Posts Tagged ‘custom photography Lowell MA’

why is custom photography so expensive?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Outside Resource: Why does custom photography cost more?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about custom photography services offered by individuals. There are many reasons for the misunderstanding, but high on the list is the accessibility of camera technology for the masses, and the perception that “digital” means no cost.

My first question is… what are you seeking from family photography? Are you interested in a quick group photo that will appease the relatives and be consistent with the family photos you saw growing up? Do you want a cute or funny image for your annual holiday card? Do you want just a few photos, or a series of images in the location of your choice? Do you want a consistent look with a neutral background and even lighting, or a réportage (more candid) feel to the photos? Do you want to work with someone who will get to know you a bit, or someone who will do their job and take a few photos anonymously?

There is nothing wrong with those people who are only interested in getting a quick family photo where everyone looks ok. This has been the American family portrait tradition since the beginning of time (for the now-hilarious user-submitted results seen in retrospect, check out this website). For the quick and inexpensive portrait, mall studios excel. They have been doing this for years. There are senior portrait houses where you choose a timeslot according to their openings and then go out to sets for photos that are consistent with your peers who went to the same place. You can even do a “boudoir” shoot for a very low front-end cost via Glamour Shots (yes, they’re still around).

While it’s tempting to compare an individual photographer’s custom service with that you might get from a large company like a mall studio who does business based on volume, doing so would demonstrate complete misunderstanding about the type of service an individual photographer offers.

Custom portrait sessions are by nature higher cost to the consumer. You are paying a fee for the time and talent of the photographer, who has spent most of his or her life for years leading up to that point gaining the experience needed to wrangle children, provoke natural and flattering expressions, and give consistent quality of imagery. The photographer has worked his/her schedule around providing great customer service and personalized attention while often keeping a small profit margin in order to continue to be able to offer themselves as a working artist. Custom photographers regularly travel to your home or favorite place, and often have a home-based or local studio space as an alternate.

As a custom photographer, I seek to make images as a collaboration with my subjects. I want the photos to reflect your personality and the place you’re at in life. My desire is to offer a wide range of images that might be the best you have ever had in your life. I’m interested in photographing my clients at milestones (pregnancy, birth, birthdays, anniversaries) but also in the everyday moments that piece together their lives. While custom photography is definitely an investment, it is one you are unlikely to regret.

Outside Resource: Why does custom photography cost more?

quote: “In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 13 hours to 19 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service.  This is time dedicated only to ONE session.  When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) 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.”

What is custom photography?