Monday, January 19, 2009

Maternity Session

Coming soon...
Leilani Jade

We had a very relaxed Maternity Photo Session this weekend. We took a variety of photographs, from silhouettes to props on her belly to traditonal.

To view more photos from this session take a look in the gallery on our website.

Here are a few of my favorite photographs...

With Leilani's tiny little sneakers

Purple sneakers!

The radiant Mom -- love the curls!

In this photograph the mom-to-be has a nice subtle smile but there are a few great photographs on our website where she is just giggling and I love it. Check them out here:

Leilani's ultrasound. We should be meeting her in a week or two.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why Does Custom Photography Cost More?

Why Does Custom Photography Cost More?

Digital technology is brilliant. The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and amazing amounts of control for the photographer, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur. With flexibility comes a price though. Camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into all of this.

Even though you pay $1.99 for a print at your local drugstore and paying for film is pretty much a thing of the past (although you still pay for memory) you may be wondering why you may pay upwards of $40, 50, 70, 90 for a custom photography print. Some photographers hear this statement every once in awhile:

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at the local drug store?”

The answer is multifaceted and has a lot to do with the time, aforementioned equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer, expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.

Approaching it from a time standpoint, for instance let’s imagine if you will that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love and that is travelling an hour to your on location session.

Time break down:

* session prep time (30 mins , includes equipment and back up equipment checks)
* travel time to and from session
* 15 minutes pre-event consultation with client
* 2 hours with client photographing subject
* 30 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
* 45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
* 20 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
* 1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
* 1 hour with client for ordering images
* 1 hour sorting through and checking order
* 30 minutes prep time for delivery
* any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

As you can see, average client time for a session is over 27 hours. This is time dedicated only to your session. When the photographer charges $150-$400 for the photo shoot you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 20-30 hours complete time for your session.


Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer. Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital SLR for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography. A good lens for portrait photography can run up $900 to $2500. A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer.
Then come lab costs for specialty products. A good photographer knows the lab is integral to their success. Photography labs dedicated to the professional photographer often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for you, the discerning client.

Discussion other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip the intricate details. There is of course much more: including costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.


Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $25 for an 8×10 or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains. The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service. According to several articles at the time, did you know that in February 2007 a rather well known discount department store that started in Arkansas closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation? The reason is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ “professional” prints if you do not sell enough of them. Interestingly enough – those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10).

The whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait studios in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments. Your “PORTRAITS” are considered the true “loss leader”.

Going to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at where your child is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for or the lovely captures of natural expressions. You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience. Keep this in mind when selecting a photographer.


Being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part. Their expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism. A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography. Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream? They often neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc..

Being of sound reputation, a better professional photographer knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch. To create good work good equipment, reliable equipment, back up equipment is a necessity. The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalelled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability. This is how reputations get built. Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.

I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories. The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment.

Article written by: Marianne Drenthe

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Two Models

Last night we photographed two wonderful models. Here are a few photographs.

Thank you Wayne!

Matthew in Chroma Green

For some of the photographs of Matthew we used Chroma Green (like the weatherman uses) so that we could swap out the background. I told Matthew that I was going to put him in a cookie jar -- so I did :-) and then some ;-)

Matthew was a great model, quite the young man!

Young Man

Meet Matthew, next time we photograph him we hope to see him in his hockey uniform, stick and all!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We have been selling more and more canvases, both traditional photographs and fine art versions of those photographs, such as watercolors.

What is a gallery wrapped canvas?
  • It is a high quality print on artist canvas.
  • The canvas is stretched over custom made wood supports.
  • It is available in any size.

What's so cool about gallery-wrapped canvases?

  • These images can stand out boldly without the distraction of a frame
  • They appear to "float" on your wall.
  • You do have the option of getting the canvas framed, but it is not necessary

Here are some examples of canvases that we have printed lately...some examples are hanging on our Studio walls.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby Shower -- Julia

We photographed Julia's baby shower on Sunday.

To see all of the photographs from Julia's shower please visit our website:

We will post photographs of Leilani Jade when she makes her appearance in a few weeks (due Jan 30th - Feb 15th).

The next three collages were generated from a free action from Jodi at MCP actions. What do you think? It does give me a way to post more images without the post going on and on.

Jackie baked some (well lots of) AWESOME cookies!
Jackie and Aaron are getting married in June!

We have a maternity photo session scheduled for Julia next week.
Remember that all maternity portrait sessions (bellies beyond your bustline) and all newborn (less than 3 weeks old, less than 10 days old is optimal) portrait sessions are complimentary!