Monday, 9 May 2011

Could you just...?

This one really adds to the last post.  I think maybe I've had a string of difficult customers recently that's got me thinking about this.  They fall into 2 camps:

First is the "Could you just...?" crowd.  Could you just airbrush my arm fat?  Could you just make my nose less red?  Could you just make it look like a sunny day?  (All real examples by the way!)  All of my pictures are individually edited and I do make a great effort to remove any non-permanent blemishes like spots or bruises.  But my prices are based on the standard work I do.  Please understand that if I have to make your nose less red on every single photo this add a massive amount of time to the process.

Second is the deal hunter.  You know the conversation.  "That'll be £220 please."  "Oh.  I only have £200.  Is there anything you can do?"  Well yes, there is something I can do.  I can not sell you £20 worth of photos.  It sounds a bit harsh but my prices are very fair for me and my clients.  I think the worst are the ones who ask for the digital file if they buy the print.  I only make money from selling photos from a portrait shoot.  It might sound very mercenary, but if you want 3 copies of a print, please buy 3 copies of a print.  Don't try and wangle the full size digital file out of me under the pretense that you're just going to "put it up on Facebook and that".  I will sell you the digital files, but they are deliberately disproportionately expensive.  I will only ever sell that once and it could turn into dozens of prints for the whole family meaning I lose out.

You wouldn't take your car in to get new tyres and ask "You couldn't just replace a few bulbs and tighten the handbrake at no extra charge as well could you?"  Equally you don't barter with the automated checkout at Sainsbury's to try and get a free tin of beans because you didn't bring enough cash out with you!

I'm a big believer in 'if you don't ask you don't get' so by all means ask.  But don't be offended if the answer is no.

Sorry if I sound a bit ranty but it's good to get things off your chest sometimes!

Monday, 2 May 2011

It's HOW much?!?!?

I've been feeling recently that I have to justify myself and my prices. It can be a bit difficult doing it individually without causing offense or sounding patronising or condescending or argumentative. So here it is. Please don't take offense...

£1100 for a wedding album?!
Well yes. But also no. What many people don't understand is the time it takes to get to delivering your wedding album. Before you've even booked me I've probably spent an hour or 2 talking to you at your house or in my studio. Before the wedding I've been to see you again, usually at the venue(s). On the day itself I might be with the bride from 10am and won't leave until the speeches are over which can be 7 or 8pm. For those not counting we're up to 12 hours already! After the day (while you're on honeymoon) I then edit the pictures. Every single picture has some work done to it even if it's a little bit of cropping. That can be another 5 or 6 hours. When you've chosen your photos I then have the album and thank you cards to design and order. There goes another 4 hours! Totalling all that a wedding can take me between 20 and 24 hours. Factor in the cost of the preview book, album and cards as well and it's easy to see why wedding photographers charge what they do. In fact I might put my prices up!

£15 for a photo?! I can get it for 20p in Tesco!
Yes you can.  So why do I charge £15? Your photo, whether framed or not realistically doesn't cost me what I sell it for. But what business out there doesn't make a profit? None. None that are still trading anyway...  Retailers typically sell items for 3 times what they buy them for.  Restaurants generally quadruple the cost of the ingredients.  Why? There are many more costs than just the product.  A (good, professional, legal, responsible) photographer has a lot of expenses not directly associated with your pictures.  For example - studio costs, equipment, insurance, advertising, travel, etc...  Then there's the time again.  Including the shoot, the editing, the presentation, the re-editing, the ordering and finally the delivery, there can be 6 hours of work involved in your photos!

So please don't be offended by any of this, but please don't tell me (or any other photographers) that we're expensive.  We're just trying to make a living and it ain't easy sometimes!