The following excerpts are taken from: http://www.professionalchildphotographer.com/information/ on why to choose Custom Photography and why Custom Photography costs more than the local department store portrait studio.
The photographic art you choose to place on your wall is ultimately the result of the vision of the photographer. This vision, coupled with what you wear to your session, the environment, the lighting, even the mood the subjects are in at the time of photographing creates the work that you will want to proudly display on your walls forevermore.
Custom photography is more of a luxury than your entry level cookie cutter chain experience. Custom photography truly is not for everyone, it requires a level of commitment, investment in time and money, forethought and planning on the part of the subject/client and requires a larger time commitment for the photographer as well.
The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and ability to control various factors during the image taking and making process. Photographers, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur all benefit from this ability to manipulate pixels. However, with flexibility comes a price. Digital camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into creating a work of photographic art. We all know that you can go to the local Walgreen’s and pay a $1.99 for a print – as a client you may wonder why you may pay upwards of $50, $70, $90 for a custom photography print. Photographers hear this statement every once in awhile:
“How in the world can you charge $40 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at x store?”
The truth of the matter is the answer to this question is multifaceted. Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time, equipment costs, artistic vision and expertise of the photographer not to mention the usual costs of running a legitimate business.
The cost of TIME Approaching it from a time standpoint, let’s imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love. This photographer is traveling an hour to your destination to photograph your session. Here is an example of a time break down:
- booking time: 30 minutes to one hour (client contact time + paperwork)
- pre-session prep time (15 mins – 30mins, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
- one hour travel time TO session
- 15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home
- 90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subject
- one hour travel time FROM session
- 30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
- 30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
- 2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
- 1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
- 1 hour sorting through and checking order
- 30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped
- any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues,
In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 11 hours to 13 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service. This is time dedicated only to ONE session. When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 11-13 hours complete time for your session.
Also keep in mind that when you go to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home or location of choice where your child is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for, as well as the lovely captures of natural expressions. You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience.
Sure the $6.99 for 100 images special is cheap, but remember it is often the first image taken and not the image you love and if you review the pricing closely, even Walmart charges $40 for an 8×10.