So it has been a very long time since my last post. It is now my goal to make one post per week, with a new photograph to add and chat about. First I would like to make an overdue update.
We are fast approaching the second birthday celebration of my son, which has been an amazing and wonderful addition to my life. With that addition, has come a greater appreciation for the work I do, as it relates with everything I see. It is this new life that has helped me find what it is that is so special in the weddings, and other events I photograph, as a celebration of those we love. So, for this first post I would like to add two photos that are now a few months old.
So recently, work has been slow, but over the last week or so, I have been able to find some income. Now, I have begun tutoring people with their cameras, and am now pushing Art Copy work as well. I enjoy working with individual artists, as they are most often unique and entertaining individuals. I find I learn from them invaluable ideas, not to mention more about their technique and the process they use to create their works.
I try hard to satisfy all clients regardless of the job, and will continue to adjust light until it fits their vision uniquely. Since all artists have a unique vision that helps create their art, why can't they have that vision extend to the photograph that represents their work on the web, in catalogs or magazines. I discovered the uniqueness of my shoot on location style of copy work last friday when shooting for the Burlington Community Glass Studio, and Terry, the owner had seen the work I had done from the beginning, but was not 100% satisfied, and I asked her what her vision was for the pieces, and she began to chat about how the light hits them when they are in the window.
Instantly, I realized why her vision and mine had not met, and quickly turned lights on, off, and readjusted their location. Next image, while previewed on camera, Terry says, "WOW!" and was completely happy about our new representation of her work. How else can you get work done and your client satisfied in a more timely manner than to shoot for them in their studio, where they can see your proofing instantly.
Anyway, here are a few of her pieces. Her work is beautiful.
Ok, so this week, I have taken some time for myself. Finally I have had time to get work done, and have fun at the same time. As crazy as we might have been,
rlie and I had tried a night of winter camping. We started our jaunt with about a mile X-Country Ski/snowshoe trek up into the woods. We figured we would stay close to home, on our first experimental trip.
We enjoyed the afternoon, the weather was nice, cold, but nice. We set up camp, dug the snow away to set the tent up, rolled out our bags and pads, and then began collecting some firewood. It was a good venture, but we did not realize how much wood we needed to keep our fire going for a few hours. So about ever hour we re-assessed the situation and ventured into the dark to find whatever dead wood we could.
We certainly were not having a leave no trace fire. As the night grew darker, we grew colder, and got the fire toasty warm. So warm that I was able to strip to my long johns to dry out my pants. Of course, I was the moron, that left the pants over the hot coals for way too long, and caught them on fire... Anyway, we learned a lot from this trip.
Around 9PM we headed to bed. We did not realize that it would be a good idea to warm our bags first, so we crawled into COLD sleeping bags, and began to chill down. NOT GOOD... We managed to g et warm enough to be okay, and make it through the night. I managed to sleep for most of the night, but Charlie was too cold to get any sleep.
Around 6:30am, I crawled out of the tent, and rekindled the fire, to get some warmth and to "thaw out". Charlie and I both enjoyed the fire for about an hour before we packed camp and headed for warmth and nap time.
In all, the lessons we learned were to not be so dumb, bring more water, warm our sleeping gear before crawling into them, DO NOT forget that the fire will burn wet pants if you leave them over hot coals too long, and to plan better next time.
For those of you who care, my wish list extends out to anyone willing to buy the following items for my winter survival. I would like a vapor barrier liner as well as a fleece liner for my sleeping bag, 2 or 3 quart sized stainless steel water bottles, and anything else you think I might need on my next trip in the wintery woods.
So, a topic that always seems to be an issue is figuring out how to effectively price to meet the market, and your client's needs. I am always trying to figure out how to set my rates without feeling like I am losing business.
I know that this is something that most photographers struggle with. So I thought I would add a little on how approach the topic and add any useful information on how others do.
Currently, I assess an event based on an hourly rate. A wedding for instance, I have figured out that for ever hour of photography, I typically have 2 - 4 of post processing, this includes printing and album work. So I base my rates on 6-8 hours of service, and include post processing in that equation. In the days of film, wedding photographers had it easy, they could just drop off their film at the nearest pro-lab, and ask for doubles. Easy enough, but now with digital, and the quantity you can acheive with digital, that would be over tedious. How many images should you allow to have printed, or more, should you even offer printed proofs. I don't, there is no need to have that kind of waste. If most people use their images on facebook, myspace, flickr, or any one of the many photo sharing sites out there, what is the need for printed matter, when only 10 or so images will get framed and placed on display. Let's price and assess our packages based on our modern typical use. Most of us no longer carry boxes of prints in our attics, but have folders upon folders of images on our hard drives. So, let's placate to the modern bride. Maybe an option we should consider is a digital photo frame, or a special wedding gallery site.
With all of my weddings, I offer free of charge a wedding gallery, but this also allows me to increase my income, when guests purchase photos from the wedding. This is helpful to pay for the fees associated with the online gallery, and to help purchase new equipment. Hmmm...
With the options of online self publishing out there, what do we look for within the companies? I look for quality of the printing, and cost. I want to offer a high quality album, but with the cost being $500 for the album, and the quality not that much better than LULU, MyPublisher, or Blurb, why should I go for the gold? Are my customers going to know the difference? How much is a wedding album worth to a client, $100, $200, $500 or $1000? If my cost is $500, then my price has to cover time and intellectual property. However, doesn't $1000 for a 50 page album seem a little ridiculous? Would it be worth it to the client? Maybe.
Anyway, these are all serious thoughts, and we all must consider what we are worth when working in any of the professional services fields. So, consider what your competetors charge, what the "people that think they are professionals, because they bought a consumer grade DSLR and downloaded photoshop or lightroom illegally" charge, and where you feel comfortable starting.
Anyway, I hope someone finds this interesting. An article worth the read is;