in your mind on the value of what we do and what we should charge; we are creating so many priceless treasures for people. Let's treat our work as what it truly is, wrap it in silk paper, hold it up carefully by the edges when we show it to our clients and be respectful of the truth worth of beautiful images.
The picture above is of my parents, taken on their wedding day February 23rd, 1952 in Asker outside Oslo, Norway. It was during the 1952 Oslo Winter Olymipcs. The picture was taken by Harald Ohnstad, who was the very first photographer I worked for (in 1972). Oh, how I wish I had a signed original print of this image.
PS. May 17 2013
Since I wrote this post back in Dec 2011 this picture has increased even more in value to me. My Dad died a few weeks ago, so I treasure it more then ever. Hope my work do and will do the same as this do to me.
R.I.P Jens Linge, Respectfully your son Kenneth