Captured Faithfule

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Why I’ve decided to keep shooting

Several months ago I got discouraged and put my camera down.  I didn’t take pictures of my children at back-to-school time and I didn’t even take pictures at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Yes I already regret those choices.

Chronic pain kept me away from photography and editing the majority of winter.  Seems like my back is happiest when temps are 60 degrees or over.  During the cold winter months we’ve had (thankfully the NW is not as cold as other places in the country have been or are) unseasonably cooler temperatures and I spent a lot of time doing nothing but hurting and getting further and further behind on editing.  I just wrapped up a session edit this weekend and as I did so, I was again reminded about all the reasons I love photography.  This young woman is exquisitely beautiful and honestly I’m pretty sure my 6 year-old nephew could take a remarkable picture of her with his mom’s iPhone, but the privilege of taking her Senior pictures was given to me.  Here is one of most favorite images from that session:


I actually used this image in an assignment for school and got an A.  My visual communications instructor loved the image itself as well as what I did with it.  I love that my photographic talent allows me to often use my work when photographs are needed in assignments for school.  At any rate, here are a few of my other favorites:


I love shooting this young woman.  She is gorgeous, she does exactly what I ask of her and is extremely comfortable in front of the camera.  I have extended her an invitation to be a permanent model for me and am honored that she has accepted.  Yes, future blog posts will feature this young woman again and I’m looking forward to the next time I can shoot her.

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Mr. River and Miss Bay

Today I got to photograph two of my Senior Reps.  They braved the heat to do a mini-session and Miss Bay even got a bee sting at the end of the shoot.  I sure hope she’s feeling better.  Allow me to introduce Becca Mortenson, my female rep for Hudson’s Bay High School:




What’s not to love about a modest young woman who is naturally beautiful?

Mr. River is none other than the fabulous Issiah Pigeon.  He is one of the most handsome young men ever, but I may be a tad bit biased since he also happens to be my nephew.



Despite the heat, these two were troopers.  Our session was double the fun because they are good friends and did their sessions together.  I can’t wait till we get together again to do their full Senior Session.  I’m still looking for a Miss River, Mr. Bay, and also Senior Reps from other area schools.  If you or someone you know would like to apply, please send an email to

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Class of 2014 Subjects Needed

I’m looking for juniors from area high schools to represent Captured Faithfule Photography for their senior year.  Two representatives from each high school (one male and one female) will be selected and each representative will get several free photo sessions, free prints with referrals, and could even earn $100 Visa gift card.  If you, or someone you know would be interested in applying for a rep position, please let me know.

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What are your memories worth?

The wheel was invented, I did not invent it, nor see a need to re-invent it.  Check out this great information and the next time you want or need pictures and then ask yourself what YOUR memories are worth!!!

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?
This article has been very well received by the photography community, and is published in the December 2009 edition of Professional Photographer Magazine.

In this digital age where everyone has cameras, scanners, and home “photo printers,” we hear this all the time: How do professional (or personal) photographers charge $X for an 8×10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drugstore? Simply put, the customer is not just paying for the actual photograph; they’re paying for time and expertise.

The average one-hour portrait session

First, let’s look at the actual work involved:

  • Travel to the session
  • Setup, preparation, talking to the client, etc.
  • Shoot the photos
  • Travel from the session
  • Load images onto a computer
  • Back up the files on an external drive
  • 2 – 4 hours of Adobe® Photoshop® time, including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, and backing up edited photographs. Proof photos are also ordered.
  • 2 – 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment, and ship.
  • Possibly meet clients at the studio to review photos and place order. Meeting and travel time average 2 hours.

You can see how a one-hour session easily turns into an eight-hour day or more from start to finish. So when you see a personal photographer charging a $200 session fee for a one-hour photo shoot, the client is NOT paying them $200 per hour.

The eight-hour wedding

A wedding photographer typically meets with the bride and groom several times before and after the wedding. And it’s not uncommon to end up with 1,000 – 2,000 photos, much more than a portrait session. Many photographers spend 40-60 hours working on one eight-hour wedding if you look at the time that is truly involved. Again, when a wedding photographer charges $4,000 for eight hours of coverage, clients are NOT paying them $500 an hour!

(Don’t forget that the photographer runs the wedding day to some extent. A comfortable, confident wedding photographer can make a wedding day go more smoothly.)

The expertise and cost of doing business

Shooting professional photography is a skill acquired through years of experience. Even though a DSLR now costs under $1,000, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.

Most personal photographers take years to go from buying their first camera to making money with photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera, there is a mountain of other equipment and software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website, etc. And don’t forget backdrops, props, rent, utilities, insurance, etc!

In addition to the financial investment, photographers actually have to have people skills to make subjects comfortable in front of the camera. Posing people to look their best is a skill by itself. You could argue that posing is a more important skill than actually knowing how to use the camera. A poorly exposed photo can be saved, but a badly posed photo cannot.

The chain store photo studio

Chain stores do have their place. For a very cheap price you can run in, shoot some quick photos, and be done with it. But you get what you pay for.

Consider the time and effort that a personal photographer puts into photographs, compared to a chain store. Store sessions last just a few minutes, while a personal photographer takes the time to get to know the people, makes them comfortable, makes them laugh. If a baby is crying at a chain store, they often don’t have the time (or the patience) to wait because everyone is in a hurry.

The truth is that many chain store studios lose money. In fact, Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios in 2007 because of the financial drain. What the chain stores bank on is a client coming in for quick, cheap photos…and while there, spending $200 on other items. They are there to get you in the door.

The real deal

Professional, personal photographers are just that—professionals. No different than a mechanic, dentist, doctor, or electrician. But a personal photographer often becomes a friend, someone who documents a family for generations with professional, personal photographs of cherished memories.

Maybe we need to help clients look at it this way: A pair of scissors costs $1.50 at the drugstore. Still, most people will gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional hair dresser to cut their hair.

The added attention and quality that a personal photographer gives is worth every penny.


We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs, created by a Personal Photographer are so expensive.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Shawn, Pamela and Gavin Richter, Caught on Film Photography

Many thanks to The Richter’s for putting this in print.  A couple of things they didn’t discuss that I feel are worth mentioning are continuing education and professional membership/certifications.  While there is no  requirement to be licensed and bonded, technology advances rapidly and if a photographer even hopes to keep up, they must be learning all the time.  How do we learn?  Books, workshops, time with other photographers, college courses, practice, conventions, and the like.  It’s different for each photographer.  Additionally, typically professional photographers belong to one or more organizations and associations.  Membership in the Professional Photographers of America organization is nearly $400 a year and there are countless others like them.

It’s been my experience that sometimes what “they” say is true…often you really do get what you pay for and photography is no exception.

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After the session details and a change

On an average 1 or 2 hour session, it is not uncommon for me to take several hundred shots.  Unfortunately though, that doesn’t mean all those shots are going to result in a good quality image.  I spend lots of hours studying my camera and the technical parts of photography to get a great shot in camera and reduce the amount of editing that needs to be done.  All too often though, especially when shooting more than one person, the best shot of the session needs a head swap or face clone or something because someone’s not looking at the camera or someone else has a squinted eye or whatever.

After a session, I use Lightroom to go through the images shot and make the selects.  Selects are any images that I know I can save in editing, any images where a subject’s expression is priceless (even if it’s not the greatest or most technically sound image), and of course the shots that are pretty great in camera.  Anything I can’t save gets trashed immediately.  Once I have my selects chosen (which is about 25 or 30 per 2-300 shot) I import and edit.  When the edits are completed, I save three copies of the images.  One to an external hard drive, and two copies to DVD.  The DVD’s are stored at two different off-site locations so that in the event my computer and or hard drives were to ever crash, the images aren’t lost forever.

If I’m creating an image disc for the client, I create a disc label from a session image and burn the high-resolution images to disc; however session discs will no longer be included after May 31st.  For those wanting them, they will be available at an extra charge. After May 31st, image selection will be available through a high-resolution thumbnail gallery placed online at Smug Mug and prints will be available for pick-up within 10 to 14 days after ordering.  Additional time may be needed depending on the products selected.

For more information on print pricing, please contact me.

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Project 365 Day 15

I gotta be honest.  This project is hard.  When I first started it, I was thinking something like “eh…a picture a day it can’t be that hard.”  Guess what though…it really is.  Yesterday while riding the bus to the store camera bag in tow, I saw this sculpture/art piece.  The first time I attempted to shoot it, I was cardless (as many times at this has happened you’d think I’d have learned by now but no…not so much) so I had to pass up the ride home I probably could have gotten from my sister so I could try again.  Oh yeah after buying a new memory card of course…oy ve.


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Project 365 Day 13

There are so many wonderful things in the NW to photograph.  Unfortunately I’m limited in what I can capture because I lack a vehicle to get around in.  Sometimes though, I find beauty in the every day mundane.  The local grocery store has a great flag, if you read my blog you know I really love to shoot flags.  I’ve shot this particular flag several times and I’m pretty sure it’s been replaced recently so I photographed it again.