Behind the Scenes (and screen).

When I first entertained the idea of starting a photography business, I thought I had a great plan.  I distinctly remember running my ideas by my best friend for a little feedback on my intended business plan.  I decided that I would charge $30 for a one hour session and a CD of images.  It pains me to just type that sentence.  Neither my best friend nor I had much experience or knowledge about custom portrait photography, and $30 for an hour of work sounded pretty sweet to me.  I started my journey with her graduation portraits and after spending nearly 8 hours culling, editing and uploading them for ordering I had a huge reality check.  Including the {what was supposed to be} one hour photoshoot, I just made a whopping $3.33 an hour.  That didn’t even begin to factor in the cost of my equipment, programs, software,  gas, my babysitter, and my time on the phone and emailing her to make sure her session was exactly what she wanted.  I was pretty dumbfounded to say the least.

I’m writing this post because I know that my best friend and I aren’t the only ones that had that naive mindset toward professional photographers and the work that they do.  It pains me how many times I disrespected their work by assuming all they did was spend an hour taking my pictures!

The truth is, very little of my “work” day is spent behind a camera.  That was a hard pill for me to swallow initially.  The majority of my time is spent on this laptop.  Whether it be marketing, communicating with clients, planning photoshoots, gathering inspiration, buying props, participating in online classes and tutorials, paying bills, networking, invoicing, choosing favorite images, editing, updating my portfolio, blogging, and paying it forward with freebies and giveaways – I’m on the computer.

In the end, it’s to your advantage as a client to have a photographer that does not just spend an hour taking your pictures and giving you a CD.  Although I still have so much to learn, I wanted to share a few before and after examples of what I do with your images when I get back to the good ole laptop.

Nothing fancy and nothing major – just some minor changes that make a major difference.  So the next time you come across a photographer charging some ridiculously low price for a CD, know that your pictures will either be worth the low price you pay or she {or he} will be working for free.  If she’s got talent and potential and you know your pictures are worth more – throw her a bone, give her a tip, advise her to price herself accordingly, let her know that she’s worth more.  I am truly grateful for all of you that have done that for me.

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