Photography is a family investment both emotionally and financially. The families I photograph invest as much in me as I do in them and it's an honor to bring out the individual beauty of each family year after year. I capture the secret looks between parents while their kids play, the adoration in dad's eyes while he watches his wife laugh with their children, and the catch in mom's breath when her little girl kisses daddy's cheek just because. I look for the soul of each family and then frame it so that all the technical aspects of photography fade into the background and what's left is that inner beauty unique to each family. It's the families who really radiate in my images. Without them, my photography wouldn't have it's drumming heart beat and those are the clients that I'd do anything for. But the process of putting a price tag on that kind of interaction is painstaking.
How do you value the parts of yourself that go into a photo shoot? How do you put a price tag on the hours (and hours!) of editing images? How do you demand money for coaxing a genuine smile from an hesitant toddler?
But as a business, I have to develop a pricing structure. And while there are hundreds of inexperienced photographers who got a DSLR for Christmas and are ready to snap away for very little cost, photography is truly an arena where quality matters more than shelling out a little more money. Google "I hired a cheap photographer" and see where it lands you :) Maybe you can't afford to hire the photographer who shoots magazine covers -- who can!? -- but wherever your photography budget lands you, stretch it as much as possible to hire someone with the technical knowledge to create a good photograph and the artistic eye to tell a story. Whether it's for your Christmas card, living room wall, or magical wedding day, invest in a photographer who will invest in you. I can promise you you'll never regret it.
"Photographers are people, moving parts in the puzzle of your life and who you choose is just as important as how much you spend" -- Alea Lovely, Fine Art Photographer