Jan 31, 2011

Feature :: High-end Photographer or Low-end Photographer

By Malea Ellet and Serena Martineau ~Of My Affection Photography

The art behind Of My Affection photography is simple. It is just the two of us, and we have an unyielding passion to capture the story of modern day romance. Although our business is still in its infancy, we have already had the chance to encounter and document some of the most splendid love stories. Individually we both ran our own successful photography businesses for years and then one day we began to play with the idea of collaborating our talents to create and offer something unique to these couples who were vowing their lives to one another.

One of our biggest strengths is that we capture two different angles throughout the wedding day. For example, one of us will document the elegant bride ascending the aisle while the other is capturing the lovestruck face of the groom, as he sees his soon to be wife coming towards him. There are so many moments on a wedding day that should be captured from more than one angle, to truly depict the emotion of the moment.

Something we have found to be quite wonderful is that we truly fall in love with all of our couples. The reason we think this is possible is because they have welcomed us into such a special and intimate time in their lives. Each session prior to the wedding enables a comfort level and a bond that we reach with each couple, so when the day of their nuptials finally arrives, we are there not as the hired help, but as two photographers and friends who care dearly for them. At the end of the journey our greatest hope is that our clients walk away feeling that they not only received the best documentation of their wedding experience, but they also walked away with a wonderful experience with us.

One of the most common questions we are asked from other photographers is how we are able to charge enough to cover both of our time and talents. The best answer we have is that we've really evaluated our worth as artists not just as photographers. We, meaning all photographers, are offering our talents. We are offering them one of a kind pieces of art.

The fact is, our consumers cannot go to any store and buy anything identical to what we offer. We are offering our own individual vision and style of whatever we specialize in as an artist. The question is, are you a bargain photographer who includes unlimited shooting coverage, all high resolution files, hours of editing for the price of $100 dollars or less? This may sound great to the client but unfortunately for you, they won't be hiring you for your talent but instead, they will be hiring you for your marked down pricing. Photographers like this can not be considered "high end" photographers, so does that make them "low end" photographers? If so, what category would you as an artist and photographer want to be in? Why disservice yourself and your time? A valued photographer is one who charges what they truly feel is worth their time and talents. Take into consideration the time you spend conversing with your clients prior to their session up until the end of the project. This is your time that you should charge for.

Remember to calculate your cost for not only the worth of your unique talent, but also your expenses that come with running a business. The cost of gas to and from location, the cost for products and marketing, the cost for studio rent, the cost to maintain equipment, business insurance, etc... all of these things need to be part of determining what the value is, for what you offer. In our experience, the clients who are looking only for a bargain are not the clients who appreciate quality art. The clients who sincerely value your work and feel you are validated in your pricing, are the clients who will continue to come back over and over again, as well as refer you to many people they know. If you charge what your worth, you can afford to give each client the time and experience they are paying for, and more! They will respect you for it and they will cherish even more, their heirlooms and the artwork they have invested in.

Never forget that you are an artist first, and not just a photographer.


Nancy Thompson Mahler said...

Beautiful photography Serena & Malea!!

Amy said...

Right on. Thanks for the great article and beautiful photos!