Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Does Custom Photography Cost More??

This is a question that we often hear. I could go on and on about the personal time spent, the quality labs used and the relationships built, but I found this article that I liked and says is great.

Here are a few of my favorite parts from the article:

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at the local drug store?”

"The answer is multifaceted and has a lot to do with the time, aforementioned equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer, expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.

TIME of the CUSTOM PHOTOGRAPHER:

Approaching it from a time standpoint, for instance let’s imagine if you will that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love and that is travelling an hour to your on location session. Time break down:

session prep time (30 mins - 1 hour, 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
2-3 hours time with client for ordering images
1 hour sorting through and checking order
30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery
30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped

any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

As you can see, average client time for a session ranges from just under 13 hours to 19 hours dependent on the photographer’s level of service. This is time dedicated only to your session. When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.


APPLES to ORANGES:

Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $25 for an 8×10 or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains. The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service. According to several articles at the time, did you know that in February 2007 a rather well known discount department store that started in Arkansas closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation? The reason is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ “professional” prints if you do not sell enough of them. Interestingly enough - those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10). The whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait studios in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments. Your “PORTRAITS” are considered the true “loss leader”.

Going to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home 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 or the lovely captures of natural expressions. You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience. Keep this in mind when selecting a photographer"

I hope that this helped to understand just a little more that these are your forever memories and are priceless!!

2 comments:

Harshes said...

Great Post Michelle. I have wondered how photographers come about pricing their services and pictures. Awesome!

Jennifer and Family said...

NICE...i'm learning how much time it takes to edit all the pics after the shoot is actually over. most of the time is hidden to the customer, so its good to share that info. :0)

 
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