Friday, January 25, 2008

Why do professional photographers charge so much?

A good explanation for all those people who ask and complain about why professionals charge what they do for photos:

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?

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 $55 for an 8x10 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. 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 an external drive
- 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 also print a set of all of their photos, and 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 $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour.

For an eight hour wedding:
- I won't bore you with the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least two to three 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.

Now for the expertise.

Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though a quality camera now costs under $2,000 taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.

Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc.

And let's not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera - and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself.

Think of it this way - the next time you pay $X to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional.

What about the cheap studios at the mall?

Please don't compare us to the chain store studios. 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.

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.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

copied here from :

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Editing vs. Developing

Editing images consists of making major adjustments; adding or subtracting elements from an image, including blemish removals, removal of unwanted objects or flaws, removing shadows, adding spotlights, vignettes, removing or selective-removal of color, etc.

In summary, "editing" is qualified whenever specific elements of your original image have been removed, and/or specific elements have been added.*

* The exception to this rule is cropping.
Cropping an image is often desired by the photographer, in
post production, with film photography as well as digital, and
is not looked-upon as 'editing' or otherwise manipulating an

Developing your digital images is an entirely different concept, and it is best explained in this manner:

DSLR cameras are aimed at the more experienced photographer, or those that wish to further their skill in the art of photography. These shooters are the type that don't want the camera to do all the thinking for them, unlike the less expensive point-and-shoots.

Untouched raw images, as they are downloaded from a DSLR, the colors are somewhat drab, the contrast is low, the whole scene is slightly "unsharp". In comparison to FILM, as we know it, this file is the "digital negative". Like any negative, it needs developing. Today, we do this in the digital darkroom - photo editing software.

Developing includes:
* Adjusting luminosity curves (similar to contrast)
* Sharpening edges
* Adjusting saturation

Note: These actions do not change the content of the original image, but otherwise simply provides the same definition that is had with film photography.

Bottom line -- If you use a DSLR camera, your images WILL require adjustments for a polished, professional end result! You capture the image with the camera, you develop the image with the software.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What are you looking at?

Kids I just don't know what I would do without them.

Stacey and I were sitting at the table eating breakfast yesterday, when she started looking at her spoon. She started making faces at her reflection, then all of a sudden she starts asking "What are you looking at?"

At first I thought she had caught me watching her being silly, but no she was asking her reflection!!!

I was gathering stuff to start doing taxes, its getting to be that time of year again. I asked for the kid's social security cards, and Stacey who heard me said "Scooty Cards?"

Then today for no reason at all she started doing the 'Meet the Parents' 'I'm watching you' gesture!

Everyday is something different but she sure keeps me laughing!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gonna Be Great in 2008!!!!!

So far 2008 has been great! I'm not going to go into detail yet but keep checking back for updates, I will post a HUGE update as soon as I can!

Don't you just love the suspence!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

T-minus 1 month and counting.

I took my camera to be fixed yesterday. It will take 7-14 business days to get it back. I took a look at the calendar, 14 business days is January 28th. That is the end of the month!

An entire month without my camera!!! I'm going to be so lost without it. At least it will be fixed, and this will give me a chance to go through my old pictures.

On another note I have a huge project that I will be working on when I get my camera back YEA!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My little cutie

I just thought I would post a picture from when I tried to get wiggly boy's portraits.

Posting Problems?

I seem to be having problems posting. I have 2 new posts, but you cant see them. If you click on the 2007 you can see the one but not the other. I'm not sure what is going on. Keep checking back for new posts.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Much Anticipated, Yet Gone Already.

It has been awhile since I posted last so here are a few updates.

Christmas has come and gone already.

Stacey had a blast making cookies for Santa. And we had so much cookie dough left over we froze it and will be making cookies for a long time to come!

I didn't get to wrap presents until Christmas Eve, yet I wasn't up as late as I thought I would be.

Stacey and Brandon both got a ton of toys, now the fun part is finding a place to keep them all! :)

I got some gift cards to go towards my new camera! Woo-Hoo! Hopefully I'll be able to get it by the end of 2008!

I got some great pics but I can't get them on my computer. I am going to have to take my camera to be fixed. For some reason I can take pics with no problems, but my computer won't recognize it, neither will my Dad's. Thank goodness I have a few extra memory cards and thank goodness I purchased the extra warranty!

Yes I am now another year older. For my birthday we had planned to go to the Festival of Lights. By the time Nick got home from work he was exausted, and I didn't really feel up to chasing the kids all over the zoo. So my day was spent doing laundry and discovering my camera wasn't working.

There is always next year.

New Years was quiet. I made Spinach Cheese Manicotti with a lot of changes to the recipe, and a lot of help from my Mom. Then Mom, Dad, Stacey and I watched Shrek, 2 and 3. The last movie finished with 1/2 an hour till midnight, just in time to get our drinks and watch the ball drop.

I'll be posting new pics as soon as I get my camera back, but until then I'll be going through the archives, I have enough pics to post for quite awhile!