Custom photography is unique in it’s own right because it’s more than just snapping images, I’m composing memories where the subjects are influenced by lighting and setting. I strive to produce artwork with the images I take of your family, meant to be displayed and looked at time and time again.
Many of you ask, “Why is custom photography so expensive?”
Here’s my take on the matter:
1) BEHIND THE SCENE – Custom photography is a bit pricey because there’s more to a session than just meeting you there and shooting. There’s a lot of creativity and time involved including travel, setup, correspondence, shipping time (to ship your CDs/prints), but most of the time will be spent on editing. Sure many people can take a good snap shot but not everyone knows how to correctly compose an image and turn the subject into the main focus. Some think so long as they have at least an entry level DSLR, then all their images will be golden. It takes more than a camera. Most amateurs do not have the skills to take the photograph five steps higher and correctly edit them in what I call the “digital darkroom.”
In the digital darkroom I use programs that will bring out an image’s potential. I manually balance colors, adjust clarity, adjust contrasts, smooth skin over, reduce blemishes/wrinkles/bags, highlight details of the photo where it’s needed, change a color photo to a sepia or black/white, apply a dramatic effect (bleaching, soft focus, lomography-effect, vintage feel etc.), adjust lighting if needed, etc.
After a shoot I open each one individually, sifting through to find the best ones to edit. Each file usually requires on average 5-10 minutes to edit.
Once I’m done editing the files I convert them to easy-to-access JPEG files for you and burn them to a disc. Yes, you read it right…..I turn them into JPEGs – in other words, I do not record JPEGs when I take a picture.
2) EQUIPMENT – Cameras, lenses, lens filters, light meters, storage cards, computer, printer, editing programs, spare hard drives for storage, props, etc. It all costs money. In particular, cameras need to be replaced after a while due to heavy use. During a shoot I can take a couple hundred shots and this puts wear and tear on the delicate internals within the camera so they will be replaced at some point. Professional DSLRs can cost a couple thousand dollars to replace. Professional lenses can be a few hundred to a couple thousand or more a piece (& I have multiple because each one serves a different purpose). Photography isn’t cheap!
Computers do not last forever either. Running programs like Photoshop with the plugins I use puts a lot of strain on my computers. Too much strain over a continual period (meaning, on a daily basis 4-8 hours each day) of time will run the computer to a crash (yes, this has happened to me before while editing images).
3) YOU’RE BUYING ARTWORK – This is how I think of custom photography. You’re not just buying a bunch of quick snapshots that may be looked at once or even twice then tossed into some random folder on your computer & to be forgotten about. My images are pieces of artwork that are meant to be displayed in large formats on your walls, printed onto canvases, used in album compilations, used as artwork for your holiday cards, featured in your brag books, etc.
4) YOU’RE HIRING A FREELANCER – Hiring anyone as a consultant in any field or as a creative professional will cost a bit higher. I work for myself and take care of myself. I pay my own medical insurance & operating expenses, I have no sick leave, I have no company savings plans because I work for myself and any other benefit of working for a large company doesn’t apply to me so there’s a lot I have to pay for on my own