So, you’re finally living the dream. Married your dream partner, bought a comfortable house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, golden lab retriever named Cupcake, and three wonderful children who keep you busy driving around for ballet recitals and soccer practice. Life couldn’t be better! View full post »
Recently I have found myself needing a kind way to share with potential clients just how much goes into the professional photographs I produce for them. I get the question, “Why is photography so expensive?” and “How can it possibly cost that much?” all the time. If not directly, then in attitude.
I’ve had people just laugh and never call back. I’ve seen and heard it all. And I’m not complaining. I get it. What seems to be nothing more than a “disc of snapshots” is attached to a four or five-digit price tag, it’s hard to not think you’re being taken for a ride.
From a strictly tangible, monetary standpoint, below is a partial list of what it costs me to create professional photographs.
-$40-60k worth of camera & lighting equipment + backups
-$1,450/year equipment maintenance and repair
-$5k worth of computer equipment and software
-$5k/year on phone, internet, websites, domains and archiving services
-$4-8k/year marketing, advertising and branding
-$3-6k/year traveling to and from sessions and weddings, plus travel meals
-$500/year continuing education
-$2k/year office supplies and tools
-$1k/year in postage, packaging and delivery
-Uncle Sam’s generous slice via self-employment tax
The above expenses are what it costs to make photographs, not “take.” Produce. Not, “capture.” These traditionally used, passive verbs subtly imply that photographers don’t actually do a whole lot. They just see something pretty, press a button and put it on Facebook. And, ta-daaa, that’s it! And you’re right, if that’s all it is, then it shouldn’t cost so much. But in addition to the above tangible expenses, there’s a lot that goes into creating professional photographs that don’t actually have numerical values attached, yet it still costs me..it cost me time away from my own family, my husband, my 3 boys, two of which are still very young, friends and family, relaxing, sleeping, taking my children to the park, going to the movies or even getting a load of laundry done, you know just living and so these costs must be limited by attaching to each a monetary value and spreading it out over all the services and products I offer:
-Time prepping and packing gear before each session
-Drive time to and from session
-Time actually shooting
-Time downloading, editing, exporting, posting and backing up photos
-Time promoting and maintaining business social media sites
-Time spent maintaining website and blog and refining search engine optimization
-Time communicating with clients via phone and email
-Time in consultation meetings with clients
-Time spent bookkeeping
-Time cleaning, maintaining and repairing my camera and computer equipment
-Time spent reading educational materials, training, practicing and refining my skills
-Time designing and creating marketing materials
-Time packaging and sending finished products to clients
And then, last but definitely not least, there’s Experience. Experience represents all the years and energy it has taken (and is still taking) to learn how to relate with my clients and their kids in a way that helps me to produce natural, fun, energetic photographs of them. Only one in every twenty or more clients arrives to their session “camera-ready”, or rather, “camera-comfortable.” One, in twenty or more. Almost every single client confides, nervously, right before we start shooting, “I really hate being in front of the camera.” As a professional, I have to help most clients be comfortable, coach them, prep them, make them laugh, distract them, encourage them and know when to put the camera down when they need a break so that they can take the time they need to relax and be themselves. These skills took years of practice and proactive self-educating. And it’s one of the best things I can offer to my clients is trust and peace of mind that even if they don’t feel pretty or cool at that moment, or if every little thing that can possibly go wrong DOES go wrong, that they’ve hired a professional who is going to get the shot. No matter what. And that, along with expenses, salary, the investment of time and profit for a vibrant future is what makes hiring a professional costly and in my opinion, totally worth it. 🙂
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PORTRAIT SESSION
Greetings!! Delighted you here! On this page you will find some of the best tips for a successful portrait session. I’ve always been a strong advocate on ways to help others with detailed information for a successful portrait session. Below you will find helpful tips on clothing, posing, location..etc. I hope you find this information useful and if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. ♥
Patience is key! As a mom myself to my two young boys, I know things don’t often turn out as planned. Babies get hungry, toddlers get tired and we as parents must know how to adapt quickly. As a professional family and newborn photographer now, I’ve used information that I’ve gained as a mom, in order to help make your session go smoothly. If your toddler or baby is having a hard time during there session, we will slow down, go at there pace. Try your best to stay calm and relaxed because there’s always a sweet snap in every moment and every circumstance!
When trying to capture these moments, clothing is key. To create a classic look; choose something simple, without busy patterns or logos. This can often distract or create heavy contrast with the scenery. It is important to follow the seasons: nice bright solid colors in the spring/summer and rich warm solid colors in the fall/winter. Again this creates a nice flow and blends well with the background and scenery. Accessories can also create unique and special focal points.
In the end, the more natural and comfortable you and your love ones are, then better and more relaxed your photos will turn out. For posing, I love capturing the “in the moment” images that tell the story of you and the ones you love. I will definitely give you suggestions as I shoot, in order to pose you in a way you are comfortable with so that you can feel your best!
Before Your Session:
I highly recommend to come dress and ready to go for your session, including little ones. Children are more likely to get fussy when they are messed with too much during the session, for example feedings and outfit changes. Ladies if you wearing heels, it’s always a good idea to bring flats or sandals when there is a lot of walking involved, such as urban shoots.
I’m SO SO happy to introduce you to Diana & Brad! We had the sweetest joy of being apart of one of the most amazing day of there life last year, there wedding! First it began with there engagement session, Diana’a bridals and finally maternity photos but it can be complete without newborn photos, right? So stay tune!! They’ll be available for viewing here. ♥
I think this family is just gorgeous! Their love for each other (and for color!) is absolutely adorable and so sweet! I just love this crew and hope to get to take more of their family photos in the future! ♥