I recently read a blog post from a photographer in Oregon discussing why professional photography costs what it does, and I became inspired to do the same.

Price is always a huge factor for everything, not just photography.  I know a lot of people wonder why they shouldn’t just go to the mall and get a portrait taken versus spending a lot more time and money with a professional photographer in a boutique studio.  Well, let me explain why professional photography costs what it does, and also the difference between the mall and the boutique studio.

I have definitely heard, and even been introduced, as “This is Kim, she’s a photographer, and she’s expensive!”  Just to clarify, I’m not writing this in response to anyone’s comments, I just wanted to enlighten those out there who wonder why professional photography is so, as they say, expensive.

I am new to owning my own business, which I love by the way!  But, the point is that every single thing costs money.  Everything from the boxes, bags, and ribbons I use to package my photos to the equipment needed to shoot the sessions and process the files.  These, of course, are essentials.  You might think that the pretty bags and ribbons are not essentials, but trust me, they are.

One of the biggest differences between the mall and a boutique photography studio, like mine, is customer service and presentation.  I have lower volume and a higher price point than they do because I want to focus on the individual needs of my clients.  You know, the customer service part??

I also have focused my business on several niches.  I don’t boast that I can photograph everything perfectly so bring all your business to me!  I specialize in a few areas, which are newborn, pet, and baby photography.  If you want any of those three photographed, I’m your girl.

But, I’m getting off track.  Here’s the hard evidence for pricing – let’s go over a typical session.  My session fee is $250, and $100 goes straight towards your order.

  • Session prep: 30 minutes of setting up lights, metering the lights, creating the scene
  • Session: 1 to 2 hours of photographing, chasing dogs, cats, or kiddos
  • Uploading and editing: I take a lot of photos to make sure I get what you want, so then I have to edit it down to between 30 to 60 images (if you show too many it gets confusing) 2 to 4 hours
  • Projection Prep: creating your custom slideshow and images for viewing (1 hour)
  • Projection: I schedule up to 2 hours and sometimes it takes 2 hours and sometimes 30 minutes
  • Retouch: once you choose your images I retouch the ones you order.  It takes me 30 minutes to an hour to retouch 1 image, so depending on how many you order this part can take a long time
  • Packaging: I package your order individually with fun boxes, bows, etc (30 minutes)

So, not including the actual projection appointment or retouching, you have close to 10 hours of work before an image is even seen by the client.  That’s a lot of work for that one session!  But, let me remind you that you are not only paying for fabulous images, you are paying for the customer service, and, in the end, the experience.

One of the most important aspects of my business is customer service.  I’m more focused on creating a lasting, memorable experience for you and your family than booking 3 sessions a day.  I am working to create an experience that will make you want to come back again and again.  If you don’t believe me, book a session and experience the difference first hand!

I can’t leave you without an image, so here’s one of my favorites!  This is Parker from his newborn session – 2 weeks old!

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