I captured this one of my daughter as I tried to take some photos of her. She absolutely hates to have her picture taken so when I do talk her into it, I am usually able to get at least 1 that I am in love with. This happens to be that one! I have NO idea what I did to make her laugh so hard but it was a perfect moment to hit the shutter button.
I love this girl and her little quirks. She makes me smile and laugh and often makes me stop my busy life to see the tiny things. She makes me realize just how beautiful the moon is, how pretty the sunsets are and many rainbows that I wouldn’t have seen.
I love this picture because everytime I look at it, I want to smile and laugh myself.
I recently came across another photographer’s explanation of why we charge what we do for photography…. so this is my disclaimer…. I have added and changed a few things but it is a very clear representation of the reasons why you pay so much for custom photography.
This question may not be asked out loud over often but we know it is what some people think when they hear what we charge. We all know that each and every person has a budget whether it be big or small. We also know that there are those that will shop around for the best deals. However, when it comes to cherishing, remembering, honoring your loved ones, you will realize that photography is an investment.
You can go to almost any commercial store and get their $29.99 special. It’ll probably include few poses but not always (sometimes you only get 1 pose in that package), a certain amount of prints and a set amount of time. Do they know how to safely handle a newborn baby? Will those photos turn out well? Probably. Will they be fantastic? Will they blow you away? Will they be personal and just what you were looking for? Probably not.
The reason I say “probably not”, is because commercial studios are not required to hire experienced photographers. They give them basic training but they only get paid for pushing the shutter button a few times. They also are not going to be able to take you outside to locations with beautiful colors or rustic backgrounds that will suit your family’s individual personality and styles.
Custom photography, on the other hand, is very time consuming. Most commercial photo studios also do ZERO editting to their photos. So, most likely, you will want to reschedule if with Walmart and your child fell and has a bump on his head or a scratch on his face (only happens on the day before photos, right?) because they don’t edit their photos. With custom photography, your session is done in the comfort of my studio or in the morning, afternoon or evening hours. Your photos are professionally edited. Each and every photo is critiqued to perfection. True photographers will have taken the time and put in the effort to know how to do basic editing. They should be able to remove dark circles and bags from eyes, correct and even skin tones, remove blemishes, whiten teeth, ect.
Let’s break it down. Here is a list of everything I do for my sessions with time included.
· Booking: 1 hour – This includes contact with the client and paperwork.
· Pre-session planning: 2 hours – Not every photographer does this, but I plan my sessions ahead quite a bit. I like to have an idea of what poses I’ll do, what props I’ll use, and how many images I want to end up with. I also like to know what ideas you might have, your home decor style and color you love. Some photographers prefer to wing it, but that’s just not my cup of tea!
· Prep time before session: 30 minutes – This includes preparing all equipment, props, paperwork, and planning.
· Actual session time: 1-3 hours with client – I do what it takes to honor your ideas as well as to perfect the images/poses I want
· Drive time: 30 minutes – 2 hours To and from
· Uploading images from camera: 30 minutes
· Backing up original images: 30 minutes
· Culling images: 1 hour
· Professional editing: 3-4 hours (estimated only)
· Preparing proof gallery: 20 minutes
· Shipping print order: 30 minutes – 1 hour
· Posting sneak peeks and blog posts – 30 minutes
· Any additional contact time to answer questions, shipping issues, ect.
Total time per ONE session: 12-21 hours
Of course I don’t sit at my desk for thirteen hours and work on your session, this is all spread out through the business week. The business week in which I am also working on two or more sessions at any given time. I still have to be a wife and mom.
These figures also don’t include my business-related expenses, which are as follows.
· Equipment Cameras, lenses, insurance, and other accessories like remotes.
· Hiring I hire assistants for some sessions, I don’t always need them. When I do, pay is generally $10.00/hour.
· Marketing materials Flyers, business cards, CDs, stickers, labels, advertising, website related materials, online marketing.
· Packaging materials Boxes, rigid mailer envelops, bubble wrap, tape, blank labels, printer ink, tissue paper, ribbon/twine/ect, cellophane sleeves.
· Any additional software (Photoshop, Lightroom) website templates, card template designs, and membership fees.
Business license (to have a legal business)
Almost every dime I make goes back into my business in some way or another. Or, it might go to help raise my family but I put 110% into this business. My prices are fair (more than fair, in my opinion!) and are extremely less than other local photographers.
FAQ regarding pricing:
Why did you become a photographer?
The answer to that is simple. Because I love it! Growing up I was always an introvert. I feel as though photography has really brought me out of my shell and enabled me to not only make sweet memories but also make long, lasting relationships.
What does the session fee cover?
Time and talent. Most of the time, you’re only going to be paying for your photographer’s time, and their talent. This investment includes a phone or in person pre consultation. Clothing recommendations and talking about your family’s individual personalities and desires. I talk about your home decor and colors you use in your home. They should be paid well for that, it really isn’t as easy as pointing a camera and yelling “SAY CHEESE!”
Why do you charge SO MUCH for prints?
Every photographer hears this one on a regular basis. (Most of us don’t even charge “so much” either.) When it comes to prints, you’re paying for quality. You’re paying for a professionally printed, digitally perfected photo that is going to last longer than prints from chain stores. I value my work and I value you as a client. My goal is to provide my clients with the highest quality prints. Therefore, my monitor matches the professional lab I use as I work in a completely different color space than what the chain stores print in. The main reason is to preserve colors in your images.
My friend just bought a fancy digital camera and said she’d do my photos for $50.00. How can she charge so little?
To put it simply: You get what you pay for. Your friend probably wont know a lot about her new camera, or how to edit photos properly. Not to mention, she probably wont be prepared with legal forms or backup copies of your photos. Will she able to honor your ideas for a pose. Will she know to pose you so that you look the best you have ever looked? What if you are not satisfied with your images? As you know, doing business with friends can be pretty risky. How do you tell a friend that you do not like her images? I 100% guarantee my work. If you are not satisfied, you get your money back. That is how confident I am that you will be thrilled with your images. It’s all about what you’re prepared to accept. There are lots of talented individuals out there but that doesn’t necessarily make them a professional photographer.
Do you offer Digital Files?
You are definitely not alone in wanting the digital files. However, digital files are really meant to be a TEMPORARY method of storage. There are so many things that can go wrong with digital media. Before you know it, your disc full o fimages got scratched or your computer won’t read the disc anymore and all before you had the time to print any images.
The discs usually go into a drawer and never come out again and we often think we will print these images someday but they are all too often forgotten. Kinda the “out of sight, out of mind” scenario. I am guilty of this also!! Keeping up with the ever changing medias in this high tech world we live in today is nearly impossible.
My answer is YES, I do offer digital files but they are not given away. I take that back. I currently offer a free digital copy of any wall art you purchase. My reason is that I reward you for putting those images on the wall to enjoy every time you walk by them!
In any case, any way you look at it, custom photography is the way to go. I am including a link I found that is very informative but specific to newborn photography: http://living.msn.com/family-parenting/mom-to-mom-blog-post/?post=7cbb3e22-cc7a-47fe-a6ff-9a8b83b370c1 if you have a chance, take the time to read this article.