Posing and Shooting Tidbits
Photography is a way of seeing.
Photography is showing people things in ways they did not see for themselves. Photography is recognizing the beauty in everyday things. Photography is the power of seeing with an inner eye. Photographers are at danger to play less of a role in it, as most pro photographers will no longer be needed because today's cameras do all the technical stuff for which paying photography clients used to have pay someone with basic technical skills. Now that anyone can snap a technically decent picture, only those with the ability to see the real image inside something will deserve to be called photographers. The future of photography is in question, because of the digital camera explosion, photography has been transformed and diluted into becoming a hobby for computer people, instead of an art form that has been studied and practiced.
Photography is exactly like sculpture. When you start, you've got a big block of something that means nothing. The artist is the one who sees the final work living inside this big block. The final carving away of the unnecessary bits to release your vision into tangible form is simply the final mechanics, not the art. With photography, you're removing the irrelevant parts, leaving only what matters. It's seeing it in the first place that is photography or sculpture, not the carving or the snapping. Photography has never been about that fancy new camera, or all the toys the marketing people try to sell. The hard part about photography is seeing something. The trivial part is taking the picture of it once you've seen it. A novelist will tell you a story with 20000 words, a poet with only 20 words.
Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?
This article has been very well received by the photography community, and is published in the December 2009 edition of Professional Photographer Magazine. In this digital age where everyone has cameras, scanners, and home "photo printers," we hear this all the time: How do professional (or personal) photographers charge $X for an 8x10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drugstore? Simply put, the customer is not just paying for the actual photograph; they're paying for time and expertise. The average one-hour portrait session. First, let's look at the actual work involved:
- Travel to the session
- Setup, preparation, talking to the client, etc.
- Shoot the photos
- Travel from the session
- Load images onto a computer
- Back up the files on an external drive
- 2 - 4 hours of Adobe® Photoshop® time, including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, and backing up edited photographs. Proof photos are also ordered.
- 2 - 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment, and ship.
- Possibly meet clients at the studio to review photos and place order. Meeting and travel time average 2 hours.
You can see how a one-hour session easily turns into an eight-hour day or more from start to finish. So when you see a personal photographer charging a $200 session fee for a one-hour photo shoot, the client is NOT paying them $200 per hour. The eight-hour wedding A wedding photographer typically meets with the bride and groom several times before and after the wedding. And it's not uncommon to end up with 1,000 - 2,000 photos, much more than a portrait session. Many photographers spend 40-60 hours working on one eight-hour wedding if you look at the time that is truly involved. Again, when a wedding photographer charges $4,000 for eight hours of coverage, clients are NOT paying them $500 an hour! (Don't forget that the photographer runs the wedding day to some extent. A comfortable, confident wedding photographer can make a wedding day go more smoothly.) The expertise and cost of doing business Shooting professional photography is a skill acquired through years of experience. Even though a DSLR now costs under $1,000, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera. Most personal photographers take years to go from buying their first camera to making money with photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera, there is a mountain of other equipment and software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website, etc. And don't forget backdrops, props, rent, utilities, insurance, etc! In addition to the financial investment, photographers actually have to have people skills to make subjects comfortable in front of the camera. Posing people to look their best is a skill by itself. You could argue that posing is a more important skill than actually knowing how to use the camera. A poorly exposed photo can be saved, but a badly posed photo cannot. The chain store photo studio Chain stores do have their place. For a very cheap price you can run in, shoot some quick photos, and be done with it. But you get what you pay for. Consider the time and effort that a personal photographer puts into photographs, compared to a chain store. Store sessions last just a few minutes, while a personal photographer takes the time to get to know the people, makes them comfortable, makes them laugh. If a baby is crying at a chain store, they often don't have the time (or the patience) to wait because everyone is in a hurry. The truth is that many chain store studios lose money. In fact, Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios in 2007 because of the financial drain. What the chain stores bank on is a client coming in for quick, cheap photos…and while there, spending $200 on other items. They are there to get you in the door. The real deal Professional, personal photographers are just that—professionals. No different than a mechanic, dentist, doctor, or electrician. But a personal photographer often becomes a friend, someone who documents a family for generations with professional, personal photographs of cherished memories. Maybe we need to help clients look at it this way: A pair of scissors costs $1.50 at the drugstore. Still, most people will gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional hair dresser to cut their hair. The added attention and quality that a personal photographer gives is worth every penny. Conclusion We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs, created by a Personal Photographer are so expensive. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Why do wedding photographers charge so much?
I get asked this question all the time. All the photographer is doing is pointing the camera and clicking the button, why do they think they can charge so much for it? Anyone can point a camera and click the button but there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that to ensure you get the photos you are paying for. The day of the wedding is only one of many days of work involved. "Well I can hire my nephew to photograph my wedding for much cheaper. He has a camera and he takes really good photos of his dog." This is a very important day in your life. There are no reshoots, the moment only happens once in history, is that much pressure really something you can trust with your nephew who owns a camera and has no idea what to expect during a wedding? If you're still not convinced here is a shortened version of a lot of the things that a photographer does during the shoot to ensure that he gets an accurately exposed, in focus, hi resolution image everytime of every moment.
List of equipment
The equipment I use is expensive to repair. every shoot wears on my equipment more and more. eventually it will break and so part of my fee should cover the estimated wear and tear on my equipment.
Whether it's on the phone or in person, it is time spent communicating and clarifying all of the details of the shoot as well as any necessary research, scouting and prop shopping necessary for the shoot and travel to and from on site location setup lights – time spent adjusting lights to accurately light the people in the best way possible to give the client as much value and beauty as possible. In order to speed up the process and get the most out of the day I will need an assistant at $200/day. He/she will help me carry equipment, setup lights, adjust exposure and positioning and help maintain a smooth day photo management – download, backup and file all of the images so they can be found later post production – to color correct, spot retouch, color/contrast enhance, repair blemishes, resize, straighten and otherwise perfect each image takes between 5-10 minutes a piece. Processing – process and convert each image into a format that can be easily printed at any print lab deliver – burn/transfer images to a medium and deliver within one week.
Expenses and Why:
I use the best equipment possible to give you the best photographic experience, one that always shows the bride and groom and all the family members and guests in the best light possible. This equipment includes high megapixel cameras, sharp clarity lenses and minimal aberration lenses, high powered lights that are 100% consistent with fine tuning capabilities and an accurate predictable color temperature, wireless triggering devices to avoid dangerous wires and allow for multiple lights to be fired simultaneously, and sturdy stands and tripods. These components are essential in creating a high quality and accurate photographs of your once in a lifetime day. As with everything in this world they slowly wear out. My equipment is robust and long lasting however it will eventually break down. Therefore i must compensate the wear on it. In order to keep all the channels clear and for me to meet all of your needs I will need to discuss the details of the shoot whether it be in person or over the phone. This puts everything on the table so that on the day of the shoot or the delivery of the photos there are no miscommunications about what either of us should expect. In addition to our meeting I will spend time researching any needed props and any previous images you have used so that I can closely match (or enhance) the photos I hand over to you. This may include finding any additional equipment needed for the shoot and finding the best price on it to save you money or finding the best way to produce or purchase any props possibly required for the set. On the day of the shoot I will need 1 hour minimum of prep time to setup and fine tune the lighting for the shoot so that I can quickly and easily photograph everything scheduled for that day. This makes sure that once we start shooting and everyone on set does not have to waste time doing nothing. Time is money and I know that you have plenty of other things to do than watch a photo shoot. To keep a quick pace of everything I will need a second set of hands to carry equipment, set it up, adjust products and lights while I take photos and adjust the camera, and swap out products during the shoot. After the shoot is done and we have packed up the photos will have to be uploaded and backed up to an external drive. From there I will catalog every photo so it can be easily found at a later date for reuse or reference. The photos must be sorted through and the duds pulled out. The images I get from the camera are raw data from the sensor. They have not been automatically processed to a generic standard like point and shoot cameras. This gives the most latitude and information to each photo that can be edited and enhanced. That also means that each photo must be handled one by one adjusting the exact and accurate color balance, brightness, and contrast of light and dark. Real live people have minor flaws that you may find unnacceptable for long lasting images that you will want to cherish. This is a fact of true life. Each image will be attended to eliminate any wrinkles, blemishes, or minor flaws. The images also need to be straightened, resized and cropped to your specifications. This process takes between 5 and 10 minutes per omage. Processing the photos into the final dimensions and requirements that you requested takes time that needs to be accounted for. Processing a handful of photos takes very little time but processing several hundred or thousand will tie up my computer for hours. Transferring the final product to a medium you have requested and delivering takes some time and delivery charges for hand delivery or shipping are charged as well. Travel photographers are always facing two choices, to take the main road, seeing what is there, or do like Robert Frost and take the road less traveled. If we always take the main road, we will always see what everyone else sees, until we look at life with a photographer's eye, or your inner painter, or sculptor. Sometimes there is beauty in the common place things of life that only a true artist can see. And it takes an artist to interpret the beauty for others to see. Seeing the beauty in everyday things takes an inner commitment, a willingness to make a journey down a road that might just lead to nowhere. In the words of Buckaroo Banzai, where ever you go, there you are.
So it is not where you are that makes the difference in life and in photography as well, it is the understanding of the journey we each decide to take every day of our lives. Where we end up, is not near as important as how we got there, and that is not near as important and what we do along the way, the people we meet and the lives we change, changes us and helps us grow. I have had photographers come back from long trips and say to me, "The light there was different than the quality of light in yet another place". So I began to wonder, is the light really that much different from one place on the earth than another? Or perhaps, when we make an effort to travel to a "special place" are we really looking at the light with fresh eyes. The more I learn, the oder I get the more I believe, that what you see Is contingent on who you are, and the willingness to see what is in front of you all day, every day. Travel does help though, as we go to faraway distant places to meet the same kind of people we ignore at home. It is human nature to be attracted to others. If you think about it most of the most compelling we see, are of people. The practice of portraiture is thousands of years old, and the value of portraits and the interest in them continues to grow. Quote:If you want to take more interesting photos, become a more interesting person. Who am I, who am I to become? When you are at ease with yourself, you will be at ease with the world/universe/God. Create photographs that ask questions instead of providing answers.