Firstly about Adams, I can’t remember where I first heard this story, it may have been directly from him, but it has remained with me for at least 30 years. During The Depression, Ansel Adams was selling his prints for $25.00 to anyone who cared to buy one. This was a fairly significant sum, but far from out of reach for many. He made a pilgrimage to New York City to meet Alfred Stieglitz and during the conversation; the price charged for a print came up. Adams asked Stieglitz what he charged for one of his prints. Stieglitz answered $2,000. Adams was totally flabbergasted. He said, “How can you charge such an exorbitant amount. No one is going to pay that!” Stieglitz’s response was, “I don’t care if no one wants it, it’s worth it.”
I have a similar story to add...
I was up against a very solid photographer and the bidding was so close that they had called both of us for a special 'discussion' on how the shoot would be planned and executed. Of course we were not called in at the same time.
After chatting for awhile, the account executive said that they would really like to use me, but my bid was the same as the established photographer and they felt that for the money, they would prefer to use someone more comfortable.
Would I lower my bid... by 20%?
I was told that if I would, I would get the job.
I thought long and hard, and let them know I would lower my bid but only if the lowering of the bid would be found in the bid itself. I lowered daily food allowances and a few other things to end up about 12% lower.
They said that was not acceptable, they wanted me to lower my fee.
I smiled and wished them well. My fee was set when I bid the job, I told them, and what would it say about me if I was to simply lower the bid that was made in good faith as the best price I could do.
The other guy shot the gig.
My wife wanted to kill me.
I held to what I believed, and eventually the agency and I worked together on a variety of great jobs.