Monday, September 30, 2013

What to expect at a photo session with me.

(or why I'm not charging $50 a session).

The chatter among photographers often turns to conversations on how to know what to charge for our work. The photography market is very competitive, but I choose not to compete with other photographers based on price. I believe that my pricing reflects the value of working with me.

I first "hung my shingle out" aka entered the world of paid photography about 8 years ago, specializing in youth athletics. My heart is still with sport photography but I also offer (and love doing) family portraiture. I have a full time job that I love as well, so I'm not relying on photography to feed my family and pay all of my bills. BUT I know that others do, and I know the costs associated with running a small business, and I know the value of my time. And that's why I'm not charging $50 a session.

I came across an advert for a local (my neighborhood) photographer that is charging $50 a session. Your $50 will get you a half hour of her time to shoot, and all of the edited images. In my world that half hour translates into a minimum of 3 hours of my time

Your family portrait session will include:
  • communicating with you before the shoot so I know what you want, and can help you know what to expect; 
  • travel to the location (if you don't come to my garden studio), 
  • post processing the images because that is a critical part of what I offer, 
  • creating an on line gallery for you to proof the images, 
  • reviewing the images with you to agree on final picks and making sure everything is print ready and to your satisfaction. 
  • creating and delivering any specialty products that you choose.

Before the shoot I'll scout the right location to make sure it will be suitable for our needs. Just last week I found that the fall colors at one park weren't really started and there was a lot of snow fencing around washed out areas of the creek. Because I checked before hand I was able to contact my client and suggest an alternate location, and we got the photos we intended to get.

During the shoot, 
  • I'll work at getting the posing right, including figuring out what to do with your hands and feet, what angles to use, and how to arrange your family so that you will end up with a photo you want to print and hang on your wall. I'm not just going to plunk you all in front of a pretty bunch of colorful fall leaves, and fill the frame with people. 

  • I'll interact with you and your family in a fun and friendly way so we get the best expressions we can. I'll take responsibility for getting the kids to smile and sit pretty, so that hopefully you can relax and look your best.

  • I'll compose the shot to include background elements, but use an aperture that ensures a separation between you (the subject) and the background.
  •  I'll watch for spontaneous, candid moments and try to capture those as well. If your willing to play in a pile of leaves or climb a tree, I'll be ready to take those images too.

After we've taken the photos, I'll spend a good deal of time on the images, starting with eliminating any that are technically flawed or unflattering, comparing similar images side by side to pick the best of the best, editing those that I will show you as proofs for:

  • skin color, 
  • contrast (I prefer contrasty images), 
  • spot removal, 
  • cropping to show you options (square vs. 4x6 vs 8x10 vs 16x9). 
These go into a proofing gallery for you to review in the convenience of your home. I'm available to consult with you on final choices and final editing. Did you want a series in black and white? I can do that.

I also create custom built posters, story boards, books and holiday cards for my clients at their request, for an additional fee to the session.

Your session fee with me starts at $300 and includes $75 credit to spend on products of your choosing from your on line gallery. Those products include regular and mounted prints products, canvas, thin wrap and aluminum ready to hang prints, and digital files. I will sell you "all of the edited images" from your shoot but my goal is to create a portrait of you and your family that you want to print big and hang on your wall. To do that requires more than a half hour of my time. I really hope that you can see the value that my experience and expertise will bring to creating beautiful family keepsakes for you. 

1 comment:

  1. I like your post. Your information is very helpful for us.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Edmonton Photographer