Are you in the market for a Professional Photographer?
I feel it's necessary to help my clients and those searching for a professional photography understand everything that goes into a professional portrait session, besides receiving beautiful images of your special event or family. Some of the info you may already know, some you may not.
If you are in the market for a Professional Photographer, here's a few reasons why they charge what they do.
As a rule and professional courtesy to my clients, I do not over book or double book portrait session. I will typically only provide 2 families with portrait sessions each day. Event photograph require my entire day and I do not book multiple clients on those days.
Let's take Military Homecoming sessions. As a courtesy to my clients, I do NOT over book for several reasons. Mainly because dates change so frequently up to the last day and even hours before arrival, I do not book any other sessions that will jeopardize my ability to be available to my military clients on their special day. I rank military homecomings right up there with weddings!
This typically means I lose out on any potential income during the week of a military homecoming. I'm ok with that, they have sacrificed more than I could ever do, even as a military wife myself.
Keep in mind when calculating my professional rates for military homecomings, I take into consideration the following; my drive time, the hours of waiting at the location for the military personnel to arrive, the actual amount of time spent photographing their pre and post arrival plus about 3-4 hours for me to hand edit the images.
I understand there are some "photographers" that will charged a $100 fee (or less) for homecomings, my rate is currently $250. If I charged $100, that would result in being paid under minimum wage when I factor in my hours alone on this particular project.
Plus, there are additional fees besides just the day of the session that I must take into consideration such a business expense, these include but are not limited to; software and computer maintenance and updates, camera repairs, gas, electricity, internet, website maintenance and fees, professional association fees, insurance, business taxes and continued education expenses.
As for a full copy write release of the images that I take ...
I do not offer a fully copy write release. This would be like someone giving their patent to everyone who purchased their product. You would not see this done by any other artist or business, I'm not sure why the photographers out there are giving this away however it's not the best business practice.
I do provide limited print releases for my clients if they would like to purchase it. I also provide as a courtesy to my clients a print release of their images if a family member or friend has passed away that is in the images I photographed.
I no longer offer print releases as part of my package deals, unless it's a special I'm running because too many clients were going to non professional printers (Walmart, Target, Costco) to order their prints. Resulting in horrible prints being processed of images I took. Which also resulted in clients being upset with me. I would then order test prints for them (at my own cost) to show them they needed to order from a professional printer.
Example - the images on the left were sent to a professional printer, the images on the right were sent to a local "drug store". The images on the right show a very unattractive green haze.
For additional examples as to what will happen when you print at a local pharmacy store or big box store, see the blog written by Amanda Jackson who has provided a detailed picture preview. A professional lab is the ONLY way you should go.
Hopefully this has helped give you some additional insight and guidance which will help you when deciding on a professional photographer for your families events, portraits and military homecomings.
Have a blessed day,
Heather J. Potter