You’ve all seen the too good to be true free photoshoot, well it generally is too good to be true, it's not actually free and it's not what you think it's going to be. There's up sells and add ons and images not included and its possible you’ll have to take out a mortgage to afford the amazing photos you’ve just had captured or worse you don’t actually love them!
This is a very clever marketing technique that gets a lot of people into the studio. It’s a great way to get new clients and build your portfolio - but in my opinion it's also kind of manipulative. Photography can be very emotive and people use their emotions to buy. So they rely on the fact that you are going to love these photos and become emotionally invested once you see them, and teamed with other selling techniques you end up walking out of there thousands of dollars down or devastated that you can’t afford the photos. And possible you're going to feel a little bitter about the experience and slightly duped. Yes you could have done your due diligence and enquired about the cost of said images but you really didn’t think that far ahead you just wanted to take advantage of this sweet deal you “Won” or stumbled across.
It bloody annoys me that every online photography marketing tutorial I’ve seen tells you to go for the upsell, in not so specific words they are telling you to basically lie to your customers and give them a deal they can’t refuse - If you want to make more money play on their emotions and use psychology to dupe them - This is my opinion on it anyway - Obviously there are going to be lots of varying opinions and this is how a lot of photographers operate, because simply, this is how you make the most money! They probably don’t believe there is anything wrong with it they work hard to make the images it's their right to charge for them - and yes they are 100% right they do deserve to be paid accordingly for the work they do, but there are many ways to skin a cat and this my friend is not my preferred method.
So there are many reasons this is happening everywhere you look but I believe the biggest one is saturation of the market. Everyone is trying to get clients and it's getting harder and harder to compete with the cheap “Budget” photographers. Professionals are getting undercut out of the career they spent thousands of hours and dollars training for because consumers everywhere want it cheaper, want it faster, want a good deal or a discount or think they can do it themselves because they have a good camera - and the quality, skill, creativity, flare and style that were once how you got clients is now being overlooked by the almighty dollar.
There is a misconception that all you need to take good pictures is a good camera, so anyone with a good camera and a computer can potentially market themselves as a photographer. Yes they can make a good picture but can they make a great one consistently? Do they understand how to read the light, how to utilise the light and compose an image creatively using interesting points of view, angles, depth of field? Can they create an environment that their subjects feel so at ease in to be their authentic self, to then capture moments so raw and unique to them it makes their subjects feel something every single time they see it? Do they know which image to cull and which to keep to create a story, to shoot the details and capture thought provoking moments creatively and spontaneously? And the list goes on and on and on - Do you get me? A fancy camera does not make the photographer, it helps but really its the eye and brain behind the lens.
So when you're considering investing in a photoshoot, do your research, read the fine print. Choose a photographer by their work not their price. It's important that you love their work first and that they are able to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. A photoshoot is an investment and you want to invest wisely. A cheap photoshoot could be the most expensive shoot you’ll ever have if it's a bad one.