Friday, March 20, 2009

Jerry & Susan...engaged!

Now, this couple was so much fun. They were very polite and very in love! My mood was lifted just by being around them! he he. We walked around downtown Ann Arbor, stopping here and there, all while taking pictures. I posted some of my favorites here. I especially love the black & white one where they are embracing in the middle of a pack of busy people. I think it looks fresh and fun, don't you? Thanks again Susan & Jerry! I look forward to your wedding.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why do prints cost more than I pay at my local drugstore?

Why do your prints cost more than they do at your local drugstore?

The digital revolution has brought flexibility and ease of use for photographers of all stripes - the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur and the point-and-shoot mom or dad. Almost everyone has a digital camera and ‘photo printer’ to print their own photos or upload them to a local photo centre or website to be printed. All this at a cost of about $2.00 for an 8 x 10 print.

You may well wonder why professional photographers charge anywhere from $40 to $130 for a similar sized print. Perhaps you have asked, "How in the world can you charge so much for an 8×10 print if it costs less than $2 to print at the store?"

The answer is multifaceted and worth considering. The photo you purchase from a professional photographer is much more than the ink and paper it is printed on. The value of a professionally produced photo includes the time required, the equipment used, the artistic vision, expertise and reputation of the photographer and not just the cost of the printed image.

First, let us look at the time required.

In some cases, there is the time taken to travel to the location of the shoot. Then there is the setup and preparation for the shoot. This entails checking equipment, preparing props and planning for the session. The actual shoot itself usually lasts an hour and a half, followed by time required to download and sort the photos, backing up the files and post processing where images are cropped, colour corrected, often enhanced and optimised for printing to a colour calibrated printer. In some instances proofs and proof books are prepared and printed.

Then there is the time taken to inform the clients and prepare for the viewing of the photos. The client then selects the images and discusses printing and framing options with the photographer. Sometimes request for minor edits and removal of blemishes and distractions in the photo has to be noted and then added to the workflow for the final print run.

As you can appreciate, the initial one or two hour session can soon become anywhere from eight to ten hours of work without any exaggeration. So it has cost the photographer quite a few hours for the print purchased. When a sitting fee of $100 is charged for example, it does not mean you are paying $100 an hour.

When it comes to an eight hour wedding, it is worth remembering that on average it takes at least one full 40 hour week to prepare the photos for clients. Again, if the charge is $4000 for an eight hour wedding, you are certainly not paying $500 an hour. The album, the proof book, and the prints not only cost the photographer money, it also requires time and effort to prepare and produce.

Next, let’s consider the equipment.

Professional quality equipment is not cheap. A professional camera with a selection of high quality optical lenses, along with digital storage media and computer hardware and software can cost well upward of $15,000-$45,000 depending on the needs of the photographer. This cost is easily doubled when taking into consideration the need for back up gear in case of equipment failure.

Then come the costs of archival quality printers/pro printing labs and speciality paper stock to insure optimal image quality and longevity. The prints produced must not only look good, they need to be of archival quality. Thousands of dollars are invested to make sure the printers and paper used are properly colour calibrated and of consistently high standard.

Where a studio is required, the costs of renting/owning a studio is substantial, especially when the need for specialist lighting, backdrops, props, frames, stands and power are taken into consideration.

Now let’s look at the creative expertise and reputation of the photographer .

The reputation, skill and creative vision of a photographer is acquired through years of experience and expense. Learning the intricacies of lighting a subject, correct exposure, composition, developing digital technologies and colour calibration require time, effort and money. A professional photographer is always looking for ways to improve their technical expertise, skills and creativity. This will often involve buying books, attending workshops and subscribing to professional associations and forums. I personally, have also spent the time and money it takes to attain a Bachelor's Degree of Fine Art & Photography.

We could add to this the other costs of running a photography business, including: taxes, studio costs, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, insurance, costs of sample albums, etc.

Hopefully, the above comments will help you the next time you consider the cost of a wedding photographer or a professionally printed photo. As someone else helpfully put it, “Think of it this way - the next time you pay $60 to get your hair done, a pair of regular scissors only costs about $2 (of course you hair dresser has a more expensive pair!) but you gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional.”

It’s certainly food for thought!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Float Wraps!

Float Wraps are similar to Gallery Wraps or Standout mounted prints in that they add dimension by extending out from the wall. Float Wraps are unique in that they appear to be floating on the wall with the main focus on the image! Create a modern display with a Float Wrap wall collage that is ready to hang once removed from the box!

Float Wraps are available in 6 popular sizes: 8x10, 10x10, 10x20, 11x14, 16x16, and 16x20.

Friday, March 6, 2009


A good friend of mine had a wonderful idea. She was watching her friend's baby today and asked me to take some pictures of her. She wanted to surprise her friend with a gift portrait....
So, here are a few results from our little "mini" session. This little Stella is just absolutely adorable and just seems to be all smiles. I especially love the drool! :) What lucky parents she has! So, thank you, to my friend Sarah for coming up with this fun idea of surprising them.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Bernice is such a delightful person and was so fun to photograph. She is one of our dear friends that live in Ohio. She came to Michigan because she needed some pictures for her talent/modeling agency....and we had fun creating them! It was so cold that we threw on our coats as we moved from place to place and we even took a break to warm our fingers in the car. But, even though she was shivering, she managed to pose so beautifully and still look stunning! Thank you Bernice for letting me take your pictures. Good luck with your career!