1. We have mouths to feed.
When you consider booking a photo shoot, one of the first questions that come up is price. It's obviously a valid question and there's not many people that can just buy goods or services without knowing the price upfront. The problem that arises a lot of the time is that people feel they can negotiate the price of a photo shoot. I often wonder if people find it acceptable to negotiate price with their super market or their nail technician, or their spa therapist - or is it a purely photography related problem. Educating clients about what it costs to run a photography business seems to be the only way to get them to understand that you get what you pay for. In the interest of that goal, here are a few things we have to pay for to enable us to continue our services. Firstly we pay for our education, we pay for our gear (cameras, lenses, edit suites). We have to pay for marketing, for editing software, for any props or extra lighting, our fuel if we are driving to our clients, we have to pay to print your images and we have to pay subscriptions to online galleries, website hosting and e-mail hosting companies. And after all the business end of the costs are covered, hopefully we'll have enough left to feed our children and pay some bills.
2. I have developed my style -
Through years of experience and experimenting I have developed my own style and look to my shoots. There are only that many poses a body can comfortably fit into and there are only that many angles you can shoot from ensuring your clients look their best and most flattering. These are not the things that set photographers apart. My style means you can recognize my photographs between a hundred others and I do not want to be copying someone else's style. Be sure you like the style of photography of your chosen photographer, lest you be disappointed with the end result because you thought they could just copy a couple of your favourite images from another photographer.
3. Our time spent with you is not the only time spent on your shoot.
Most good photographers either outsource their editing (which costs extra money for them) or they edit their shoots themselves. It depends on their time and their style, but personally I enjoy doing all my editing myself. It's part of my services and part of creating the story of you. I spend up to 10-15 hours editing one photo shoot, depending on the amount of images taken. Every photograph worth showing you gets time 'in the darkroom' of my edit suite. Editing takes time and skill and can be overdone or underdone and finding the perfect balance can take great skill and time.
4. We love feedback.
I don't know a person alive who doesn't enjoy affirmation. As photographers we don't often have colleagues to pat us on the back and we are always keen on hearing whether or not you love your images as much as we do.
5. We need you to trust us - at least for the duration of our session.
I often find clients don't know how to pose or what to do but won't listen to the photographer telling them where to stand or how to pose. During a shoot you need to trust that your photographer has as much invested in making you look good as you do. Every image is a display of their skills - or lack thereof. Our aim is always to photograph you looking good and having fun while doing that!
6. Photographs needs to be printed!
There's nothing sadder than a photo shoot without a print! In today's technology obsessed world people carry their photo's on USB disks or harddrives and no one gets to enjoy the images. There's nothing better than paging through and album or hanging a beautiful photograph on your wall. Photographs of your family deserves to be printed and hung on your wall to be enjoyed.
7. Price is not everything.
I come back to price again as that seems to be a bit of a hurdle for some people. Photographers often run competitions or promotions to get more clients. Yes, most people don't see photography as an essential, yet it is through photography that we've got great historic archives. Photography is one of those rare things that manages to show us what the past looked like, it's a pause button to life, a kind of magic - capturing moments otherwise lost forever. To me, photography is invaluable and if you had to start putting a price on your memories I would bet you would struggle to find an acceptable price. A photo session is not just an hour spent posing in front of a camera, it is time spent focusing on the ones you love, surrounding yourself with laughs and giggles and affection. A photograph is a memory of those feelings and experiences to treasure forever.