Quality versus Quantity – Affordable Photographers

So the other day, I spent some time reading content on websites from other photographers who also do beach portrait photography. I always like to stay on top of what is trending. One repeating trend that I found a bit bothersome was the promise of providing you over 200 images or more from your family portrait session. All packaged nicely on a disk, for you to weed through and sort out the best ones. Probably labeled with a sharpie too. hehe 🙂

So why does this bother me? Well first off the photography industry is a tough market place today, with so much mis-information out there. So many of the photographers I know and myself, work really hard to educate our audience, because we want you have pictures that really make you happy. Not ones that will just get stored in your top dresser drawer, staying on a disk, forever … While something like promising you over 200 images sounds really great, it’s actually a huge dis-service. Now stop for a second a really think about that statement …

If I were to tell a customer that I was going to give them a disk packed with over 200 images from their portrait session, what would I actually be communicating to them? I would be communicating that we do not have the experience, the professionalism, nor the eye to actually choose the most powerful images from your session. Also, theres no way any “professional” photographer has the amount of time required to do quality photoshop work and creative artistic enhancements to over 200 images. It’s just not humanly possible or sane for that matter. Theres a huge difference between basic adjustments and edits such as cropping, straightening, and minor color corrections versus real quality retouching and photoshop work. So basically, if I were to make that statement, I would be essentially giving you a pile of so-so images that have been run through a program for quickie adjustments, and be saying “here, have at it, and have fun weeding through my mess.” Many photographers are mis-representing to the public the difference between basic editing and creative photoshop and retouching work.

I guess I value my customers and my work too much to mis-lead people. I know my customers are hard working people, just like me. People that sometimes really stretched that dollar just a little bit further, to budget for quality photography. Believe it or not, quality does not always have to cost that much more. There are photographers who still care about the quality you get, in fact you are reading such a photographers blog right now. Theres nothing worse than getting bamboozled after the fact, and then having to live with it. Thats the really sad part, most people do not realize they are getting bamboozled until it is too late. Whats worse is paying for work that you end up hating, only to realize that if you had spent just a little more time researching, then you would have had nothing to regret. Trust me, I hear horror stories all the time. People always tell me their past experiences with photographers. Just the other day, while photographing a couple out at Sand Key who were vacationing here, they told me “We didn’t budget correctly and hired an inexperienced photographer for our wedding, and I wish we would have researched and spent a little bit more. But we will never make that mistake again with our family portraits.” That really happened, true story.

At ClearwaterBeachPortraits.com our affordable portrait sessions range from $199.95 to $599.95, our average family spends about $367.00 total. We sat down and figured it out one day. Compare that to other photographers, who have so-so images displayed on their websites, with no retouching work, nadda, and are over promising you “more than 200 images” which you get the pleasure of discarding and never looking at most of them again, all for the low low price average of $149.95 to $299.95. Really? $149.95 sounds great, until you realize you just threw $149.95 out the window. This is your family we are talking about. How can real quality family portraits ever cost less than what most people spend on their iPhones, which are replaced every year? I think your family portraits are going to be something valuable and certainly not disposable. We don’t show up and go click click click click click click click, pray for some keepers, and hand you a disk jam packed full of baloney. We give you images that you can take pride in. We are still affordable, we just charge enough to actually make a respectable living. Sure we are not rich, we love what we do, and we just want to be able to continue to do that, while still being able to put food on the table. There is no way that anyone charging $149.95 for an all-inclusive portrait session, who is also giving you all the images, is running a business based on quality or one that can actually sustain itself. Photographers who operate this way, generally do not survive in this industry for more than 2 years on average. It is just not possible. There aren’t enough days in the year to do enough portrait sessions on the beach, the right way, to make that possible. See, we only shoot at around sunset, because thats when the magic happens, it just doesn’t look good any other way. We also take into account poor weather and leave open back-up days because we know most of our clients are from out of town, visiting on vacation.

I learned my values and ethics from my Father. My Father taught me many valuable lessons in life. One of those lessons was, that something isn’t worth doing, unless you are going to give it 110% and do it the right way. He owned a successful small business for nearly his entire life, and still does. Myself? Been going 10 years strong in this industry, and no signs of slowing down, or doing things any other way.

We include the high-resolution images, regardless of what package option you choose. We have a philosophy of always giving more than we get. From most of our sessions, we deliver a final product of around 50-60 really solid, beautiful, fully retouched images, with the creative artistic enhancements already done to them. No image leaves our computers, unless it is an image that we are proud of, and we would want shown as representative of our work. We take pride in what we do, and most importantly we value you. Quality over quantity is why we are the best on Clearwater Beach.

We would like to hear from you on your thoughts and experiences on this article. So feel free to comment.

Photographed from todays session on Sand Key.

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