When I started my business there were mainly 2 choices in photographers...you went to sears (hey, I worked there!) or you paid between $500-2000 for a professional private photographer. My, how the times have changed!
I started Pink Toenails photography to give people the option of getting their digital images at a fraction of the cost, but yet take the time and get personalized images. I had no idea just how much camera equipment would cost, how much props were, and the biggest...how much time it would consume out of my life. A lot of people say, "shoot and burn photographers will burn themselves out". The reality of this is somewhat true, but with me it is more a reality check ...I am missing out on important moments in my own children's lives!
You may notice I am booked pretty far out...the reason is I would like to spend time with my very own children.
With the facebook for sale sites, or facebook in general, it makes it easy for people to ask for the cheapest photographer. Sometimes "cheap" also comes with a price of inexperience and poor quality. After being in business for 3 years, having 3 children, taking workshops, and studying/reading about 20 hours a week...I finally made the jump to pick my specialty in birth, maternity, and newborns. I will continue to photograph through baby first year and into those wonderful toddler stages, that some fear, but I LOVE! I will also have mini sessions to accommodate families a couple times a year as well as children of school ages.
I will end this post with a little Q & A from emails I get on a regular basis:
1. What kind of camera do I use? I use a canon 5d mark iii. I primarily use a 50mm lens.
2. What kind of "equipment" do I use when photographing a birth and how long do I stay? I use my canon 5d mark iii camera. This camera is made for low light situations...which you need if photographing a birth. My average birth consists of 8 hours at the hospital and days on call before the birth.
3. What tips do I have for new photographers? Don't sell yourself short and value your time. If someone would have explained to me the importance of pricing your value, instead of bullying me to quit, I would have loved it... so here is my suggestion: Know your camera. Know your settings. Offer portfolio building discounts compared to free sessions. While free sessions are amazing for your client, you may become the "cheap" photographer. It takes more time to get rid of that title compared to charging a small fee for portfolio building.
4. How do I come up with pricing? I try to stay competitive with other local photographers, but as my skill level increases...as well as the value of my equipment...my price will increase. Some things I factor into pricing: the use of my camera, the use of my skill (to better myself I have taken workshops and studied), how many hours a session takes (set up, time behind the camera, clean up, and editing), and cost of props.
Again, these are a few of the questions I get asked often. If you are a local photographer and have many questions, I offer one-on-one mentoring. I hope I have shed a little light to help you on your photography journey.
Traci (Pink Toenails Photography)
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