What is custom photography worth to you?

I am a custom photographer. Not a studio, stiff photographer. I love creating images that truly capture the personality of my clients, and I've been told I do that well. But my time, energy, and talent is worth more than what I've been charging. For this reason, I am raising my prices effective July 1.

I wanted to take a moment to explain the raise in cost, especially for my repeat clients. I pride myself in being affordable, but also in producing quality images for my clients. So what exactly goes into the cost, I mean, I didn't just pull it out of thin air! Let me break it down a bit!

Equipment I've bought (and haven't paid for yet with earnings):

  • Camera: $1200
  • Lenses: $2000
  • Flash & equipment: $300
  • Tripod: $75
  • Total: $3575

Time I spend on each family, maternity, portrait, or senior session:

  • Shooting: Up to 1.5 minutes
  • Post (editing): About 10-15 hours
  • Uploading, creating galleries, writing blogs: About 3 hours
  • Processing, receiving and distributing orders: About 2 hours
  • Total: 21.5 hrs

Cost for each family, maternity, portrait, or senior session:

  • Gas: About $10 (if within 30 miles of Salem/Keizer)
  • Shipping/postal: $5
  • Total: $15

This doesn't include the internet, electricity, marketing costs, website and gallery charges, print costs, etc...for preparing for sessions, post, and uploading, etc...

So, just looking at the TIME spent, at my previous full-time job I made $16/hr before any add in pay, which my family could scrape by on. At 21.5 hrs per session that would be $344 that I would have made at a full-time job, and that's GOOD pay for what is usually available, and that doesn't include the added expenses of gas, postal, etc...

I charge $100 for a 90 minute session. So, that $100 looks pretty good considering I'm actually taking a huge pay cut from what I used to make. But its not all about the hours. I also spend many hours taking online webinars and connecting with other photographers to learn new techniques and perfect my craft, I have taken numerous college photography courses which costed thousands of dollars. And bottom line, I have talent. :)

So, I'm worth it. You're worth it. I mean, what is the REAL cost of having memories and family documented for years to come! Things change in an instant and that loved one may not be around, what if you didn't have a recent photo.

This point is truly hitting home with me right now. I am planning my own wedding and am scouring to find good pictures of family members who have passed away. Unfortunately, the photos available of some of those family members are few and far between, so I'm having to settle with sub-par snapshots. I wish we had taken more family photos, and that I had better quality images to remember my grandfather and uncle who were taken from our lives early in their lives. So, I cherish the time I have and get photos done as much as possible. To remember loved ones when they're gone and to remember my family as it is now!

Please contact me if you have questions or concerns, I would be happy to address them! Don't forget to visit my new website and take a look around!

note: I did not address wedding costs and {love me} sessions. These sessions cost more for the same reasons noted above, and mostly because of what is included and the amount of extra time spent on these sessions to truly capture those moments and perfect the images.

And I will leave you all with a photo I love from a recent session!