Gratitude & Attitude

I’ll just get right to the punch today.  It was a harrowing weekend and I feel flustered and rushed and, well, kind of off center today. Therefore, the quicker I get to doing “stuff”, the more normal I will feel!!!

Today’s Attitude goes out to:

  1. All of those people out there who keep telling me that I’m charging too much for my services and that they can’t afford me.  Puhhhlease.  I charge $150/hour for my photography and that, my fine feathered friends, is not only perfectly reasonable for the area I live in, it’s also about $150 less than most of the other photographers around here charge.  I bet if some of you added up how much money you spend on, say, beer, in a month, $150 would seem like pennies compared to that bill.  Let me break something down for all of you naysayers and people who don’t want to invest in good photographs and, please, try to read this with an open mind.  Do any of you own your own business?  Well, if you do, I’m sure you can completely understand the time and money that goes into running one and, for those of you who don’t, let me give you an idea.  Many of you go to work everyday and bring home a paycheck at the end of two weeks.  I do a shoot approximately twice a week (when the weather is good).  If I spend two hours doing a shoot, I charge $300.  The shoot is the easy part.  After that, I sit down at the computer to edit the photos.  First I download them onto both computers and a back up drive and then go through all of them and flag my favorites (this usually takes me about an hour).  Then, I isolate my favorites and crop them, size them and do touch ups (remove blemishes, dodge, burn, highlight, etc) – this takes me anywhere from two to three hours, depending on the amount of pictures). At this point, I’m making about $50/hour before taxes.  Then, when all that is done, I go through all of my favorites and decide how I would like to enhance them.  Do I want to make them black and whites?  Do I want to cross process them?  Do I want to color pop them with a black and white and color technique?  Do I want to put a frame around them?  Do I want to combine a few pictures into one large picture with different scenes? Etc.  This always takes me three hours because I like to try several different looks on those favorite pictures until I get exactly what I’m picturing in my mind.  So, at this point, I’m up to 9 hours at approximately $33/hour before taxes. I don’t mind this at all. I thrive on creativity and I look forward to the editing process and the creative freedom that comes with it.  After I’ve finished editing, I make two DVD discs, one for the client and one for back up storage before either packaging it up and sending it on its merry way or delivering it or calling the client to let them know it’s ready (this takes about 1/2 hour).  Then, I go through the painstaking process of adding my favorite pics to my website (this takes at least 1/2 hour, if not more) and, after all that, I spend an hour blogging about the experience to boost my marketing.  This puts me at 11 hours of work at approximately $27/hour before taxes, for a simple two hour photo shoot.  Knock about 20% off of that for taxes and another 5% for GST and I’m making around $20/hour when all is said and done.  Does that seems too expensive to you now?  And please, don’t forget that I do two shoots per week and make around $440 that goes into my business.  How much do you make each week?  Is it around the same amount?  Do you still think I’m robbing the public blind?  Let’s face it, I could be like so many other photographers out there who think they are the greatest thing since slice bread and charge an astronomical amount of money for my services and only cater to the higher end income earners.  But I don’t.  It was never my goal to get stinky rich with this business.  It was my goal to produce an excellent product that anyone can afford, no matter what income class you belong to, and to enjoy myself and learn and grow as I did it.  If, after reading about all of the work that goes into my photography and my business, you still feel I charge too much, by all means find yourself someone cheaper or take your own pictures, I don’t care. Just please stop telling other people that I’m too expensive and not affordable.  I am a good business person.  I always go the extra mile for every single one of my clients.  I work hard to constantly learn new techniques and improve upon my existing skill set and, above all, I send work to a lot of my fellow photographers and help out in my community whenever possible.  It breaks my heart a little each time I hear someone say, “Oh, such and such said you are too expensive” or “I love your photos, but I just can’t afford you.”  What would you like me to do, work for free????  Would you work for free?

Today’s Gratitude goes out to:

  1. Gregory John LeFlufy because when I vented to him last night about all the flack I seem to be getting for my prices, he looked at me, kissed my forehead and said, “Boo, I don’t care what other people say. Your work is worth every damn penny.”  That man can be such a saint sometimes.
  2. Auntie Terri because she can always make me laugh when I talk to her, even if we’re talking about serious stuff.  Love you lady.
  3. My brother Mike because he’s always so many things to me – a brother, a mentor, a comedian, a marketing consultant, a compassionate listener, and a champion father to his children.  He also always has a way of making me feel more sure of myself and believing in myself again – even if he doesn’t do it intentionally.

And here’s another shot of Juno and his teddy dogs…he never sleeps without them.  It’s a bit ridiculous actually, but we love him for it anyway!


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