One of the most common questions I get is "Do you give discounts for friends?"
I used to struggle with this a lot. For some reason I felt obligated to discount my services for my friends. Some would even request "free" photos. But here's the problem... those photos are NOT free... not for me at least.
I completely understand that professional photos can be an investment, but here are some things that factor into my pricing...
Camera equipment is expensive, ya'll. E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E. It's not just a camera and a lens. There are many different lenses a professional needs (and knows when to use each one). There are backdrops, lighting, computers, software, etc. None of this is cheap.
We take classes. We attend workshops. We hire mentors and work with accountants and other business professionals. This is not a "grip it and rip it" type of profession like a lot of people think. No, my "degree" is not in photography, but I have spent countless hours educating myself.
Let's be really clear here... there is a LOT more time that goes into your photo session than the precious minutes I spend with you and your family. There is prep time. There is actual shooting time. But most significantly there are MANY hours of editing time and post-production that you never see. N-E-V-E-R. I promise you that when all is said and done, I am not making $200 per hour. I swear. Just ask my husband.
And most importantly... time away from my family
This is hard to put a dollar amount on, I won't lie. Except when I have to hire a babysitter for MY kids so I can be with you and YOUR kids. But that's the cost of doing business, right? Abso-freakin-lutely. But what is harder to account for is the time away from my husband and kids. I try really hard not to shoot on Saturdays. And yes, I have clients who get frustrated. But you know what, first and foremost, I am mommy. And I want to be a good one. So I avoid Saturday shoots if I possibly can because that is my family day. I have missed out on stuff because I've had a session scheduled for months and I don't want to let my client down and reschedule it. It can be tough. There are times I'd rather be playing with my boys but I'm on the computer editing because, darn it, my clients need their photos so they can order Christmas cards. I get it. It's a constant balancing act.
Here's the reality... I charge even my best friends. MY. BEST. FRIENDS. Because if they owned a business I would expect them to charge me full price. This is a business, not a hobby. If it were a hobby I would be doing it for fun and not charging ANYBODY. I won't lie - I sometimes do throw in extra images or order a few prints for my besties. And I definitely order gifts now and then for my most loyal clients. But those are gifts from me and definitely not expected.
Bottom line... there's a lot that goes into the production of your family photos. I love what I do and I'm proud of my work. And most of all I'm so honored that you would choose me to capture your family's memories. Thank you!!