I have decided to write a post about this particular concern due to a lot of questions recently: one from clients and secondly several discussions with other professionals in the business.
Digital media has become so easy to get hold of these days, taking photographs on your camera means that within a few minutes you can easily upload them to facebook to share immediately with all of your family and friends all around the world. Its absolutely wonderful what we can do now.
When you take photographs on your camera and then put them onto a cd you think that was easy enough. Yes. I agree very easy. I often get asked when someone is looking to book a session:
How much does a session cost? and then often I get asked So does that price include all the images on cd too? Well my standard cost for a session includes my time shooting and editing and I currently offer a free print too. I understand the method of thinking that goes into this is that a photographer takes photographs and it’s easy enough to put them on a cd. From this cd what can you do? You can make as many prints, canvases,art blocks,books as you wish? understand. So where does the photographer actually make money to live if they are not selling any products?
I think many people who appreciate photography understand the hard work that goes into a fulltime business and appreciate the art and skill behind it.
so…What does a photographer actually do?
From the initial enquiry:
-Several emails back and to with the client, discussing the session, payments, what will happen on the day of the session,(sometimes phonecalls too to discuss the session in more details)Ihave also met up with people to discuss what ideas they have for the session I often encorporate what the family/child/couple love to do within the session and for me personally this means from the emailing and phone calls I will sit down and bring ideas together which can include sketches, sometimes even re-decorating particular props for that session, making something which could take a couple of hours and also planning a few ideas such as deciding on locations etc this already must mount up to about 3 or more hours per session.
-The day of the session means that I will normally travel to meet the family/couple/babies on the day. Use my camera equiptment (I also have spare cameras too) and props etc on the session. Normally getting there early than planned to scout the location and set up any props if arranged.( I sometimes even go to locations beforehand too.) We then meet up and walk and talk and spend around 2 hours sometimes longer on a session shooting and sometimes even use 1 or 2 locations on a session.
-I would then travel home, make sure that all the images that I took that day were safely backed up several times on my computer and harddrives which are essential to keep YOUR images safe.
-I then would need to use my editing software to edit the images this can take 3-4 hours on a standard session depending on how many photographs I would take.The editing I use is quite vintage and I edit to only enhance what has already been taken in camera, but I take care with making your session look its very best in the style of Jade Langton Evans Photography.
-I would then contact you to arrange a viewing which would mean travelling again spending 2-3 hours showing and discussing your images and options to make your photographs look amazing.I also have to buy samples of expensive albums, bespoke framing etc so that you can see the quality that is available for purchase. I also take the time to put your session on my website which requires time and a private password for you to share with family and friends.
-Most people like to view a photo from the session asap on facebook and I also spend time blogging about sessions too which again requires 1-2 hours of my time. During this time I am also responding to other emails too.
-I then will have to make orders to my lab, go back and to to the framers and collect products and and wrap for presentation so that my customers feel special and recieve their products beautifully(1-2 hours travelling and organising.)
-Then normally they will be posted, delivered or picked up.
Yes, its so easy to take a photograph on your camera and put it on cd and there are about 20 wannab’es on my doorstep who have semi pro camera who will take photographs for you and put them on cd who are happy to earn a bit of extra cash. They think “It’s easy to be a photographer, you must earn loads of money”
Well actally being a fulltime photographer in these times which we live in is one of THE most hardest businesses right now.Believe me when I tell you it’s not easy at all and it’s a fight everyday for all of us Photographers who do their business and work full time put their heart, soul,sweat and blood into their business in order to make a living and try to be successful in this evergrowing world of wannab’es They put hundreds if not thousands of pounds in on equiptments such as cameras, lenses, (which always needs spares as well as needing to be serviced and cleaned regularly) Computers, harddrives and backups which are essential, insurances, cars, training courses (which can cost hundreds) and much much more! Not to mention tons of money of weddings fayres and advertisement and maketing!
So back to my beginning story, digital images are the negative and the copyright of the photographer/artist and they will normally be the most expensive investment you will make because the photographer is allowing you to re produce their art images how/when/however many times you wish to which normally comes with a print release.
I know a lot of companies who have never/and will never give that away.
The worth of the negative/high resolution files seems to have been lost. What has happened to the photography industry is someone has started the trend of shoot and burn and now everyone expects to get all images on cd without realising that they should be worth alot more. So yes it’s easy enough to burn a cd with images but what you are getting is the rights to print, but do you realise that you are getting an amazing thing to be able to re produce as you wish!
I offer some gorgeous products and I always recommend albums and bespoke framing to my customers now because the printed finish lasts. Files don’t last forever but they are wonderful purchased along side a hard copy. I should also mention that one reason about the cd that is annoying is that people go to cheap printers for their prints and canvases and they look awful. Your photographer should/will recommend you to a professional/semi professional printers. Going to cheap high street printers does not reflect the quality of work that you have paid for. Expect to pay a high fee for files. I recommend my clients purchase their products and prints from me and they receive a discount if they have purchased files already.
If you are not sure on prices and you feel like a photographer is charging too little or too much and you are not sure about booking with then makes sure you look at tons of their work, website, blog, fb anyone can take one good photograph. You do get what you pay for at the end of the day. We live in a world where we need to take care with what we do. Ask to see full sessions and have a chat to them about your ideas. Do they have a good reputation?
What do they specialise in? Are they what you are looking for? Does the style they have suit you? You will know if you do a bit of research. Don;t be scared to ask questions.
I feel so glad to get this off my chest. If you have any questions about this post and would like to contact me, please feel free to