Friday, June 24, 2011

Changes in SWP -- An inside peek (Part 1)

So I've realized that I've been pumping you guys up saying that SWP is changing and that rates are changing and you need to be all excited and what not ... but the truth is, you guys are worrying. Don't worry! SWP isn't drastically changing, I just partnered with a printing company and will be offering prints now while offering you a photography experience. You're not just going to be some client I see for a few minutes and then push you through to the next. You had and will always have my full attention for however long the session you choose. Exciting right?! I know I'm super excited to be offering this to my wonderful clients.

The thing is, I'm offering you guys custom photography. I'm not just giving you a studio shot of your family, I'm trying to give you a memorable portrait that will last a long time. What is custom photography you ask? Well, according to Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Photography at, custom photography is all about this:

"Custom photography ultimately is all about is choice and experience. Custom photography is about finding someone who will photograph your family, give you devoted one on one attention without worry of who is next in line or the feeling of a crowded portrait studio.

    * A custom photographer will typically show you a fairly extensive gallery culled to only show the good images that meet the photographers creative sensibilities.
    * Often the images are fully edited images-color corrected with blemishes and undereye circles removed.
    * Custom photographers are also known as boutique studios, offering a range of products and unparalleled service. Think Lexus vs. Hyundai, think Nordstrom vs. WalMart.

A custom photography experience should have you, the client and your experience in mind." The next question you probably have is why does custom photography cost so much?

Drenthe again explains, "The truth of the matter is the answer to this question is multifaceted.  Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time,  equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer not to mention expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business. The cost of TIME -- Approaching it from a time standpoint, let's imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love.  This photographer is traveling an hour to your destination to photograph your session.  Here is an example of a time break down:
    * booking time: 30 minutes to one hour (client contact time + paperwork)
    * pre-session prep time (30 mins  1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
    * 30 mins - 1 hr travel time TO session
    * 15-30 minutes prep time at client's home
    * 1-2 hours with client photographing subject
    * 30 mins - 1 hr travel time FROM session
    * 30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
    * 30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
    * 2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
    * 1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
    * 1 hour sorting through and checking client order
    * 30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery
    * 30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped
    * any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues
In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 12 hours to 18 hours dependent on the photographer's level of service.  This is time dedicated only to ONE session.  When the photographer charges $55 - $175 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 12-18 hours complete time for your session."

And she continues,"Custom photography is more of a luxury than your entry level cookie cutter chain experience.  Custom photography truly is not for everyone, it requires a level of commitment, investment in time  and money, forethought and planning on the part of the subject/client and requires a larger time commitment for the photographer as well.
Clients who enjoy taking a more active role in the creation of their families memories have the desire to have portrait art that is truly personalized.  Many clients opt for it to be a once a year special experience, some opt to have custom photography sessions done to record their child's stages in life.  Having said this, it is clear that custom photography is not in everyones budget,  it is something that most families save for to splurge on from time to time to memorialize their children as they really are  (not posed and primped in the cookie cutter studio setting).
There is a great deal of time involved in creating high end custom photography sessions for a client.  The luxury of great service, better choices and a supberb end product.  The result of all this are heirloom quality images.  The time invested at the session is only a small portion of time involved in this process."
I hope this clears up some questions you have. Stay tuned to get a sneak peek into the prices of prints and special products I'll be offering!

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