Thursday, April 7, 2011

Behind the Price in Photography

A lot of people wonder why photography is so expensive, compared to what they’ve been doing with their own camera.

First off, I am a professional, and I shoot with professional level gear. I have over R300 000 invested in gear. This ensures that I can capture almost any image that you and I working together can conceive.

I have backup equipment. If a camera breaks during a shoot, I have a second camera to capture those moments that will not be repeated, or that cannot be repeated. I have multiple lenses – wide ones to capture the environment, big zooms to get close to the action when it’s far away. I have a variety of lighting equipment that lets me “help” the natural environment. I have backdrops and light stands and tripods and all different kinds of photographic tools that I might not use during your event – but if the situation comes up where I need it, I have it.

Before I even get to the job, there are a number of things I need to do – prepare batteries, memory cards, pack my gear, check and double check my preparation lists, make sure the directions are ready, and so forth.

Arriving at the job, my goal is to use the place to make the best possible photos for you. Are there power lines overhead? Is there an ugly garbage truck in the background? What’s the weather? Where is the light coming from? How dark is it inside the building? All of these things are things that I cannot control – but that I must account for, and work with.

Throughout the day, I am constantly visualizing the end result. “Here’s a great picture that will establish the mood in the album.” “Here’s a picture that shows some of the little details that are important to remember.”

When the day is over, and everybody goes home, my work is just beginning.

I need to back up all the photos, to make sure that they are not lost.

I go through and look at every single photo – checking for color, facial expressions, lighting, background, distractions, etc.

I correct every single photo, to make sure that EVERY photo is as good as possible. This could take 15 seconds. This could take several minutes on a single photo. On average, for each hour of shooting, I spend anywhere from 2-4 hours in post-processing the photos.

Then your photos are uploaded to an online gallery, for you to view.

If you order your prints from me, then I go back and retouch the photo. This includes removing stray hairs, fixing facial blemishes, making sure the eyes look clean, clear, and bright, making sure the skin is properly toned, etc. This is much more time intensive than the simple adjustments done, above. I use a professional lab with calibrated equipment – so that the pictures I see on my screen are exactly what you will see on your prints.

If you’ve ordered an album, then the album is designed, proofed, ordered, and then delivered.

If you order canvas prints, they need to be proofed, ordered, and delivered.

If the package includes the data disk, this needs to be made, and mailed to you.

A one-day wedding shoot can easily turn into a full week of work. A two-hour portrait or senior session is a full day’s worth of work.

All this is done to ensure that you have the best possible record of you!

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