I have been working on this post for awhile now and finally felt the need to finish it. The most questions I get asked are about pricing and why do I charge so much compared to X Photography.
Here are a few things you should know when considering me (or any other PROFESSIONAL photographer):
1. This is my business. Bottom line, it is a business and what I am using to help support my little family. After all business expenses are covered, the business is not making me rich while I drive around in my Bentley, eating caviar, and rolling around in your hard earned money like Scrooge McDuck. I pay taxes, have expenses and when it is all said & done only a fraction of what I am paid goes to me personally.
2. My pricing is set very specifically. It is not arbitrary, I have it set up to cover my expenses and salary. This is a handy tool in determining what I need to make each session: https://nppa.org/calculator Also fun to play around with to see what I need to do to make $1,000,000 and other fun amounts.
3. Most of what I bring in comes back to the business whether it is props, rent, advertising, equipment, etc.
4. Shooting is just a fraction of the time I spend working. Everyone thinks it would be so fun to have my job just taking amazing photos all day and getting paid for it. Don't get me wrong, that part is a blast and there is no rush for me like knowing I just finished a session with amazing portraits. But everything leading up to the shoot and following takes time. For a wedding, I will easily put in 30-40 hours from the time we establish a connection leading up to your wedding and everything after. For a regular shoot, 6-12 hours is a good average.
5. I am not the most expensive photographer out there. This may come as a shock to some people but I am pretty mid-range when it comes to professional photography pricing. One of the best things I did over the past few years is set my pricing up and then not look at other photographers around and see how I compared. I don't care what other people are charging because it has nothing to do with what I am doing.
6. There is value in what I do. I am not just shooting a bunch of half focused images and handing them over on a CD from Walmart. I have created a brand and everything I put out goes with that brand. My ultimate goal is to leave you with some amazing pieces (prints/canvas/albums) that are going to be something cherished by your children and grandchildren. I no longer just handing over a disk of everything that just gets tucked away in a drawer. It had been more fulfilling to me as a creative person to hand over works and I have seen much happier clients. I also like that I maintain creative control up until the end so that each client gets the very best quality.
7. What you see is a result of years of training. I didn't just pick up a camera one day and decide that I was a photographer. It took me years to even be comfortable saying that I was a photographer. I started out taking photography classes in high school (black & white darkroom - which I miss dearly) followed by 2 years of photography classes at the local community college (darkroom & digital) and then while getting my bachelor's degree in Digital Technology & Culture I took any photographing or editing related courses I could. I also have a Photography Certificate from Penn Foster. Every chance I get I am learning through online courses or workshops. I am pretty sure I will never be done learning.
8. I am a professional. I will show up to your shoot or wedding, I will be appropriately dressed for the occasion, and I will do my job quickly and effectively. I know how to pose people and I know what looks good for all body types. If something happens and I can't make it to something, I will do everything in my power to reschedule or find a replacement.
9. It is quality over quantity. Anyone can shoot & burn hoping to get a few good images in between. I take my time creating each image. The end result is you see a narrowed down selection of images from your session. You might not like all of them but I guarantee you will love plenty of them. Part of my job is narrowing down the images so that it is not overwhelming when we go through them together.
10. I used professional labs and professional products. I don't get prints from Walmart of Costco. Everything you get is from a lab for professional photographers made to last over time with the proper skin tones & colors.
Most professional photographers are comfortable, but not filthy rich. We all work hard, put in many hours into creating beautiful artwork for our clients, and do it for the love of preserving emotions and your memories. In all honesty, it is difficult to set up and maintain a business model that makes a photography business profitable and sustainable over time. I read somewhere once that most photographers burn out within 18 months and even more are out of business within 5 years. I have managed to hit both of those marks. I seriously love what I do and I love being able to capture all of the memories for my clients and friends. I understand that I am not the photographer for everyone and as my business grows & changes so do the people who come to me. I truely am grateful for everyone who values my work & has stuck by me over the years along with all of the new fun people I have met along the way.
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