Captured Faithfule


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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.

Conclusion

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 will resume promise

My siblings and I have shared many things over the years.  Some good and some bad.  Apparently, no matter how old you get, sharing stuff with siblings never ends.  Last week my darling baby sister shared her germs with me (to her credit it was not intentional) and I’ve been under the weather for a few days.  She and my sweet little nephew are praying for me though and I’m feeling a little better today finally.  Hopefully I’ll be back to shooting something every day soon.


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Project 365 Day 9

Life is precious.  Even rodent life.  Our family had a tragedy yesterday that inspired today’s image.  Those of you who read my blog that were friends on my personal Facebook page know that my daughter has three guinea pigs.  One took a serious turn for the worse about 3 days after we got him, but then made a miraculous recover.  Yesterday however, when we came home from our walk, we found him laying in his food bowl covered in his own feces and urine and not breathing.  I’m not even a pet person but cried and cried right along with my darling daughter.  It occurred to me that I need to make a more conscientious choice to include pets more in my family photography and so today I bring you Mo Wild.

2013Project365-9

We call Mo our teenager.  He’s got a Mohawk  he’s got a white stripe on his forehead (he bleached his hair) and one of his feet are tattooed (not really but it’s white and all the rest are black).  Then, we just noticed today he’s got some bleached (white) whiskers too.  He’s our little rebel.  And yes, that IS an earring you see in his ear.  He had a perfect pierced ear when we got him and it was just screaming for an earring.  While we miss HipHop severely, we have had a good time with Mo today.


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Far better to give than receive

I believe the talent I originally saw in my photography came from God.  This talent, once discovered, has become a skill I’ve worked diligently to improve on over the last year.  It is something I will always work to improve.  What J. Williamson said is true “school is never out for the pro.”  Because I believe it came from God (all good things do right?), it’s something I want to use to glorify and honor Him any chance I get.  It was recently placed on my heart to give sessions to high school seniors in foster care who may not be able to afford senior portraits otherwise.  This offer is open to all Portland/Vancouver area foster kids in need of senior pictures.  Please share this post with anyone who could benefit from this decision. There are no limits to the amount of sessions I’m willing to do and sessions can take place in my home, at the park across the street from me, at Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, Ft. Vancouver, or Delta Park.  If these venues don’t work, I’m happy to discuss other locations and if I can make them happen I will.


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P is for prepared

I live in a rather industrial area and within walking distance is a grain company.  Their gray silos aren’t at all interesting during daylight, but every time I see them at night, I marvel at what an interesting composition it makes.  I’ve told myself for months I should shoot it, but never have.  I decided there was no time like the present to start Project 365 and so my son and I sought out to take the shot I’ve put off for months.  It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s quite dark, and walking up a hill against some good wind to get to the right spot wasn’t much fun.

We get to the spot, set up the tripod, mount the camera, compose the shot in the viewfinder initially (to make sure the power lines and other “debris” were out of the way), and are finally ready to take the photo.  I turn the camera on.  It does nothing…WHAT my battery’s dead…oh wait….the battery’s at home charging.  Whoops.  OK…my son has his camera (a decent bridge camera with a manual mode) so we’re probably gonna be OK.  Disappointment and crisis averted yes…ahem…no, not quite.  His camera didn’t have a big enough memory card to hold more than a single shot, the first shot wasn’t too great and we were soaked.  In short, no battery, no memory card = no image.

Lesson learned…make sure you have what you need to do the job you want to do.

The night (well wee hours of the morning actually) wasn’t a total bust though.  I’ve already gotten my daily walk in, my son and I got some uninterrupted time together to talk about what we love most and we’ll try again tomorrow…well later today once the sun comes up and then goes back down.

(P.S.  Look Prof I EVEN made this post left aligned)


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The word of the day is PROGRESS

Actually, it’s my word for the entire year.  And, to help make the progress in my photography business that I want, I’m pleased to announce some big things coming to Captured Faithfule!  Despite having what everyone keeps telling me is a decent amount of talent, I think the thing that sets me apart as a photographer is my resolve to build solid relationships.  I don’t want to be your one-time photographer because I was running a special or begged you to model for me or work pretty cheap…I want to help capture your lifetime and give you a photo memorial of a life well-lived.

With that said…new in 2013 are the following items:

FREE Mini-Session during your birthday month!

Is your birthday in January or February?  If so please let me know ASAP so I can get your card in the mail!  During your birthday month you will receive a 30 minute capture with 3 free images on a CD and print rights when you come to me! Current Value:  $37.50

Buy 3 get one FREE!

Punch cards are everywhere.  I have had them for Subway, Cold-Stone, Yogurt Time and an educational resources store whose name I can’t remember.  I know they have/had them for oil changes, Starbucks, and countless other things.  Captured Faithfule photography now joins the list and when purchase three captures, you’ll get a 4th one free!  Be sure to ask  for your punch card!  Current Value:  $75

Custom created coordinating albums!

After being and a Mommy-Auntie-Photographer, my second big passion is paper-crafting.  Now you can order your own custom created album to hold your images in.  Choices include album sizes that are roughly 9 x 9, 8 x 10 , and 12 x 12.  Need a different size?  Just let me know what size you want and I’m pretty sure I can accommodate you.  When I create an album I create it to be fun and interactive and hold as many pictures as possible.  It’s common for even the 9 x 9 album to hold 100 pictures or more!  Mini albums can be made (in varying sizes) for you to give to the grandparents and other extended family members as a brag book.  Prices vary depending on the size and time involved to make the album and each album is made with photo-safe paper and embellishments so you can safely preserve your captures for years to come.

If you’re happy and you know it tell your friends!

I believe the best compliment you could ever pay me is to refer me to your friends.  And, if great images at a price you can afford wasn’t enough incentive to tell all of your friends about me, I am now implementing a referral program.  Refer 5 new clients get a FREE capture!  Current Value: $75

All digital for any occasion!

Why not take your favorite image from your capture and turn it into a birth announcement, a party invite,  or save the date?  By combining two of my greatest talents (graphic design and photography) I can create an invite or announcement perfect for any occasion.  Order a custom invite or announcement and receive a high-resolution digital image that you can print anywhere you like as well as many copies you like.  Prices start at $25

Coming soon…

Corporate Identity Packages (logo design, business cards, letterhead and an assortment of business related forms)

I can’t wait to see how these new additions allow Captured Faithfule to progress this year!  If you have a feature or benefit you’d like to see at Captured Faithfule, please let me know!