Originally Posted by PhotoDave1
Believe me when I say that I hear your frustration because I have experienced the same thing. A while ago organizations like ASMP and others were semi-successful at standardizing rates but all that has changed with the Internet and the explosions of GWC's and Digital Debbies who have no clue what value is and I have a feeling it will continue to slide deeper and deeper into the abyss until there is nothing left. Photographers are craftsman just like lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, etc but the biggest difference is most professional societies except photography require education, credentials, and a license to be a part of it.
Nowadays anyone who can pony up enough money to buy an entry level digital SLR can call themselves a 'photographer' and screw the daylights out of the rest of us and there is very little we can do about it as long as there are photographers who will break ranks in their chase for a dollar. It didn't use to be that way but unfortunately now it is.
In the portrait and wedding world they are called Soccer Moms.
Next item..... There was a time when organizations such as the famous PPA (and their affiliates.. state and regional) had some sort of requirements for membership, but now the PPA , and most affiliates, have one requirement... you must pay a yearly membership fee. No questions asked, no sales tax permit necessary.
The reasoning? If they had any requirements, the membership would fall off. Don't get me wrong, I believe any photographer should have a chance to be a member of those organizations, but at least make sure they are complying with local laws, such as having a DBA, and having any necessary permits required by cities for running a business... and especially a sales tax permit.
How does this relate to the original comment? A soccer mom can easily work out of her home, ( applies to some GWC's) and pay no overhead, no permit fees, no sales tax, and charge $15 for an 8x10. They can charge $300 to $500 for complete coverage of a wedding.