Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Back! I still have a cough that won't quit, but I think I made it through the worst part. I'd like to share some of my new photos and update you all on what's going on in my world. First of all, I'd like to make everyone aware of some changes that are about to be made. For the first few months, I had set a price list that was very low for the services that I provide, for two reasons. One was to get as many clients as I could so I can show them what I can do. The second is basically to test what works and try and get an idea of where I should price myself in the market of photography. Well, it's been going great, and I've learned a lot about this. It looks like people are having a hard time choosing, and the CD has been a very popular item. However, since I've priced the CD so low, people tend to buy just the CD and nothing else, and when they do it's typically either just a few prints or a bunch of 4x6's. At this rate, and with the prices that I had set, there is no way I could make a living, and no guarantee that my images will be printed with the best color balance and quality. So, I've made some adjustments to my price list. The CD and everything that was available will no longer be available, and the prices will be better adjusted to match the value of the product. Yes, it will cost quite a bit more than what you'll get if you go to, say Proex. But, there is a HUGE difference between professional photography and a chain portrait studio. Let me explain: Your typical chain store books sessions every 15 minutes. You might get a half hour at a higher priced chain like Flash. These stores hire their photographers out of high school with very little or no experience. (I worked at Proex when I was 16.) Your photos at a chain studio are among hundreds, if not thousands of other orders, so they don't recieve custom care. They are also typically taken in a cramped studio with a bunch of cheesy props that scream "cheap pictures". Ok, so if you're on a tight budget, and that's all you can afford, go to a chain studio and you'll get a fairly decent picture of your kid with studio lighting and a background. If you're ok with that, power to you. But, if you want photographs that are natural, personal, professionally photographed and edited for the best quality possible and a photo session that is relaxed, not rushed, and in a comfortable environment where you are likely to relax and be yourself, resulting in pictures that represent the "real you" that's when you go to a professional. I have more than 8 years of photography experience. My sessions are typically 1-2 hours (more if needed) and I schedule no more than 1 session in a day. I travel to your home or chosen location for your photo shoot (sometimes involves up to two hours drive time). During the session, your family has plenty of time to get comfortable, take breaks for snacks, diaper changes, etc. After your session, I spend another hour or two on the computer processing your images, retouching blemishes, adjusting color, contrast, and many other things to make your photos the best they can be. Then I recrop them and send them online for your viewing gallery. I contact you to let you know they are online, and set your password. I then will burn a backup CD of all your images so that should the computer crash, your photos are safe. On average, I spend about 6 hours dedicating my time for each session. So, when you order a package of $150, after subtracting expenses, such as print costs, mileage, equiptment, I make about $100. That's about $16.67 per hour. Ok, that's not terrible, but not exactly a professional salary either. Then let's think about this a little more. I spend a lot of time updating my website, advertising, improving my skills, studying new photoshop techniques, researching new products, and a lot more, but nobody's paying me for that. If you actually calculate all the hours I put in for a week and how much I generate in orders, I'm making less than $7 an hour. That's not necessarily a professional salary, is it? Sorry for having to go through the whole explanation, but I need to make sure you know all that is going into your photos and why you pay more for custom portraits than you would for your typical portrait studio. I hope this will help you understand why my prices have to go up.

Anyway, keep checking my website in the next couple of weeks and you will see some exciting changes! I will be adding a products page, where you can view samples of the different products and see some great new specialty items that will be available soon!

Alright, now that I got the "info" out of the way, want to see some pictures? Here's a sweet little newborn I was lucky enough to photograph last week! She was so beautiful, and so little! I'm still amazed every time I see a newborn, because I just can't believe how quickly they grow! My Nina is 16 months old and it seems like eternity, but just yesterday at the same time, that she was that little. I'm sure I'll keep feeling that way as she grows.

If you want to see more of her, check my website gallery. Anyway, here are a few from a photo shoot of three kids, just having a good time in the leaves before it gets too cold! They were a fun group, and it was a bit of a challenge to wipe that CHEESE grin off those faces!


Julie C Butler said...

I found your Blog by chance .. I think it was from a post in 2Peas. I absolutely love the photos of the baby .. how adorable!!
And Love love love the photos of the kids to. You did a great job at getting the cheese smile off their faces!
I can't wait to see your new products and new changes.
I have added you to my list of Blogs I visit!!! Take care and talk later :=)

Renee said...

I found your blog on 2Peas. Just wanted to say, your work is awesome. I will definately visit again.

Ariana said...

I've already said this on 2peas, but I LOVE those newborn pictures SO much! I think they're perfect. You definitely needed to raise your prices, for all the reasons you listed, and I'm glad you did!

Life In Motion said...

what a great explanation of what professional photographers do and why our time is valuable (and how much time goes in to just one session - it's so much more than most people realize!). Great job!!

amy said...

Wow I can see why you're raising your prices. It's a ton of of the things that keeps me from starting a PB. Right now I just love photography for me and my family.

I found your blog from your 2peas link. I really enjoy your photos. They're so beautiful. Oh btw I don't know if you want to keep your old header or not, but I can help you remove it if you want.