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Saturday, February 6

Big, Huge Update.

Hello, friends.

I have some news. No, I am not pregnant.

Here it goes...

Here's the thing. I love photography. I love what I do. It fills me with joy and excitement! I love creating beautiful and memorable images for you and your family. I love it so much infact, that I do it for dirt cheap. I guess I think that since I love it so much, that I don't have to charge as much as I should or could or as much as others do.

I've come to this realization. I've been selling myself short. It took me seeing other photographers who are NOT GOOD at all that have more expensive prices than me for it to finally sink in. I am better than them, so why am I cheaper? Yeah, I don't know everything or EVEN CLOSE to everything about photography, I haven't mastered photoshop and I most certainly DO NOT have the camera of my dreams to work with. BUT, my end result (my pictures) always seem to turn out okay. Sometimes better than okay.

It's not easy either. I go to A LOT of work to get my photography looking the way it does. Adjusting camera settings and knowing when and where to change my lens is just the beginning of it. For every hour I spend shooting, about 2 or more hours goes into editing and retouching and processing.  I am a perfectionist when it comes to this. I will always do my best to make things look just right- even if it takes me all night! I spend SO MUCH time on the computer. Then, I make CDs and hand out my hard work for almost free! Don't get me wrong - I love my work!

I can't do it anymore. I've always had a certain compassion for people struggling with money. Growing up under similiar circumstances did that to me. My heart breaks when I see people who have to go without. Especially kids. That's why I guess it's good I don't own a grocery store, I'd probably give away free food constantly. But I don't work with food, I work with photography. What I offer isn't necessary for survival. (Even though I act like it is.) So, here's what I'm trying to say: If you want pictures done but don't like my prices, don't try to talk me down. I have to charge what I charge because of the time it costs me. My prices are extremely reasonable, but if you don't think so, then I understand. There are plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of other photographers out there who are just starting out and will probably take your pictures for much cheaper. You won't be receiving the quality I offer, but if that doesn't matter to you then it's fine. I am not trying in any way to be rude or stuck up. I am blabbing way too much, but I feel like these things are important for you to understand.

So now, I have to be a "business woman" , and lay things flat out. I have to get serious. I knew this would have to happen sooner or later, so here's me cracking down.

Before I started photography, I thought what photographers were charging was ridiculous. When I heard the word "sitting fee", I just got mad. Sitting fee? I am paying for what? A sitting fee appears to seem like you are paying for nothing. When in reality, that "sitting fee" or "session fee" is paying for this: the time and talent of the photographer (jumping up and down to get smiles, crouching down in awkward places to get cool angles, fiddling with camera settings, lugging around expensive equipement, etc.), the photographer transferring your images onto their computer & going through each one and individually editing and retouching LOTS of them. THEN uploading them onto your very own password protected gallery for you to view and order. At least that's what I mean when I say "session fee". I can now see why photographers charge what they charge. (well some of them. some of them are still ridiculous to me!) And as far as the disc goes, I can see why that is a seperate charge. They are handing over to you, not only a disc of photos that they spent A LOT of time on, but also their copyright , so that you can do with your photos whatever you please. It all makes sense now!

So, that being said...I still love you all. The support I receive is amazing. I love taking pictures and I love seeing happy comments, and more than anything I LOVE seeing my work framed and hanging on walls in your homes. So, sorry for the blunt post. I didn't beat around the bush. I want everyone to understand so there is NO confusion.

Here is what I've gathered from my clients: you want your CD. period. The online gallery isn't much of a hit. I give out free print credits, and still- not much of a hit! I don't fully understand this, but I want to make you happy, so I will no longer be offering a print credit. You can still have an online gallery, which in mine & most photographers opinions would be the best way to go , because you are getting top quality for extremely extremely reasonable prices. (I'm sorry, but Wal-mart & places like it do NOT compare in quality, and you WANT QUALITY, don't you?!) It's kind of like a slap in the face when my images are printed through wal-mart because I spend FOREVER perfecting your photos, and Wal-mart really dulls them down.

I have 4 HUGE beautiful prints framed on my walls at home that I would have not even dared sent to Wal-mart or any place similiar to get printed. If you are going BIG with your prints, I really , really , really recommend printing through me.

I print with Mpix. They are a pro printing company especially made for photographers like myself.
I host with zenfolio. They let me upload and present your photos in on-line galleries.

Here are my print prices:
wallets (set of 4): $3
4x6: .75
5x7: $4
8x10: $8
10x13: $12
11x14: $15
16x20: $22

-I do offer MANY more sizes & canvas gallery wraps. You will see them on my site.
-These prices are subject to change.

If you really have it made up in your mind that you will not print with me, then fine, that's ok. We can still be friends. Here are the places I recommend:
 (STILL I would NOT dare print large with these guys)
if you are incredibly desperate,
(ONLY for 8x10 and smaller & ONLY print ONE HOUR PHOTO, because they do the "matte" prints. If you do "send out", your prints will look shiny and so cheap!)
just trust me on this!


*Updated Session Fees*

-Session fee is always due at time of session.
-your session fee includes:
[my time and talent, ranging from 1-3 hours, depending on what type of session]
[post-session editing time]
[your photos uploaded onto a password protected gallery, where you can order.
Your gallery will stay up for 6 weeks.]

I shoot for as long as it takes. Usually that means, until I am sure we got some good shots.

[Family Session] $100. up to 6 people. (Usually 1-2 hrs) (larger families, contact me.)
my family sessions include any types of photos you want, (ie. individuals of each kid, just Mom & Dad, etc.)

[Child Session] $50. 1 child. (Usually 1 hr.) Additional children: $10 each.
[Newborn Session] $100. (Newborn sessions usually last 2 hrs)
[Maternity Session] $65 (Usually 1 hr.)
[Missionary Session] $65 (Usually 1 hr.)
[Engagement Session] $150 (Usually 2-3 hrs, with out-fit changes & different locations)
[Bridal Session] $150 (Usually 2 or more hrs.)
[High-School Senior Session] $150 (Usually 2-3 hrs, with out-fit changes & different locations)
[Weddings] No Wedding is exactly like another, therefore I have a hard time trying to quote an exact price. Please contact me with details & I'll be glad to work it out with you.

-High Resolution with copyright release is available for purchase at $50

-If you order at least $100 in prints, the CD is FREE!

-Expect up to 3 weeks for editing.

-If you get me a referral, your next sessions CD will be FREE!

-I do offer cards/announcements/invitations upon request. You can either buy them from me at $1.50 each OR buy the CD to print on your own for $20.

I hope that covers all of it! If you have any questions, I would love to answer them!

And once again, Thank You all for your wonderful support!!


Stephanie Kelly said...

Alecia you are awesome. I being an artist TOTALLY know what you are going through. It's so hard to get through to people that you're worth more then they think; and or they should get a deal because they are somewhat of an aquatints etc... It's hard, but, like you said and what I say...if they don’t like your (already reasonable) prices then they can go to someone else. You are so very talented and deserve to get paid for that. Way to stick it to the man!!! Hahah

Staci said...

it is great to finally give yourself some credit..you are good and deserve whatever you think that is. You do an amazing job! Thank you again for doing Lucy's pics they are wonderful! No matter what you charge I will always go to you and recommend you!

Shaylah said...

You are totally amazing and you deserve to be paid enough to make it worth your time. You know as soon as I have the money I'll book you in a heart beat! On a side note, I keep meaning to call you, we are having a potluck for playgroup this week, you should totally come! 10:30ish at the park! Hope to see you!

Lauren said...

you don't know me... i'm a photographer who just happened to stumble upon your blog. you have some pretty incredible photos and reading over this post, i could not agree more. it's a business, and you're a business owner. you should get paid as much as a business owner. i was actually surprised to see what you will be charging now as it's very reasonable (if not a little too reasonable) for the quality of your work. as a fellow photographer just recently launching a business, i know it's hard to see the true value when everyone just wants a deal. but learning the value of your own work and knowing how good you are is something people will want to pay you for. they want that confident photographer behind the camera. anyways.. just felt like i needed to say that. :) i know i'm always wanting {neeeeeeding} feedback from fellow photographers when trying to figure out all this business stuff, so i hope it's ok.
lauren casto

Amy Hummel said...

I was just telling some of my photographer friends a few weeks ago about this amazing new photographer [you] whose blog I happened across who was basically paying to take peoples pictures. Not literally paying, but it looks like you realize what I mean. If you factor in your prices, and then the time it takes to shoot/process/consult/prepare a order we're making less than minimum wage here! I have a newborn special going on right now. Last week I did a shoot and spent about 30 minutes consulting before the session. 2 hours shooting. 3 hours processing. 1 hour uploading to on-line the online gallery (I use zenfolio too) and sending out appropriate e-mails, 15 minutes on the phone while the mother placed a order, 30 minutes designing a custom mini album, 10 minutes uploading to my pro lab (I use WHCC), and when the pics come in today I'll spend 10 minutes on the phone again + an hour driving and delivering time to deliver the prints. She ended up paying $40 (because the session was free). $9.49 is the base cost for the prints she ordered. So basically, I'm getting paid $30.51 for 9 hours of work. That's $3.39 an hour.

I'm kind of a mix between lower pricing than you and higher. I definitely charge more for my discs. That's because I know that all of my hard work is going to Walmart and I'm selling my copyright. Once I sell a disc, I NEVER get a portrait order from the client. Never.

I think pricing is a fine line, and is a never ending battle. I once upped my prices because I was getting too much work. The raised prices translated into NO work at all! So I had to adjust again!

I wish you luck and continued success. I commend you for making a real business out of photography. My biggest pet peve is what I call "Rebel Moms." Stay at home moms who have Digital Rebels that decide they're pro photographers, and pocket cash without any consequence of overhead or insurance or taxes. Yes they're cheaper, and the quality isn't as good. But it robs opportunities for small business owners like ourselves to help our business grow and serve our community. I'm looking forward to seeing what else you have coming up in photography!

Have you thought about attending the WPPI conference/trade show in Vegas in a couple of weeks. I'm on the fence as far as going. I have 4 young kids and it's hard to balance the time between family & work.

Chat with you later,

Amy Hummel (amyhummel.typepad.com)