Hi y'all, after reading these words "you're too expensive" I sit at my desk this morning struggling with whether or not I should even write this post. I worry that it's going to come across as whiny or even worse, bitchy. That is not my intent. My intent is to illuminate and educate. Too many people think that a button is pressed and voila! The work is done. I'm not sure that people realize that there is so much more that goes into a session than the hour or two spent pressing the button.
Over the years I have read plenty of blog posts that break it all down and thought to myself "ugh, who cares! You're client doesn't give a crap they are just looking for the lowest price." I still have that thought right this very minute as I am getting ready to break it down for you, my reader.
If you really don't give a rat's patootie then don't waste your time stop reading here.
If you're still reading...thanks, I really do appreciate your time.
I am not even going to go into all the mumbo jumbo about how much the gear costs, classes for continuing education, the monthly photoshop and lightroom fee, the monthly fee to have online galleries, the fee for maintaining a website, blah blah blah blah blah - eyes glazing over.....blah blah blah.
I am simply going to talk about time
What client's see is me showing up to the location and clicking my button on my fancy camera in their face for an hour maybe two. Ok,so when you look at it that way then yeah, I agree, I'm to damn expensive.
What the client doesn't think about is that the time I have spent talking to to them and planning their session before we even shoot is, for me, part of my job. While I very much enjoy getting to know new clients or working again with previous clients, it's still my job. I mean, if you are doing a job you generally expect to get paid, correct? An email here, a text there, maybe a phone call, facebook or IG message thrown in, those minutes add up. Often, these conversations are taking place during the time of day when most people have clocked out for the day, and that's ok, as long as I am getting paid for the time, which, when all is said and done, usually adds up to about an hour. So now we're up to 2 to 3 hours spent on one session, but I'm still too expensive.
Now the planning is done and the session has been photographed. The end, right? If so, then yes, I am still too damn expensive. But you're smart and you've figured out that it's not the end. Now is when the real time gets put into the session. This process begins with transferring the images and making sure they are backed up, that take about 30 minutes. Now we're up to about 3.5 hours on one session. Pretty sure I'm still too expensive aren't I?
Now, I need to sort through all of the images and make sure I am processing only the best from the session. I promise my clients on averag at least 30 to 40 fully edited and enhanced images to view in their gallery. Each image can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to process to the point that I feel it fits my style and quality (Artistically enhanced images take much, much longer.) Let's just split the difference and say 10 minutes per image for 40 images is about 6 1/2 hours. Ok so now we're up to 10 hours on one session. Still too expensive? But wait! I'm still not finished.
The client still needs to see their images so that they can choose their favorites. I have to upload them to the gallery and then process their order and deliver their images. This is usually another hour and a half. So the total for one session is a conservative 11.5 hours. I am just going to round up to 12 so long as you understand that realistically it's more like 13 to 15 hours. Now when you take a look at my session fees I wonder, just based on time for one session alone, not adding in the other mumbo jumbo from above, am I really too expensive or is it just that person that claims that I am just does not value the work that I do?
I have a hard time believing someone who is telling me that I charge too much for my work when I can see on their social media pages the new $300 purse or they've just purchased, or them having a meal at an expensive restaurant. For those people the truth is that my work isn't too expensive, the truth is that they would rather spend their money on something else, and that's okay. Really, it is. Just don't tell me that my service and product is too expensive when it's pretty clear that you could afford it you just don't place value in it.
For some people the truth is that my work IS too expensive for them. The funny thing I have learned over the years is that it's often those people who will save up money, choose to put off something else that they may be wanting, or ask if they can pay me in installments (by the way the answer is yes). Okay, I am getting into the whiny/bitchy part of so I am going to shut this down here. Thanks for taking your time to read this. If you have any opinions or comments feel free to leave them in the section below.
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Orange County Virginia Family & Senior Portrait Photography by Locust Grove Photographer, Katherine Weeks
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