A few months ago I had a woman who had been referred to me inquire about a branding portrait. She was shocked when I told her the cost! When I asked her what she was expecting a portrait session to be she said she really hadn’t thought about it. A few weeks went by and I got back in touch with her because we are currently running a branding portrait promotion. She responded that she’d wished she’d known sooner because she just had a session done with somebody else but she didn’t like the images much. She booked a session based on price and not on what she actually liked.
This is one of those things that as a photographer pains me. First it’s because for some reason people seem to think that photographers are interchangeable. Photographers are not interchangeable because every photographer has their own style and level of experience that is not based on the number of years they’ve been shooting. Each photographer has their own way of interpreting what they see in front of them, they have different amounts of experience based on their exposure to photography, their education and the photography jobs they’ve had. I can’t be any other photographer because my journey in photography and what I’ve learned are different then another photographers.
This image was taken and processed on film.
I’m going to be honest with you. The cameras that are out there today do a very good job in benign settings but the camera is a tool and it’s up to me to tell the camera what to do! I also direct the person who’s in front of my lens what to do in order to bring out the best in them! Every person that has ever been in front of my camera has started the session by telling me how nervous and not photogenic they are and by the end of every session I have changed that person’s mind about themselves.
It’s difficult to explain in a world where instagram reigns supreme how much time photography actually takes but I’m going to try and break it down for you. First there’s the inquiry process, let’s say it’s about 1/2 an hour after emails, phone calls, making a booking proposal/contract and discussing the actual session. Next is the session, let’s just say for arguments sake say it’s an hour. Depending on your location there’s travel, I often travel up to an hour for round trip or sometimes more for a session. We follow this with editing, on an hours session we’ll say we probably spend about 2-3 hours importing, doing light edits and prepping for the preview session. Then comes the preview session, an in person session takes approximately an hour but we also need to factor in travel. Once you’ve chosen your images we then have a round of professional editing and printing or designing depending on product choices which will take anywhere from 1 to 8 hours depending on what was ordered. And then finally we have delivery of your products. On the short end a 1 hour portrait session takes about 8 hours! It’s also taken years of experience to get this process down to 8 hours!
So if you’re in the market for a photographer I hope this helps give you some insight into how much time you’re actually paying your photographer for and it’s not just the amount of time you’re seeing them! I also didn’t cover the actual cost of keeping the lights on!