Wow…your camera takes great pictures!

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me that. ¬†I would have everything on my B&H wish list in a heart beat ūüėČ

If you follow my Facebook page, then you know come the beginning of 2011, my prices will be increasing. ¬†This isn’t to say that I’m better than anyone else, or because I want to increase my prices, this is to take my business to the next level. ¬†2010 was great for me. ¬†I got to meet a whole slew of wonderful new clients, that have become friends, received a bunch of opportunities that I never thought I would be able to have and best of all…the continuation of all of this right into 2011.

This brings me to 2011 and really what this post is all about. ¬†Increasing my sitting fees is about me going to the next level and really not about my camera taking great pictures. ¬†If you’ve followed my blog at all, then this post about “After the shutter clicks” will pretty much explain it in easy terms. ¬†There is so much more to this “business” then meeting a client at the park, beach or their home, snapping 100+ photos and walking away. ¬†But I won’t go into all that and let you wander over to that blog post and read up on it.

Over the last few months, I realized that I was spending more time on sorting, editing, proofing, galleries and all that goes into this, then I was with my own kids or even photographing my own kids. ¬†While offering sessions for $100 is great because this way I’m able to give some that normally couldn’t afford a professional photographer the opportunity but I was taking away what means most to me. ¬†Even the chances and opportunities to take pictures of my own kids. ¬†Couldn’t tell you the last time I did that ūüôā

Art – noun
the quality, production, expression, or realm, according toaesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing,
or of more than ordinary significance.

That is how I want you to look at your photos and that is how I want them to come across. ¬†So on that note, here’s a few things that will be changing in 2011.

The session fees went up a bit and now you’re taking away the digital negatives? ¬†Why?
The answer is pretty straight forward on this.   My session fee is for my time and talent to drive to your session, set up (if required), photograph your session, sort/edit your session, upload your gallery, gallery hosting and any marketing time that is involved with that session.  If you decide not to buy prints/products, at least my time/talent is compensated.

Why are you charging more for newborns then you do for a 2 year old?
While your newborn may be the most perfect of them all, which they all are right?  Some sessions may take up to 3-4 hours to photograph.  This not only includes the time and talent of capturing those first few days, it also includes all the props, blankets, baskets, headbands, etc. that I have purchased and will continue to purchase to make those special moments memories that you can cherish a lifetime.

You have all these new print collections…are these in addition to the session fees?
Yes they are. ¬†While I understand that most can not afford to buy the most expensive one, this is why I have come up with a few different options for you to choose from. ¬†Please understand that you do not have to purchase one 2 days after your session, it’s encouraged but not¬†necessary¬†ūüėČ Also, please don’t forget that I will work with my clients on your packages. ¬†If you need to break something into 3 payments, just ask but do remember that nothing gets ordered/delivered until payment is in full.

Why are my session fees due BEFORE the session?
I have done this to 1) ensure that you will show up lol and 2) I have blocked out that date/time for you and your session. ¬†If you do not show up, then there is that chance that another person would have. ¬†See where I’m going with this? ¬†I will work with clients on whatever I need to but this is where I will not bend.

Why is there a minimum print order now?
While ordering a few prints here and there is great, this actually will cost you more money in the end. ¬†I try to keep my print prices pretty¬†competitive¬†and not completely outrageous, honestly I don’t spend countless hours shooting/editing for you to buy 2 5×7’s. ¬†For reorders I will have no¬†minimum¬†but for your initial purchase, there will be a print order minimum if you do not go with one of the collections.

I think I saw on your Facebook that you aren’t going to shoot weddings anymore? ¬†I really wanted you to shoot my wedding come 20xx?!
While photographing a wedding is more then capturing your first memories together as a husband and wife, that is not necessarily where I want to take my business. ¬†Photographing a wedding takes a large amount of time on the photographers end, hiring a second shooter because let’s face it, one person can’t be in two different spots at the same time, sorting through 2000+ photos from two photographers, editing, and so on and so forth, there are many out there that are widely talented and that is what they specialize in.

Don’t get me wrong, if asked and I accept to photograph your wedding, I will still do it. ¬†I’m just not going to specialize in it nor am I going to market my business towards that angle. ¬†Come 2012 that may change but for right now I am focusing on my newborns, kids, families and portraiture.

And to be quite frank with you, since this is what it’s really all about, every Tom, Dick and Harry will run to Best Buy, buy a camera and all of a sudden they are a wedding photographer. ¬†Not only that, they charge a ridiculously low price, $500 or so and hand you over everything in turn making about $4/hour. ¬†I’m not here to bash those people but I am here to make a little bit of money and also have clients that appreciate what I have to offer and not just be looking for the best and cheapest price. ¬†Here’s where the old saying comes into play…”You get what you pay for” and if you paid Uncle Bob in crab cakes and champagne, then don’t complain when heads are chopped off and he missed your first kiss.

Now that you’ve implemented all this mumbo jumbo, raised your prices and left us out to dry….why do you still do it?
Here’s where the old cliche’ comes in…because I love too. ¬†I love getting the reactions from the parents like “Oh my God, I can’t decide because I love them all” or “I knew they would come out great but these are fantastic”. ¬†That’s what I do it for. ¬†Like I said in the beginning of this whole ramble, art. ¬†I want you to look at your photos in 5, 10 years and remember that exact moment that we took it. ¬†Or the mood that your child was in when we did the session. ¬†That’s what I want to capture. ¬†Those are the memories that I want you to cherish.

If there ever comes a time when I don’t get those reactions anymore, then I will hang up my camera and stop. ¬†I will capture the memories of my own children but for now and 2011, I want you to hold those memories. ¬†I want you to have those to cherish when your grandkids are around and I want to be able to be there to capture the memories of you grandchildren ūüôā

2 Responses to “Wow…your camera takes great pictures!”

  1. Rich Lavigne says:

    Way to go Lisa… focus on what you love doing and excel at it… and for those brides looking for a wedding photographer, since Lisa is no longer shooting them, give us a call..

    Best of Luck in 2011, Lisa. You’re are extremely talented, hard-working woman… I’m sure you’ll find even more success.

  2. Lisa Otto says:

    Thank you Rich ūüôā You know you and Anne are 2 of my biggest inspirations, so that means a lot coming from you!

    And brides…don’t let them fool you. They will travel and your socks will be knocked off at the final product ūüėČ

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