The thorn in EVERY photographer's side, "why are you SO expensive??" Well the truth is, we are not!
Let me start by telling you a story;
One day Leonardo Da Vinci was painting 30-second portraits in a market. A man walked up to Da Vinci and requested that he paint his portrait. Da Vinci then spent the next 30 seconds painting the man’s portrait. Upon completion the man was very happy with his portrait.
He removes his wallet from his pocket and goes to hand over $20. When he asks how much, Da Vinci replies $5000 please sir. To the mans disgust, he shouted at Da Vinci saying "how can you charge so much? It only took 30 seconds!!"
Da Vinci replied "Yes sir, even though it only took 30 seconds, it has taken me 20 years to learn to paint portraits within that time"
A good Professional Portrait Photographer should charge $1800 to $6000 for their services. Just like you go to work, and earn your wages, so does a Professional Photographer.
Photographers spend years perfecting their skill. Just to give you an idea of what is involved in a simple shoot, with natural lighting, read below:
A Photographer must;
- Have a complete understanding of a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex - This is the technical aspect of photography that can take years to perfect)
- Master the ability to position subject in light (not to over expose or under expose the photograph)
- Master the ability to change camera settings depending on the light (clouds move, light is constantly changing)
- Master the ability to pose the subject (not all people are models, you know how you don't like certain views of yourself? A Professional Photographer needs to understand the human body and how to pose based on age, sex and weight.
- Master the ability to reflect/diffuse light (you don't want harsh lighting on your face with deep shadows, to bring out every imperfection)
- To pick a scene that is reflective of their subject’s personality, ensuring the background doesn't detract from the subject (too bright, too dark, too colourful, straight horizons)
- Be creative to show emotion in a photograph, by back lighting the subject, or including foreground interest (the emotion you feel when you look at ANY photograph, is created by the photographer...not because it was a nice day or because the subject is photogenic)
I could go on...but in essence of time, I think you can understand where I’m going with this. The above is just ONE example of Portrait Photography and each point needs to be considered all at once as a photographer.
Even though we are in a digital age, photographs still needs to be developed, now called "editing". A photographer must go through thousands of photographs from the shoot and shortlist only the best the client will want. This job alone can take several hours.
Once the images are selected, they need to be edited and in most cases, the skin needs to be retouched. To learn the skill of retouching, without making you look like a plastic doll, takes months, sometimes years to perfect! To do one photograph, JUST ONE, it takes anywhere up to 3 days. Now most packages range at 6-25 photographs...that's a lot of hours!!
Then there is the print stage, ensuring that the colour of editing is accurate (to avoid green faces or purple hair) and the images are sized in accordance with the paper selected. Which is another creative skill which takes years to perfect. Matte paper, Semi-gloss, Fine Art, Glossy, Lustre, Perspex, Canvas, just to name a few!
So from reading this blog, I ask you to consider the skills, the talent and thinking your photographer would need, to make you look beautiful, on the best angle suited to your body shape, ensure you’re styled with hair (and makeup for ladies), that the lighting will fall perfectly on your face, so you don’t unintentionally look like the Gollum from the Lord of the Rings or a white ghost.
And when you receive your family heirlooms, which will be passed on through the generations, you will be remembered in the best way possible.
Remember, it's not your job to be photogenic...it's your Photographers job to create photographs that show the best version of yourself.
Please feel free to share xxx