I came across a post this morning with a very renowned portrait photographer advertising Holiday Minis for $200. Included in this is 1 image. A few people started posting remarks about how ridiculously expensive that was and how they knew photographers that would give you an entire session for $50 with all the digitals, which then snowballed into a lengthy back and forth between followers.
This ignites a flame with me and I decided to take to my blog to vent a little and also explain a few things.
I am a Fine Art Portrait Photographer. I do not just give my clients all their digitals. I am an artist. I deliver fine art portraits intended for print. Custom art for you and your family to cherish for years to come. Unfortunately the portrait photography market is ridiculously oversaturated. All you need is $500 to pick up an entry level DSLR and an internet connection to create a business Facebook page and boom- you're now a "photographer". Don't get me wrong, everyone has to start somewhere but I guess what I am trying to explain is the difference between someone with a digital camera and an artist who uses a digital camera as the base for creative fine art portraits.
If you guys even knew how much time I spend on each and every session you may be very surprised... My work is just getting started when the actual session has ended, although to me it's not work. I could snap, compose and create all day long. Even with my mini sessions, in the end I've invested 6 hours+ on each session. It starts with hand selecting the best images and narrowing it down. It's my job to show you only the best. A gallery of 50 images to choose from is much too overwhelming. Most of my sessions yield between 10-30 final images. Each image is individually retouched and creatively edited to compose a custom piece of art for you. Sometimes it's black and white, sometimes color. Sometimes it's muted tones and moody, sometimes it's bright and airy. I pull each image individually into photoshop to decide the mood, style, and how I want the finished product to look and feel. I am an artist. I am not "just a photographer". When you hire me you are paying for much more than someone with a fancy camera or the knowledge behind Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. I am an artist. I create Fine Art portraits for my clients. Every last detail is taken into account. Sometimes I'll go back and forth on styles and finishes for an hour on before I get it "just right". I can't give away all my secrets but Photoshop has opened up my world and the possibilities are endless. I am an artist. It's not always how you see it. Sometimes I know right away how I will finish up an image and sometimes I have to let the creative juices flow a bit. Sometimes I'll find a quick moment captured that literally jumps out at me. A fleeting moment in time where siblings looked at each other just the right way and laughed, a kiss, a hug, a look, a feeling... Those shots always stop me dead in my tracks when culling through hundreds of images. The ones that get me... you can FEEL them. A lot of times I am drawn to black and white with the emotional images but guess what?? There are endless possibilities with black and white's too. I do not use a one-size-fits-all button to make your image black and white and send it along. This image gets pulled into photoshop and I will play with layers and hand edits to get the blacks, whites, highlights, shadows and midtones just right. A black and white image is just as much creating as a color image. I am an artist.
So with all that said, yes, 100 times yes, it is very common and very reasonable for an artist to charge a few hundred dollars to create you ONE amazing and gorgeous Fine Art Family portrait. I am not for everyone. Custom Photography is not for everyone. My style simply may not be aligned with yours but please remember, if you do hire me, my final images are intended for print which is how my packages are designed. They are put together to encourage a balance with your want for digital images and my intent for you to print and display them.
I would like to also take a quick moment to thank all of my amazing clients who also see the value in beauty of custom fine art portraiture. Without you all, Jennifer Prisco Photography would not be. ~Jennifer XO