added by Claire
August 13, 2011
I was called on Thursday by a nice lady and asked to 'pop along' to her home for an hour or so on Sunday to photograph a large family group plus the little family groups. Something a little different from my everyday norm but still, well within my capabilities so why not?!I charge £75 for a location portrait session (plus travel if outside a certain radius) which is payable at the time of booking.
My fee is broken into different elements:
My time, which actually means up to 2 hours with you for a portrait session (if we need it)
Travel to and from location (time and petrol)
Electricity to charge my camera kit
Wear and tear on my car and camera kit
My time (and electricity) editing and processing the pictures so they look they're absolute best for you to view
A viewing session with me or an online gallery
Insurance (PI, PL and car)
This is without mentioning my 13 years experience and skill involved in taking the beautiful photographs that I take and of course living costs/wages.
When I list it out like this it actually makes me think that I should indeed increase my fees.
All products are additional costs, i.e beautiful frames to display your beautiful photographs, gorgeous desktop acrylic blocks, photographs to display proudly around your home or gifts to send to family.
The lady called me the next day to cancel the session. Why?? She told me it was too expensive so I asked, out of interest, what she was expecting to pay.
She told me that she was expecting to pay around £45 inc CD and just wanted someone who knew what they were doing behind a camera!
There lies the problem. My husband knows how to work a camera, it's not that difficult. BUT he doesn't know about lighting, where the best light is coming from, does the photograph need extra light, how the eyes are looking, where the best background is, group positioning, composition, colour management etc etc.
If you go to a restaurant and had steak and chips....you kind of know the price of the ingredients and how you cook it but you pay a much higher price for it because your paying for quality ingredients and for an experienced chef to cook it for you amongst other things.
I have heard so many stories from clients, friends and friends of friends about how they wished they'd hired a professional photographer - be it for a special occasion (the latest was for a 40th birthday but she thought that at the time it was an extravagance however a couple of weeks after her best friend died and now she regrets that she didn't have a photographer!), for baby or childrens portraits or more commonly, a wedding.
I find it amazing that some couples getting married choose to scrimp on the photography but yet spend hundreds on things that are thrown away after the day.
I had a lovely couple come to see me for a wedding consultation last week who admitted that they're wedding was going to be 'done on the cheap' but the biggest expense was the photography because they said that they wanted memories captured and beautiful photos of them on their wedding day, together with their children and family that they can look back on at their 50th anniversary! Such a great way of looking at it and one which I think everyone should look at it!
Unfortunately, the professional photography industry has been 'cheapened' by what I fondly call 'weekend warriors' - those who pick up a digital camera and think they can earn a few quid at the weekend!
Most lack basic training. Some do actually know what they're doing and are trying to break into the industry - I appreciate we all have to start somewhere - but can they cope with the pressure, particularly on a wedding day!! I'd like to know how many 'newbies' are still working and established in 10/15 years time!
A few times I have had a bride or groom call me a week or two weeks before their wedding asking me if I am free because the photographer they had booked couldn't make it - once, the reason was because he was called to cover a shift at work!
This is so wrong!! Professional Photography should have some kind of registered trademark. We have the Master Photographers Association, and although the professional photographers who pay to join the MPA are all recognised by their peers and undergo what I call an 'assesment', in which you submit a certain number of photographs of a certain quality for assesment, there is nothing like 'Corgi' or the such like. There should be!
Without sounding like a cliche, this is my passion but is also my full time job. My clients come to me because they want me to produce beautiful photographs for them. Many of them become lifelong clients and friends which is an honour for me. I love it when my wedding couples come back to me for me to photograph their babies, children, families....who knows, maybe I'll be photographing the children's weddings in years to come. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I visit a clients home and see my work proudly on display!!
I have huge respect for my clients; past, present and future. They are investing their hard earned money in me and expect me to produce photographs of exceptional quality and with a level of service and professionalism that they both expect and deserve.
My work will be remembered by families for generations. I still look at my parents and grandparents wedding albums and wonder who the photographer was and what was s/he like, obviously my parents and grandparents can still remember what the photographer was like - my mum's had to stand on his box to take the groups as he was a short man. I wonder if me and my work will be remembered and admired in future years, I certainly hope so!!