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Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's Your Worth? -- Phoenix, AZ Photographer

{ The Tale of the Skinny & Fat Piggy }
Is your piggy bank starting to look a little too thin?
Do you need more green to feed it and to fatten it up again?

When photographers are starting out in business, they often make a similar mistake:

They let their little piggy go hungry.

Very hungry.

But what they don't realize is that that piggy bank becomes the bacon off of which they and their family eats and it's important to set a price that is not only fair to clients, but to his or herself as well.

It is important for a photographer and a client to:

Value time.

Value effort.

Value what is being invested into. 

When I first started photographing as a business, I was charging $50.00 per session. It seemed like a good thing at the time because I was new and thought, "Awesome, I'm making money!"

But was I really?

After spending a few months in the business, I realized just how many costs go into making photography a business--and there are many hidden costs that really add up. I want to highlight them here for both the photographer and the client.
{ These are just the bare bone essentials of what goes into a photo shoot } :

There's the cost of gas to drive to the location and back.

The taxes that are paid on 4 different levels
{ here in AZ it's city, county, state and federal on product and services }.

There's the 1-2 hours out on site to take the photos.

The 2-4 hours at home hand editing each photo from the session.

The time it takes to upload and process an order at a lab.

The shipping of the photos from the lab to photographer.

The shipping of the photos from photographer to clients.

The cost of the product themselves.

The cost of packaging.

The cost of credit card processing.

The cost of posting the photos online in a proofing gallery.

The cost of electricity to run the computer to make all that magic happen.

I'm not including the other costs--maintenance of gear, maintenance of car, licensing, business cards, etc.
As a photographer, you have to take these things in mind as you set your prices for your clients.
As a client, you have to take these things in mind as you search for a photographer.

Photographers, are you being fair to yourself and your work? Do you value it?
Clients, are you being fair to your photographer and their work? Do you value it?

I wouldn't expect a person to work and not get paid.
Would you?
Some of you photographers, why are you working for free and not charging enough to cover your costs? Why are you not charging your worth as an artist?

Some of you clients, why are you expecting to get something for near nothing?

Why is that?
We wouldn't expect to get a diamond for a cubic zirconia price, right? So those of you photographers who are exploding with talent, why are you pricing yourself as a cubic when you're really a diamond?

Do you want to work with a client that doesn't value your work at the level that it's at?
Could it be that you're setting your prices lower than they should be because you're afraid that you won't find people who will value your work?

People pay for what they value.

Listen: Price isn't the issue. The perception of value is.

Some people value one thing over another.
My goodness, have you seen the rise in fights that are happening over a pair of sneakers out right now? People are fighting over shoes! Shoes! Enough to call in riot police! People buy what they value.

I'll give you another example.


Disneyland is expensive.
I know.
I used to work there.

What is the breakdown of the bare bones of a trip?

1 adult ticket is $80.00 for a 1 day, 1 Park ticket.
There's the cost of parking.
The cost of meals throughout the day.
Drinks throughout the day.
The cost of a locker.
The cost to get to the Park { gas or airline }.
If you're from out of town, the cost of a hotel or motel.
Not including souveniers, it's pretty pricey...

But people pay it.


It's hot in the summer. Lines are endless. Crowds are pushy.

Because of memories.

There is value in going to Disneyland.
People are willing to pay for the magic that Disney creates for them.

I used to be a part of making that magic and I know how very special that can be for a person or a family.

People pay for it, because memories are valuable.

You could go to the local carnival.
It's cheaper.
But the experience is not the same by far.
I guarantee you're not going to get the same experience that you will at Disney!

The same thing is true of a professional photographer.
A client could go to a local store or mall store and get their photos done.
But you get what you pay for.

It's like eating a cake without the frosting.

You can't expect to price yourself the same, because you're not the same. 
Clients shouldn't expect to get you at the same discounted price because as a professional, you invest more into their photos than they'll ever be able to get at a local store or mall studio.

A professional photographer is valuable because he or she is capturing memories in a professional way.

A photographer creates and captures memories.
In their best light.
In the most artistic way possible.

It's funny how people view pricing sometimes.

I wouldn't expect to walk into Neiman Marcus and ask for something at Kmart prices.
I would probably be laughed out of the store for even asking such a thing.

Each place is priced differently for a different crowd of shoppers. Some can afford one price. Some can afford more. Some can afford less. We each shop at the level that's most comfortable to us.

Just like with shopping, there are photographers at several different price ranges for a variety of different clients at different price ranges.

If you're priced fairly and someone can't afford you, you don't have to feel bad and change to fit their budget and expectations.
You set your prices fairly and the right clients that value your work and can afford your price range will be the ones to hire you.  

Skinny piggy, fat piggy....

What's in your wallet?

It all depends on the value you and others see in your work.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

{ Beba Couture -- Stylized Fairytale Princess Photo Shoots } -- Phoenix, AZ Photographer

Do YOU See Yourself As a Princess?

Working out details for stocking dresses for Beba Couture { stylized fairytale shoots } when it launches this year. I know that it's going to be a hit for the little girls. But I want to do princess shoots of teenaged girls and women too. But I'm curious to know if women would be interested in something like that. If you're a teenager or a woman, would a princess shoot appeal to you? The costumes I'm looking at are similar to this one on my Pinterest board: I'm looking for feedback from everyone and would love to hear back from you so I know which age group to focus on. Thanks! : )!! ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, February 3, 2012

{ Beba Photo Tip -- Finding Open Shade } -- Mesa / Phoenix, AZ Photographer

Harsh Lighting = BAD
Don't Do This:

Open Shade = GOOD
Do This Instead:
This is a quick little tip that's easy to remember and one that will make a world of difference.

When you're shooting your subject, whether it be a person or object...make sure that you're shooting in good open shade and NOT direct sunlight.

These two pictures are SOOC{ Straight Out Of Camera }--no color or lighting has been changed.

Do you see the difference? One is harshly lit and the other is softly lit.

Aim to find "open shade"--an area that is well lit, but covered by an overhang or shoot on the backside of a wall when it's still bright out so that you don't get those harsh shadows and highlights.

Before you photograph your subjects, make sure you take a moment to see how the lighting is falling across their faces and their bodies and the scene around them. Are there any harsh shadows and highlights? Search around and move them into an area that has open shade and your pictures will be transformed!

A small detail that's sometimes overlooked, but that make pictures look ever-so-much better when you find that right light.