Price vs Value - Which One Wins Out For You?

I was doing an on-site promotion recently when a lovely lady came up to me and said: “Your photos are amazing!”

“Thank you” I replied. “What type of portrait session would you be interested in?” I asked.

“Anything cheap”, was her reply.

I gave her the details of my sitting fees, and she then proceeded to ask about the lovely products on display and their prices.

At that point I already knew she was asking out of curiosity as I know that none of the products I offer can be considered “cheap” - in price or in quality.

She went away telling me that she would come and see me the next day - I already knew this would not happen.


Common sense should tell us that if we are purchasing something which can be considered cheap but which is not fit for purpose, or will not last as long as it should, we are not getting a good deal as we will need to replace it soon and spend money again.

Consider this Common Law Of Business quote:

“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
— John Ruskin

Whereas I sometimes feel like having this printed on my business cards in order to explain to the public that I do not sell cheap products because they are unfit for purpose, I also feel that this would be counter-productive. People do not wish to be preached to, no matter how much common sense it makes to point out the correlation between price>value>quality.

I do understand that, all things considered, if you simply cannot afford something you should never get into debt over it and that’s the end of it.

However I am not addressing those who simply cannot afford something - I am speaking to those who can afford it but simply do not see the value in quality.



Many people realise that professional photography is an investment in their personal and family history, and their business - These people will not approach me saying they are looking for something cheap. They want to invest, and understand the intrinsic value of professional photography and high quality products.

But on the other side of this coin there are people who think photography is not a skilled job, that all photographers are in it for a bit of fun (because their mate “is a photographer”) and that photos printed at the local supermarket are of the same quality as the products I offer.

I will not dwell on either but I will say that there are a few professions where charging a fair price for your skills cause as much surprise as being a photographer does.

This is an image/perception issue, given the inordinate amount of people who call themselves photographers or who believe that anyone with a camera is a photographer..

Mass, cheap, photo printing also helps to further the myth that all photo prints are created equal!


The price of an item is not always an indication of its value - In photography this is particularly true!

What price do you place on your personal and family history? Would you say it is priceless?

This is where price and value become a blurred line as I am not talking about monetary value: I am talking about emotional value!

A portrait should last a lifetime. It should still be around when your grandchildren come along and can see portraits of you, and their parents , from 20 years ago.

In the age of film this was not difficult to achieve. but nowadays print quality varies wildly and price definitely reflects the quality and longevity of your images.

The photo prints I offer are guaranteed for 75 years* - Can your supermarket prints boast the same longevity?

The display products I offer are made from the finest materials, and ethically sourced - Can high street print products boast the same quality?

You may think that this does not matter, but consider how you’ll feel when these cheaper prints start to fade and images begin to disappear…

Yes, you may be able to keep re-printing them but if you had bought a quality product to begin with you would not need to keep spending money again and again - We come full circle!

*Print quality is guaranteed for 75 years provided the prints are not exposed to direct sunlight. No prints survive that!


  1. Professional Photography and Premium Products are an investment for you, your family and future generations, or your business;

  2. If you do not agree on the value that comes along with professional photography and that I am a professional photographer running a legitimate small business, for which I have many expenses, not to mention that I am earning my living solely from this small business, we are starting from a weak point and so you will question why I charge a sitting fee at all, never mind why I charge for my work and products;

  3. If you genuinely believe that having digital-only images is the way forward, I’d ask you to research the fate which has befallen floppy-discs, which were once the height of technology! CDs and USBs will go the same way and storing images online has already been proven not to be safe and fail-proof - Technology should be a back up for your professionally printed images and not your only source of access to your beautiful portraits.


As I said from the start I do understand that affordability is a strong factor when considering your next Portrait Photography investment, and would not encourage anyone to spend more than they can sensibly afford.

At the same time I would say that if you are in a position to invest in Portrait Photography, do so by researching and asking questions instead of deciding on price tag only.

Andrea de Gabriel

If you would like to find out more about my services and prices, please visit the galleries via links on the Home Page or click below to contact me!