Cut-to-the-chase honesty, coming your way!
When you land on the pricing page on my website, you’ll see that a portrait session is $350, and includes about an hour of shooting (as well as all photos, edited, and an online gallery). Here’s what I want you to know about that “about one hour” comment – because if you’re paying the bill, you should get what I’m doing. And because my experience in my profession doesn’t just include my camera.
Honestly, usually, that first 15 minutes of shooting is crap. In that first 15 minutes, you feel awkward – or a little strange at best. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. You don’t know what to expect: do you have to pose yourself? Am I going to pose you? What if you feel awkward? What if the poses feel awkward? What if you look awkward and don’t know it? What if you don’t know what to do with your hands? Will I tell you? Getting great portraits with all that going on in your head is HARD.
But 15 minutes in, you start to relax. You find out I’m actually pretty conversational and easy to get along with (I hope), that you’re laughing and/or giggling more than you expected, and that I’m posing you enough that you don’t feel lost and awkward, but not so much you feel fake. Since we’ve done a couple of poses a few times, you’re starting to get the feel of this routine, and you’re getting pretty used to the fact that my camera is always snapping at something.
By minute 30, all the questions have left your mind, and you haven’t even realized a half hour as gone by. We’ve probably covered a few topics about your life, and a few embarrassing facts about mine (including that fact that I can’t get myself to stop saying “oh that’s perfect” while I’m shooting, and that I have an off-center belly button) – and if kids are involved in this shoot, we’ve covered favorite food, whether or not they’re ticklish, and probably even whether or not mom ever toots. All of this is gold for me (your photographer).
By minute 40/45, you’re about done. You’re starting to remember we’ve been doing this a while, a kid or fiance or groom is threatening melt down if they don’t get a snack, and you can’t believe how many times you’ve heard my camera click. We start wrapping up, but by now we know each other well enough to keep chatting pretty easily. And now every emotion is completely real. In between reminders that ice cream was promised, or promises that we are walking back to the car/reception/house, someone starts an impromptu round of Ring Around the Rosie, or let’s skip back to the car! or dad-give-me-a-piggy-back ride and I make sure I don’t miss grabbing those bits of real, real life (including an occasional full-on meltdown). While a lot of it might be crap at this point, the in-between moments are anything but.
THIS is how I make sure I capture YOU. All on, full on, real life YOU. And it works. I promise. It works. Sometimes in less than an hour because you’re just so chill. Sometimes in more than an hour because you’re just having fun with it and minute 40 doesn’t hit until later. But trust me that I’m watching this happen and I know when we’re good. When we’ve got the stuff you came for. So also trust me and don’t try to pack in your family shoot, your twin daughter’s senior shoots, and a quick grab of your extended family all in one session. While we can get it all in, it won’t be the same. And my sessions aren’t about just “getting it in” – I’m always aiming for your response to sound like Brittany’s:
“Ah you’re amazing! I wasn’t expecting to have them so soon! Love love them!! You captured the kids personalities perfectly! Thank you again!” – Brittany, 2016 family portrait client
Here’s to a 2017, understanding your photographer’s pricing, and a whole lot of happy, happy photos!