In this digital age where everyone has digital cameras, scanners and home “photo printers”, when people upload their photos to a local drug store website and pick them up a few hours later, we hear this all the time – How in the world do Professional Photographers charge $20 and up for an 8×10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drug store? Here’s why. Simply put, you’re not just paying for the actual photograph, you’re paying for time and expertise in creating the image itself.
First, let’s look at the actual time involved. If you don’t read this entire page, at least read this first part.
For a two hour portrait session: – one hour of travel to and from the session – two hours of shooting – 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc. – 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer (2 – 4 Gb of data) – 30 minutes to back up the files on multiple external drives plus DVD’s – 3 – 4 hours of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs – 2 – 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment and drop package off at Fed Ex. – For local customers, we meet them at our studio to review the photos and place their order. Meeting and travel time averages 2 hours.
You can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than ten hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $300 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour.
Make no mistake, getting “good” is not an accident, it takes a huge investment of time and money on the part of the photographer and it involves a lot of practicing and a WHOLE lot of dedication to be The Best. A photographers price is going to be your first clue as to their experience, education and talent level.
For an eight hour wedding: An eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least one full 40 hour work weeks worth of time. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour. The typical wedding will have 40 hours of work going into it after the wedding in post processing and editing time, upload time, back up time, album design time, revision on the album design time, etc., etc. In addition, all of the little “things” you want in the package, the album, the proofing, the prints, the parent albums, are not only expensive for the photographer to buy, but also require a lot of time by the studio to handle and produce.
What about the cheap studios at the mall? Please don’t compare us to the chain store studios. Apples & Oranges!!! But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won’t come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for. The truth is, most of the mall and chain store studios lose money. In fact, in 2007 Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios because of the financial drain they were putting on the company. What the chain stores bet on is that you’ll come in for some quick and cheap photos, and while you’re there, you’ll also spend $200 on other things. They don’t have to make money, they are just there to get you in the door. Conclusion We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the ones that you get from your local drug store.
Family portraits provide a lasting documentation of a particular time. They should reflect your family’s lifestyle. Follow these steps to dress appropriately for a family portrait.
Coordinate outfits. Everybody in the portrait should wear items that complement each other in style and color. It is not necessary for all clothes to match, but they must make sense together. If grandpa wears a suit and tie and grandma wears shorts and a t-shirt, the portrait may look unbalanced and poorly planned.
Pick clothes appropriate to the portrait’s setting. An outdoor portrait with a backdrop of fall leaves lends itself to casual clothing like khakis and crisp white shirts, or jeans and sweaters. A studio portrait with a plain colored background lends itself more to formal or semi-formal attire.
Stick to solids and subtle patterns. Bold stripes, large designs and polka dots stand out and tend to draw attention from the portrait’s subject. A mix of patterns can clash and reduce the quality of a portrait.
Dress in timeless clothing for your family portrait. Let your age, rather than the clothes you wear, date the portrait.
Have appropriate shoes and socks. Many family portraits are full-body shots, so if you wear sneakers with your dress, you’ll probably feel silly. If you plan to change clothes, bring shoes and socks to go with each outfit.
Dark colors like navy blue, black and earth tones look especially nice outdoors. White clothing can get lost against a white background, and dark clothing against a pastel provides nice contrast. Bright shades of yellow, orange and pink can alter skin tones and are not ideal for photographs.
How will I see the photos after the event?
They will be put on our website for viewing and ordering.
Will it be easy for my friends and family to order reprints?
Yes, they can order directly from the website and their photos will be shipped to them.
Are there packages and how much are they?
We have several plans available with pricing to accommodate most budgets. We will discuss your needs to determine what plan would work best for you.
What is your photography style – traditional or photo-journalistic?
It’s a combination of the two and I can move toward either depending on the clients personalities.
How much are albums and reprints?
Reprint pricing is on the website. Album pricing depends on the album size and style and how many pages in the album.
How long after my event will the photos be available for viewing?
They will be available on my website within 2 weeks of the event.
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been in the photography industry for over 30 years.
What is your philosophy for photographing weddings?
I am like a fly on the wall, quietly observing and capturing those special moments that happen naturally. I only offer direction if I’m asked or I see a special need.
Do you have an assistant?
If it’s a very large wedding I do. For smaller events I work alone.
Do you have backup equipment?
I have 2-3 of everything, including cameras, flash, and batteries.
Will you be my photographer?
I am the only photographer, except for an occasional assistant.
When is payment due?
Half is due when the event is booked and the other on th eday of the event.