Photography as a Cash Grab.

It always surprises me when I hear stories about things other photographers have done as a cash grab…  but perhaps it shouldn’t.  For so many, that’s what this business is about…  well, for many in many types of business that’s all that business is about.

I’m a photographer because I love life.  I love capturing life.  I love stopping that perfect moment, and storing it forever – perfect, without failure of memory.  I love photography.  I charge what I need to, and no more.  It’s not a cash grab for me.  It’s not about finding the peek that our area can support and charging as much as possible.  I charge what I have to, in order to make photography viable for me, and no more.

Today I heard a story from a client, about a family who purchased a couple of Groupons recently from a photographer in our area.  My client (who also found out about me through Groupon – I was the first photographer from Saskatoon who was featured) had raved about her experience to this other family.  So when they saw another photographer there, they jumped at the chance to purchase two groupons – one to keep, one to give as a gift.

When this family contacted the photographer, they asked if it would be possible to use the groupons for graduation sessions.  The photographer said that would be just fine.  Later, the photographer changed their mind telling this family that she had so many people requesting graduation shoots that she decided to add an additional fee for all graduation portrait sessions…  so they could have their graduation booking by paying the additional fee, or they’d have to book some other type of session.  That, in my eyes, is soooo wrong, on soooo many levels.

Perhaps things like this shouldn’t surprise me, but they do.  Really, talk about the ultimate cash grab.  When they realized the demand was high, they go back – even to people they had already said yes to – and say “yes, but only if you pay extra”.  I just can’t imagine doing something like that.

There are enough mediocre photographers out there, billing as if they aren’t – 0ffering a couple hundred low res images on a disk for a few hundred dollars (and then charging out the nose for prints or one high resolution file).  It’s hard enough for people to put their trust in us, without us having to battle these types of negative experiences.  It’s no wonder that so many people have reservations about hiring a professional photographer.

If you don’t LOVE what you are doing it shows.  It becomes about the cash grab, about taking people for as much as you can.  And I find that to be so disheartening.

Photography is more than a job (or at least it should be).  Photography is about passion, about pride.  It’s about how you see the world.  It’s about taking others through the lens with you – and introducing them to the beauty you can’t help but see.  Opening their eyes to what was already there.  Taking their hand, and bringing them into your world, sharing a very deep, very intrinsic part of yourself.  As soon as it becomes about the money, you can’t hold onto that.  As soon as your eyes become clouded by dollar signs you lose sight of the rest.

So, for those who have been taken advantage of…  take heart.  There are photographers out there who are in it for the love of something more.  Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper, and look a little harder to find us.

About Tobi-Dawne

Tobi-Dawne Smith is many things to many people... photographer, canine behaviour expert, equal rights activist, green politician, lactivist, intactivist, writer, crafter, dog handler, third wave feminist, etc. But most important in her life is her role as mother to an amazing five year old. Learn more about TD at follow her blog at get to know her daughter at or check out her work at

Posted on May 28, 2011, in TD Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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