Have you ever heard you get what you pay for? I know I have and actually just heard it again today. Maybe it's because of the business I'm in but I really hear that phrase alot when someone is talking about photography. I don't think when someone says that they are trying to be mean/ rude - I think they just must be speaking from experience, but then again I can't speak for other people/photographers. I can, however, speak from MY PERSONAL experience because I've been the cheap, low end, $50 photographer before and I'm slowly raising my prices. So what is the difference between a $50 photographer and a $130 photographer? Let me show (&tell) you how it's been for A Shields Photography!
In 2011 I took senior photos for Brittani - she was actually one of my first paying clients & I was SO excited when her mom booked the shoot!! The thing about this photo (above on the left) is that in all honesty I bet anyone could take a photo like this. Sure, I had a DSLR camera but I used it on auto and I think even one of the "big fancy cameras" on the auto mode is really no different then a plain ole point and shoot camera on auto. And yes, I did edit this photo but I didn't know what I was doing and it was with a free program - probably either gimp or photoscape because that's all I really used for the next few months after this shoot. I thought $50 was a good price and I thought this photo was good but now I've learned that's not the case and hopefully you will agree with me when I say the photo I took this year (above on the right) is much better!
Before I started doing photography I thought photographers charging $150+ was crazy!! Why? Because I didn't know any better. I thought they got to keep all the money for themselves and I didn't think about all the costs it takes to run your own business; the money it takes to go to school (or have a photographer mentor you) if you want to learn how to get better, the income taxes for a Sole Proprietorship, the insurance in case someone sues you, the money it costs for new equipment because obviously your camera(flashes, lenses, etc) won't last forever and it probably won't even be 3 years before it's all "outdated" & the list could go on & on. And then there are things that honestly have nothing to do with money - I never thought about all the time it would take and how hard I would have to work just to keep my head above water! For the last 2 years I've been working for a bank about 28-30 hours a week, taking classes for about 9 hours a week per semester (+homework) & still trying to run a photography business which pretty much takes 40 hours a week between photoshoots, editing, scouting out locations, responding to messages (email, text, facebook, etc). I can't tell you how many nights I have gone to bed after 3am and had to wake up before 8am. Did I mention I'm married too & sadly I haven't really seen my husband(except for when he is my assistant), friends, or family much in the last few years since I started this.
So with all that being said I can no longer be (and haven't been for a while) your $50 photographer & I'm sure as you saw you got what you paid for with me. I am raising my prices again at the end of the month & the cost will be $185 an hour & you may tell me that you can't afford me and that my prices are too expensive for you and that's okay. There will always be a cheaper photographer out there and maybe their $50 photoshoots will be better than mine were. Before you book them though please think about the quality that you would get if you keep booking with A Shields Photography and think about which photos you would want to show your grandkids later down the road. We are about quality not quantity so if you want 60+ photos in 30 min we are not the photographer for you (and probably never were) and we will raise our prices again next year maybe even by $50+ again. However, by giving you a CD of photos with your session and usually a minimum of 15 color photos are on a CD, with the new prices($185 an hour), it only comes to about $12 per photo. Since you have the option to print as many photos as you want and don't have to pay $10 for a 4x6, $12 for a 5x7, etc. we think you are getting one heck of a deal!! If you like/value a photographers work then save up for them. Our session would cost you less than $1 a day!! So next time you are looking for a photographer just remember, you get what you pay for!