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obviously your camera(flashes, lenses, etc) won't last forever and it probably won't even be 3 years before it's all "outdated" & the list could go on & on.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!
One thing I never thought about was paper fading until last year. For my photography classes at AC our teachers recommend a certain paper and I bought what they recommended for my first few semesters and then bought a different brand last year. What I found after a few months was YELLOW paper, not white!
I went to go visit my old portraits teacher the other day (Portraits by Tracy) and somehow we started talking about photos fading over time. I told her about a photo I printed at Walmart in September and how it's already yellowed alot in those 7 months! (I really couldn't believe it yellowed so fast!)
I asked her if maybe Walmart wasn't the best option to print photos at and wondered if a more professional lab would be better? Obviously clients would not be saving any money if they use Walmart to print their photos at and they turn yellow within less than a year because they would have to keep re-printing them if they didn't want them to be yellow; and hopefully all clients want the option to have your photos last for 100s of years so if they fade after 7 months imagine what they would look like after numerous years!
She suggested printing photos at a professional lab and walmart and then covering 1/2 the photo so sun doesn't hit that half and see what the sun does to the other half over time. Obviously I loved this idea and got prints ordered that same night!!
Today I taped each photo to a piece of foam board that is a little bigger than the 8x10 print and then covered 1/2 the photo.
Since I don't have an East/West facing windows in our house I thought I would leave these all in my car so they can get as much sun as possible and help speed up the "fading" so I can show ya'll results faster.
Be watching for me to post the results. It might be 2 weeks, 2 months, or who knows! Subscribe with your email to the right so you will see when the results are in!!
Recently I had an idea. Whenever we get a house I would LOVE to have either 9 or maybe 16 (12inx12in) canvases hung up above our couch to show Texas in photographs. I have a LONG list of things I want to photograph and then I will narrow it down once I get them all taken to see what I think looks the best together. My list includes: a tractor in a field, one of the BIG cowboy statues, and a longhorn just to name a few. Over the next year or so I'll be working on posting photos I take for my collection!
Make sure you subscribe (to the right) with your email address so you can see when the other photos/posts about Texas are up!
Saturday Calvin & I drove up to Canadian to go visit my grandmother. One of the things I wanted to photograph was a pump jack because when I think of Texas one of the things that comes to my mind is OIL! My great grandparents used to have a ranch up around Canadian/Glazier and when they sold it they still kept the mineral rights.
Every few years we take my grandmother and just go drive around out there. I really thought they had pump jacks out there and knew it would be perfect for my collection but after driving around we figured out they didn't anymore, just holding tanks now. I still thought I would take a couple photos though.
When we left we decided to go back thru Glazier since my Great Great Grandmother used to live there until the Glazier tornado of 1947 hit. There isn't much there anymore but I did find this old jail that I thought was interesting!
On our way back home we FINALLY saw some pump jacks around Pampa so we had to stop and take a few photos of them with the sunset! I think this photo below will definitely be one I add to the Texas collection!
For MONTHS now I have been trying to figure out how people can write recommendations on the A Shields Photography facebook page. I have given up trying there and instead thought that this would work just as great!
PLEASE if I've taken photos for you post in the comments below a recommendation for us! We want to let others know what you think of us!
**Also, great news for previous paying clients! We recently started a referral type program for you & I've attached a copy of what it is on our contracts now so your friends will see it & remember to put your name down! Send 5 NEW clients my way in a year and get your choice of either:
a) $50 Credit towards a 1 hour (or longer) session
b) 16x20 Canvas (a $90 Value)
More information is coming soon about the referral program so until then if you have any questions please contact Aarika.
After 2 1/2 years I've finally decided to get a blog set up. I always thought if I had a facebook page or website I wouldn't need one BUT right now my facebook page is kind of a catchall place for A Shields Photography; because of that some things I post just get hidden. Obviously posts with CUTE babies are going to get WAY more attention than say a post showing the difference between 3 different canvases (more on the canvases coming soon).
I thought the blog would help me keep facebook primarily for clients preview photos (& of course the Quote Contest too)! I think everyone's favorite part after the shoot is sharing photos so all your friends and family can see them and lets face it facebook is pretty much the BEST for that! My website will still have all the info, pricing, photo restoration, contact me, etc. & the blog will be for everything else: places Calvin & I road trip to, props I make, posts about upcoming price changes, things I think are helpful before/after you photoshoot, etc.
I also REALLY like that you can subscribe to our posts with your email address! If we make a post about upcoming price changes, discounts we are having, or whatever you will get an email about it! Unlike facebook you won't miss out if you aren't logged in at the "right time."
That's all for now but there will be much more coming soon!