jen shannon photographer, jacksonville wedding photographer, jacksonville wedding photographers, jacksonville wedding photographyThis is probably a question most wedding vendors receive. “Do you ever discount your rates?” Sometimes, people just can’t believe that we charge what we charge for photography. I’ve heard acquaintances who don’t know I’m a photographer or what I charge say things to me like, “They wanted $x,xxx! That’s just insane!” or “Can you believe they wanted more than $100 for an engagement session?”

Of course, on the inside, I die a little… just a little. haha! J/k! Honestly though, this is something that a lot of people struggle to understand. I believe people have come to expect photographers to charge so little because so many people go out and buy a camera then call themselves a pro. They charge very little for their services because they want to make a quick buck and wind up bringing true professionals, who do this to feed their families, a bad reputation. So, without going into a penny by penny break down, here is some great information in understand the costs of being a professional wedding photographer.

First and foremost is time. While you think you may be paying someone hundreds of dollars an hour for an extra hour on your wedding day, you have to remember that a photographers job isn’t just on your wedding day. It’s not just after your wedding day either. It starts from the very first email you receive. People should be fairly compensated for the work that they do. This includes emails, blogging, research, development, marketing, social networking, social media marketing, shooting, editing, burning discs, uploading galleries, fielding vendor requests, working with coordinators, etc.

Most professional photographers have the below expenses in addition to their time.

  • Gear! We need to be able to replace old gear, repair gear, or buy new gear to keep up with today’s technology to meet the expectations of our clients. Gear is certainly not cheap. Did you know that the standard professional camera body that photographers use typically costs around $2,400? Sometimes more? That doesn’t even include a lens! Did you know lenses cost $2,000 per lens? Yes, there are cheaper lenses, but some of the lenses required for low light situations cost $2,000+ dollars each.
  • Insurance: We are required, at least in Florida, to carry liability insurance of $1M/$3M. We also carry insurance to insure our gear should it get damaged or stolen on the job. Insurance typically covers issues with gear related to an accident while on the job, not just that gear gets old and decides to croak.
  • Website: The costs of a website vary, but nonetheless, the costs are still there.
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Materials: This includes packaging for welcome packets, the items that go into welcome packets, packaging for discs, online gallery fees, discs, printing, stickers, mailing labels, shipping boxes, pens, stationery, etc.
  • Taxes
  • Travel
  • Continued education: This one is incredibly important. Some people don’t think the cost of continued education is worth it but consider how fast technology changes and how quickly a clients’ expectations change with it. If you don’t know your gear, don’t know your lighting, don’t have a mature artistic eye, you’re less likely to exceed your goals for your business.
  • Software: Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, Photomechanic, these programs are not cheap!
  • Electronics: Aside from gear, most of us need computers, printers, a mouse, a keyboard, card readers, external hard drives for backing up photos, a phone, a cell phone plan with data, sometimes an iPad or something similar to show slideshows at client meetings, etc.

As you can see, these things are very expensive and just to ensure all of these things are covered, we have to charge what we charge. Not only are you paying for these things, but as with any job, you’re paying for your photographers qualifications; that includes their experience, their education, who they’ve worked with, the quality of their work, the experience overall with the photographers company, etc.

I hope this helps to give you some better insight as to why true professional photographers charge so much for their work. With that said, no, I do not discount my work. Regardless of what day of the week it is happening, what season of the year, etc. The same amount of work goes into each wedding regardless of those circumstances. While I don’t offer discounts, I do offer flexible payment plans to help you afford the photography you want for your wedding. The payment plans are all done through me. There’s no credit card, there’s no fee, no application, etc; just me understanding that sometimes people don’t have the money right away and need some help to pay everyone at the same time. Happy Friday!

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jen shannon photographer, river house, river house events, saint augustine, saint augustine wedding photographers, saint augustine wedding photographer, saint augustine wedding photography, river house wedding, river house wedding photosHappy Friday Internet! It’s time for another installment of “Ask Me Anything Friday.” This week I tackle the question, “Do you visit my wedding location/venue before the wedding?”

To answer simply, no, HOWEVER in special circumstances, as long as you book your wedding with me, I am happy to do that. Typically on a wedding day, if I haven’t shot at your venue before, I arrive very early to scope things out and get a feel for everything so I know where I want to shoot. Sometimes I show up 30 minutes early, sometimes 15-20. It really depends on the venue and how large or small it is. For example, a location such as the Sanchez House or River House in St. Augustine (both of which I have shot at) are small enough that only 15-20 minutes is necessary, however a place like the Casa Monica or Epping Forrest (both of which I have shot at) might need a little more time to cover more ground.

I hope this helps to answer your question. Have a beautiful Friday!

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I wrote a very lengthy article about a year and a half ago about some of my tips and mistakes of second shooting for other photographers. It was coming off of a great year of second shooting a lot of weddings with some really amazing photographers. In the article, I wrote about how I had my primary photographers sign a contract because I wanted to be able to protect myself as a second shooter as well. This may turn off a lot of primary photographers, but the last thing I need is for a photographer to get published off of my images or build their portfolio site off of images that I took.

Since then, I’ve had a lot of people email and ask if I would sell my contracts that I have my second shooters sign and, when I was second shooting, have my primary photographers sign. So, without further ado, if you’d like to purchase these contracts, for what I think is a very reasonable price, they are now for sale. ***Please note that I am not a lawyer and these have not been inspected by a lawyer so what is written in here may not hold up in your state.*** Thank you so much for your purchase of the 2nd shooter contract. Please note that refunds will not be given if you purchased the wrong contract. Also, please note that I am not a legal expert and these are templates only. By purchasing this item, you hold harmless Jen Shannon and all affiliates, from any claims that arise.

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jen shannon photography, amelia island wedding photographer, amelia island wedding photography, amelia island wedding photographers, amelia island plantation, omnio amelia islandWelcome to another installment of “Ask Me Anything Friday!” These posts are designed to answer some of my most commonly asked questions by brides. Hopefully brides, and potential brides, are finding these useful in their quests to find the perfect photographer for them!

This week’s question is “how many images will I get?” This question can vary however before I get into specifics, let me give you my philosophy. In my opinion, you should be able to tell the store of a wedding in around 500 pictures. Of course, there are many variants to this, but in my opinion, no one needs 2000+ images of their wedding. I would rather have fewer amazing images than a million redundant, mediocre images. With that said though, let’s get into some specifics.

A typical wedding usually hires me for 6-8 hours. If there is nothing out of the ordinary going on, they can expect somewhere around 500 pictures. It is sometimes more, sometimes less. It really depends on the couple and their guests. Some couples are more energetic and silly and want those moments captured, while others may sit quietly and smile every so often. You don’t want to deliver 30 pictures of the bride and groom just sitting there at the table during their reception staring and whoever is giving them the next toast. A few of those pictures are good.

As a photographic artist, you’re hiring me for my artistic interpretation of your wedding day through photographs. That means you trust that I will cull only the best images and images that are up to my quality standards. I do not want photographs floating around the internet with my name attached to them that are sub par. My brand and photographs need to truly reflect my style so as not to lead others to think that I am something that I am not or that I am not something that I am.

If your wedding is multicultural, has multiple locations, spans a longer period of time, has more people involved, has special elements to it like a special surprise bridal party dance, a receiving line (which no one really does anymore), or multiple reception events outside of your typical bouquet/garter toss, cake cutting, first dances, etc, then you’ll get more than 500. If you have a 4 hour wedding, you are probably more likely to get 400 or so images.

I hope this helps to answer your questions about how many images you can expect to receive. Remember, the key is quality over quantity.

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jen shannon, jen shannon film, jen shannon fine art film photography, jen shannon fine art collection, fine art, film, jacksonville film photographers, film photographers, color film photographers, flowers, foliage.It’s funny. I was sitting here thinking about what I wanted to title this post and I couldn’t quite figure it out. It’s isn’t often that I don’t know what to write. After all, I am a “talker,” as my husband would say. I like being a talker. I like being able to strike up conversations with people I know nothing about. I like being able to be sociable on the drop of a dime. It’s one of my favorite attributes about myself that I got from my mom and it’s certainly a good thing to have when you’re a wedding photographer.

Anyway, getting to the point of this post… Lately I’ve been reflecting on my current stage of life and just been very pleased, joyful, and happy. That’s not to say tough times don’t hit and I don’t have things I struggle with, but ultimately, I’m very happy. My husband’s 10 year high school reunion is coming up in a couple of weeks and he’s been putting it together because the person responsible for doing it, of course, doesn’t seem to care to have one. This got me thinking a lot about the last 11 years since high school and my 4 years in high school. It seems like some people just haven’t changed. My poor hubby has had the hardest time getting people to respond or put forth any effort whatsoever and the people that he has been able to contact are terrible at responding to anything, but of course, they have tons of time for Facebook. What happened to our generation? What happened to the responsibilities we all very much looked forward to when we just couldn’t wait to be adults? Why is it that I’ll be 30 next year and only a couple of my friends actually live on their own, much less are married or have children? That’s another blog post for another day.

I know a lot of people will not be going to the reunion because they aren’t happy with who they are. They’re ashamed of their weight gain (I know I am!), they’re ashamed of their financial circumstances, their embarrassed to not “have” as much as other people who think they are “successful.” Actually, it’s not even that they aren’t happy with who they are, it’s that they are afraid of being seen as lowly or pathetic because others will show up making tons of money, driving nice cars, shoving their successes in everyones face. Did I mention Tim Tebow graduated from our high school? I don’t remember what class he was in, but my husband says he’s a really nice guy, but I know a lot of people who might feel little standing next to someone like him showing up at their reunion.

What I want to say is that I don’t think success is measured in the amount of money you make every year, the amount of weight you haven’t gained since high school, the kind of car your drive or where you live. Success is measured by happiness with where you are and the personal obstacles you’ve overcome to get there. There’s no shame when you realize you’re happy because you’re exactly where you hoped you’d be like having a wonderful, faithful, handsome husband, a beautiful child or children, amazing family and friends that surround you, talents you’ve discovered that you didn’t even know you had, and even the smaller things, like the dog you’ve had for 9 years that is more loyal today than ever, or delighting in the beautiful garden you’ve managed to keep alive, etc. So when I reflected on all of the dreams I had 11 years ago, when I was standing at my high school graduation, I realized it wasn’t the band I hoped to be the lead singer of that would be wildly successful, or the executive in the corner office, or a big wig at Publix, it was being happy that mattered. My happiness may not be your happiness, but I’ve realized that my happiness is in the love I have for the people around me. It’s serving my husband and daughter, patting my dogs, hugging on Jayda, watering my garden in the morning, being thankful for a body that can exercise (I do P90x baby!), being thankful for my health, it’s cooking dinners that nourish my and my family’s bodies, it’s being the manager of our home, it’s sewing all sorts of things for people, singing loudly to the BellyButton song (VeggieTales) in the car to Carly, and all of the other little things in life.

So as I was sitting here trying to figure out what to name this post, I looked over and saw a charm hanging by my desk that came on a coffee mug I have that says, “Dreams come true.” So yes. Dreams to come true.

Stay beautiful. Never stop dreaming.

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