People think artists and photographers should work for nothing, that all a photographer has to do is snap a picture, and an artist only needs to quickly draw a picture, but that’s not the case.
Photography – cameras can cost anywhere from $500 on up and the lens is the most expensive part. Lenses can cost tens of thousands of dollars. To get an off-brand 400 mm for wildlife photos will cost me about $1600 new and thousands for a canon brand. Getting a good canon can cost well over $10,000 for a fast lens. Yes fast, not only does high magnification cost more but speed does also. A faster lens can get the wings of birds focused in with no blurring and it can take better photos of everything that isn’t a still image. Then there’s the editing, it takes some time to learn how to use a camera and equipment but it doesn’t stop there, using editing programs can be expensive and takes a lot of time.
Making art and cartoons – can take hours. The lines have to be smooth and these are not computer generated, they are painstakingly drawn out by hand using a mouse. Good pictures and cartoon characters don’t just come every time an artists lays hands on it, it can take hundreds of pictures to get one that stands out enough that a client wants to buy and each picture can take several hours. When a good one is created, the artist can make a little money on it by putting it on T-shirts, or by saving it for someone who wants to pay serious money for it, and so artists aren’t too quick to just sell rights to a picture for a few dollars to a business that makes serious money and doesn’t just give their work away for a few dollars.
I charge $100 to use one of my pictures, but I keep full copyrights and the buyer cannot sell the image. If someone wants a picture custom made with copyrights I charge $500, but chances are, if it is too complex I will probably decline the job because some clients will expect hundreds of hours of work and no one works for one or five dollars an hour when it takes years to learn the processes and expense for equipment is high.