Tonight I had the pleasure of speaking with Lindsay Horn of Lindsay Horn Photography. What a great hour we had! Lindsay is a great photographer in Texas and does family photography. You can fan Lindsay on Facebook here.
For future reference…. One of the things about the e-learning sessions that make it harder to blog is that a lot of the questions are similar to ones I’ve posted to my blog before. So I may not post 3 questions from each session a week.
1. How do you handle pricing for family, friends, or people that you know? Do you give them a discount?
I’m going to answer this question from a blogging standpoint instead of just saying what I said to her, because I think there is more to it that the outside world may not understand is implied if I only type what I said to Lindsay.
For family, friends, and people I know pricing… I DO NOT DISCOUNT MY SERVICES! Here’s why. I have found that they will not take you seriously or respect you as a professional photographer if you’re always discounting yourself. So instead I will do one of three things. If I am very close to someone and feel compelled I will gift my photography services. I never gift wedding photography services because no one else (except maybe the parents of the bride or groom) is giving a gift worth as much as my wedding packages so why should I? If you are someone I know but I am not close to I will negotiate a deal so I am getting just as much out of it as the other person. For example: A friend of mine has a boyfriend who needs head shots done. Instead of charging her my portrait rate of $250 I negotiated a deal with her so I get something out of the deal that is close to my portrait rate. This is not something I do for everyone I know. Lastly if it is someone I know, if I feel compelled I might add a value added service to their package but I will not discount my prices. For example: I might add an extra hour of coverage or throw in a trash the dress session, but I do not discount my prices.
One thing I’ve said over and over again (feel free to use this) is I AM NOT WORTH ANY LESS JUST BECAUSE I KNOW YOU! If someone I know asks me for a discount or expects it I will not do any work for them. That’s a classic sign of someone that doesn’t respect what you do. Ultimately I will not do any work for people I know unless I am gifting it or getting something that has just as much value as my charges out of it. It’s not right or fair to expect someone who has built something from the ground up to work for free or cheap just because they know you. There is so much work that goes into each session/wedding. It’s not just a “show up at this location and shoot for an hour then send me a disc with the images” kind of thing. I went into detail about this in an earlier blog post that you can read about here.
2. It’s sad that so many photographers charge so little and include the disc of images with it.
While this wasn’t a question, I thought it was a statement worth talking about. So we spoke about it. Any regular consumer has access to a digital camera, a cd burner, and a printer. Because of this they think a disc of images shouldn’t cost them anything. Here’s the problem. We spend hours upon hours and days upon days editing your photos and creating artwork. If you bought a canvas and some paint and created a painting that took hours/days to create would you turn around and sell it for the cost of the canvas and paint? No. Photography isn’t any different. Photography is an art form. Even though we are taking pictures of your family, we are still creating art so you are purchasing the art from us, not just point and shoot pictures printed on your quick printing HP printer at home. You’re paying for skill, quality, experience, and artwork. This is a very hot debate in the photography industry among photographers and the photographers who give the discs or images away are hurting the industry.
3. Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG? Why?
I shoot RAW. RAW files are more forgiving on over and under exposed images (even professionals have a few of those). It also makes color balancing easy. I’m not the type of photographer that likes to worry about white balance issues on the front end. If something ends up not being color balanced properly I can take care of that very quickly on the back end and apply it to all of the images affected. It’s easier for me to worry about controlling the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed on the front end and color correct on the back end.