Nic Showalter | How much for a disc of all my images?

​There are a lot of people taking pictures, charging a flat fee for an hour of photographing and then giving away the images on a disc.

But I'm a photographer - not a person taking pictures and handing over the images. It is a very important distinction.

If you are willing, read on and I'll try to explain a little bit more of why I do it this way - and I certainly don't mean it to be a defensive rant or demeaning to you in any way.

First, I work hard to develop the skill and knowledge of what it takes to capture good images. I have over $10,000 invested in equipment to help achieve that goal also. Once I capture an image I spend considerable time editing, tweaking and refining the image to make it look as good as possible. To take all the value that I have invested in getting a good image and then just giving it away for $75 or whatever seems reasonable to someone makes no sense.

It's not just or even primarily an issue of making money or preserving value for my own desire to make money from photography.

With a disc of images in hand and a release to print, folks can take those images anywhere and get them printed with no assurance that the lab (or inkjet printer in a fancy display which is what many places have) will accurately reproduce that image as it is recorded and edited. A bad printing job of my image makes me look bad and hurts my reputation. I partner with a lab through my website that I know will produce high quality prints and help me maintain a good reputation.

People with cameras taking pictures, produce compressed facsimiles of what the camera saw at the moment of capture. The camera adds some colors and sharpens the image all to make an image look as acceptable as possible with no more human artistry.

Photographers shoot in the highest quality format and that format cannot even be printed until it is converted by an artist into a printable format.

Secondly, visual artists used to be able to make a living producing artful photographic images. Very few can now make enough money to earn a good living because everyone has a camera taking pictures and a lot of people are charging $75 to take your picture and then giving all the images away. As innocently as folks may be doing this, they are helping to erode the art for all of us. And anyone who buys into that approach is actively diminishing the art for all.

When artists no longer have the financial opportunity to support themselves and their families, they no longer have the commercial incentive to excel at producing great art. When that happens, the overall quality of art suffers and we, as a culture, have to settle for marginal and average images. Our own standards for what looks good decline to the point where we are effusively complimenting one another's blurry and underexposed images on social media.

​Thanks for considering this information - I love visual artistry and want to do my part to keep the standards high for the sake of our present culture and for that which our children will inherit.