Since beginning photography I have been asked several questions that I usually shrug off. None of these questions have ever been asked by a client. They have been asked in small talk or by perspective clients that end up going with a cheaper option. I, by no means, see myself as an expensive photographer. I am actually one of the cheaper options for my area. Truth. These questions often make me feel bad about myself, whether or not that is the askers intention. So, here are my notoriously favorite questions ANSWERED.
You're a photographer? So what's that mean? You have an expensive camera?
Short answer. Yes. My camera cost more than others, but the camera body is actually cheaper than an iPhone. Owning an expensive camera does not make me a professional. Several of my clients own nicer cameras and lenses than I do. What makes the difference is perspective/vision for the shot you want. As well as, understanding color theory.
I set each image up in my head for what makes the best composition.
Standing over a child vs. on the child's level
Creating a mood with a family
Setting the camera (not shooting on auto) to create the proper white balance, aperture, and focus.
Additionally, I never give my straight out of camera images. I edit. Which brings me to my next favorite question.
You aren't really being a "photographer" because you edit your images so they aren't real.
So this isn't a question but its a statement I've heard numerous times. My images are meant to be documentary of a present time in a clients life, but they are also meant to tell a story. I want to capture a child exploring in, what they see, as a wonderland. I edit them based on the mood the images need to give. If I am shooting a sunset session I enhance the light to tell a story and give visual interest. A sunset is beautiful, but if I am shooting a couple or a family I edit the light to lead to them. They are whats important. You can't have a beautiful sunset in the back and well lit faces in the front. I want my clients to print their images and stare at them each time they walk by the photograph on their wall.
What photographers charge is ridiculous! I would never pay more than $50.
I will just break this down. I spend time planning each session. I pack props. I correspond with clients to make sure I know what they want. I shoot the session (which takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours depending). I cull the images. In any given session I take several hundred images. Several are duplicates. Several out of focus. (Several is apparently my favorite word in this paragraph). Some the kids aren't looking. I weed through to find the best. Culling takes close to an hour for a family session. Then I edit.
Each photo takes 5-30 minutes depending. When I shoot in a clients home editing takes substantially longer because I have less light control then when I shoot outdoors. Is dad wearing a red shirt? Well now the baby he is holding has a red cheek. Are the curtains yellow? Now baby is jaundice looking. Are the walls orange? Now baby is orange tinted. Is the home really dark? Now I need to soften the images to remove grain. Is the home carpeted? Well now my backdrop vinyl floor is buckling and needs to be fixed in photoshop. All these tiny obstacles add 5-20 minutes per image.
Hey, can you do this event for free?
When I am close to a charity or organization I do shoot several events for free annually, but if it is simply an event that you don't want to pay for. No. See above.
I love photography. I love working with my amazing clients. It makes my heart so happy to return to their home's and see my images on the wall. BUT it is work. It takes hours. It costs me financially to do. Each day I am thankful for all the wonderful people who support me in this. Hug an artist today (not me because I hate being hugged) because they work hard to make you happy!