Why Photography is like an Iceberg…

Why is Photography Like an Iceberg???

Is the iceberg effect killing your photography???

Iceberg syndrome affects most photographers, whether they’re aware of it or not. Even you.

The good news is once you’ve recognised it you’re in control of how much impact it has on your photography.

What is Iceberg Syndrome and why does it affect your photography business?

Just as 4/5ths of an iceberg is hidden beneath the waves, so too is much of what you do as a photographer. Think about it…

People see you running around with a big, expensive camera. They see you having lots of fun. When they see your images they think you must have a great camera to take pictures like these.

What they don’t see (or appreciate) is…

  • how much time its taken to learn your craft
  • how long it takes to develop your final images
  • how many frames you bin because they don’t make the final cut

…and that’s the iceberg syndrome. It’s also a big problem because it creates a disconnect between what you believe your images are worth and what your client is prepared to pay. The bigger the gap, the harder you’ll find it to sell your work.

Don’t give up, there is a solution to Iceberg Syndrome…

…but it’s not bleating to them about…

  • how expensive your kit was to buy — they already know this and don’t really care
  • how much experience you have — they know you’re good because they’ve seen your images
  • how long you spend in photoshop — they really don’t care about that because in their mind it’s an excuse to charge more

These are all wallet closing excuses. They’re deal killers invented by lazy photographers who lack the capacity or ability to close the gap in client-speak not photographer-speak.

Everyone knows 80% of an iceberg is hidden below the surface. Everyone knows icebergs are dangerous, the story of the Titanic is testament to that. Yet people still travel on ships through iceberg fields. Why? Because they trust the captain, the crew and the onboard safety devices to safely navigate them through.

The same is true for you too. Your clients know 80% of what you do is hidden from view, intangible and hard to value. Whilst they’re not prepared to pay for any of that, they will buy into things like

  • brand value
  • community buzz
  • celebrity and hype
  • peer competition
  • desire

If you can create one or more of these about your work, you’ll be well on your way to crushing the competition.

Don’t believe me?

Next time you’re in your local supermarket, pick a product, any product and look at the range on offer. Why do some people buy leading brands at much higher prices than off-label or supermarket own brands?

How many times have you seen a movie because of a great trailer? Or a particular movie star? Or because it was a ‘must see’ movie your friends were raving about?

I want you to think of an iceberg…

Why is Photography Like an Iceberg???
Photography is like an Iceberg — Don’t let it kill your business

…the next time you hear someone say:

  • why do you charge so much?
  • that’s really expensive just to take a few photos
  • your camera takes nice pictures

and remember this post. Then I want you to think what you can do to close the gap between your pricing and how much they’re willing to pay.


It might sound like a weird analogy, comparing photography to an iceberg so I hope you found a nugget of value in this article. If you did, please share with your friends and followers on your favourite social network or leave a comment below and let me know.

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