Why The “You Get What You Pay For” Saying Is BullSh*t!

Today on Facebook a Photographer I know posted the statement “I don’t shoot for free. You get what you pay for!” Let me tell you. Reading that simply left me shaking my head at the statement. Not to mention how insulting it is.

Before you go on to tell me that my statement is incorrect; keep in mind that we’re talking about the arts. When dealing with the arts, pay has nothing to do with the end result. It’s not like we’re talking about let’s say cars.

Of course you get what you pay for when we’re dealing with cars or homes; or anything manufactured, and even some services like hotels. A Rolls Royce of course will always cost more than a Honda. And yes you do get what you pay for with a Rolls.

Deaqon James Automotive Shoot WorkshopWhen however; we’re talking about art that’s an entirely different thing. I’ve even heard photographers make that claim about models. “You get what you pay for” when dealing with Models? Seriously? Is a model going to look different for pay or if you’re not paying them?

_MG_4327Getting paid doesn’t make you any better at what you’re doing. Money can’t make you better. I tend to do a lot of trade shoots when I think it will be mutually beneficial in some way; which it pretty much always does. LAUREN-TASH01306But does that mean that I shoot any less well? Is my eye somehow different? Or my style? I’ve worked with several makeup artists on a trade basis and the results have been stunning.

In fact, of the images I’ve posted take a wild guess which ones we were getting paid for and which ones were trade shoots.CRW_8055Now don’t get me wrong. Money is an important component to doing what we do in the sense of the ability to facilitate a variety of things. Things like location rentals. Equipment rentals. Craft services or whatever will add greater dimension to your photoshoot.

But to use “You Get What You Pay for” is ridiculous. The very concept suggests that if you shoot for “free” as it were that somehow the quality of your work will be less than stellar.

CASSANDRATASH01780Here’s the bottom line. Your skill set is your skill set regardless of how much money is on the table. You can only shoot to your skill set. If you can’t tell the difference between an f-stop and a bus stop then no amount of money is going to get you shooting at a higher level.

___OLGATASH01926I don’t shoot any differently for a trade than I have for thousands of dollars. My skill set and style are what they are in that moment, no amount of money is going to change that.

Melissa_Luchiana_TC003So can we please stop saying you get what you pay for, when it comes to working with photographers, makeup artists or any other skilled occupation?

Keep in mind that it is precisely the skill level that makes the difference between a photographer who can’t get anyone to pay them and a photographer who earns thousands of dollars per shoot.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Let's Talk Photography!