Why Choose Custom Photography:

Custom photography is more of  a luxury than your entry level cookie cutter chain experience.  You will not have to wait in line or be confined to a crowded studio.  It is a “unique experience”.  As such, it is not for everyone.  It requires a commitment in time, money, forethought and planning on the part of both the client/subject and the photographer.  The results of this level of commitment in customized service are quality, heirloom images.  You will not get this level of quality or commitment at the “mass produced” “mass marketed” corporate “everyone is a number” studio.   

Why Does Custom Photography Cost More:

This is a multifaceted question.  Much of the cost of a Fine Art Print or Canvas produced by a professional photographer has to do with time.  Equipment costs, artistic vision, expertise and the usual costs associated with running a legitimate business are also factors.  Here is a breakdown of the time needed for ONE session:

  1. booking time: 30 minutes to one hour (client contact time + paperwork)

  2. pre-session prep time: 30 minutes to 2 hours (includes equipment and back up equipment checks, location scouting + vehicle checks)

  3. travel time to session: 30 minutes to 1 hour

  4. prep time at location: 15-30 minutes

  5. session time: 90 minutes to 2 hours

  6. travel time from session: 30 minutes to 1 hour

  7. archiving and editing images: 2-5 hours

  8. presentation and ordering prep time: 1-2 hours

  9. client ordering session: 2-3 hours

  10. placing and receiving order: 1 hour (includes checking order thoroughly and re-ordering if necessary)

  11. preparing order for delivery: 30 minutes to 1 hour

  12. presenting final order to client: 30 minutes to 1 hour

As you can see, the time spent per client can range from 9.5 hours to 20.5 hours.  And remember, this is time dedicated to ONE session. So, when a photographer charges $125-$300 for the photo session (aka the session fee) you are not just paying for that two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 9.5-20.5 hours of work to complete your session.  And this is before you factor in the cost of equipment, experience and running a legitimate business!

You could get cheaper photographs at a local chain department store, but you will not get the one on one, personalized, unique, dedicated service that you will from a professional custom photographer.  And, the whole reason behind the big department stores offering portrait services is to get you into their stores so that you will spend more money with them in other departments. You’re “there anyway”, why not shop.  Do you really want to trust your once in a lifetime family portraits to a company that looks at “portrait services” as a loss leader?

Information courtesy of  Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Photography and http://www.professionalchildphotographer.com

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