Going into your child’s senior year is an exhilarating time, lots of planning, lots of important decisions, events and lots of NUMBERS. I want to help you break down one set of numbers, for your child’s senior pictures.
So on basically ever photographer’s website, you will see the “Investment” or “Pricing” tab, followed by all sorts of photographer terms and prices. Let’s dig in and help you understand what you’re reading…
- Session Fee: a totally standard retainer to secure your date or space with that photographer. Some photographers include digital images with this, which often make this number higher and more of an “all-inclusive” or one-stop shop fee. Other photographers this is more of a retainer for their session and prints are sold separately. Some session fees include a styling fee (for hair & makeup artist) and some photographers give you a suggested artist list and have you select, book and pay for your styling separately. For my sessions, I set the session fee up as a retainer to reserve your appointment on my calendar. I ALSO INCLUDE hair & makeup styling in this price, as well as a complimentary spring “Cap & Casual” session where we shoot in college tees & cap and gowns
- Minimum Order Requirement: This is a fee many professional photographers charge to help ensure income from their sessions. Many photographers take a certain number of sessions per month, this can be for many reasons from work-life balance to factoring in the number of hours spent with each client and making sure they do not become spread too thin to best serve each client. Photographers who run legitimate businesses have insurance fees, ongoing education, equipment maintenance, taxes, and other various overhead to factor into how much they need to make from each of those allotted sessions per month, to meet their overhead and still be able to pay themselves. I for example just 6-8 clients per month, each client receives roughly 50 hours of individual service from me, from email correspondence, consultations, appointments, photoshoot time, photo retouching, product design and such. These factors as well as the expansive studio and relaxing client area I provide, and the Studio Closet available to all my clients has lead me to the $500 minimum order that is required from each senior I shoot.
- Prints, Products, Collections: Depending on whether you select a photographer who has an “all-inclusive” fee that I mentioned earlier or a session fee photographer’s offer a variety of prints, albums, digital options, and products after your session. Often photographers who charge one flat fee, give you a download of your images and you can have them printed on your own. Those who charge the retainer often either online or in person provide you with an assortment of collections and a la carte products to chose from. Collections are often a bundle of products with a discount for purchasing together. Some photographers make their collections very strict and specific with certain specific products contained in each collection. I offer collections and products during an in-person appointment where we reveal your images, view samples of all the product options, select what you want & need and design them live together. I offer collections to my clients, with “product credits” built into them rather than strict product placements to allow my clients to have freedom inside a collection to purchase what they want.
These were the three main areas you’ll see photographers breaking down pricing for their sessions. I hope this post gives you the tools to really read through the options, know what is and isn’t included and help you in choosing your senior photograper. I also encourage you to look at several factors BEFORE price…
- Portfolio: this is a big one, rolled into one bullet point but are that photographers images consistent in quality, lighting, color, skin tones etc? Do you like the style of posing and general feel to the images (are they bright and happy, darker and moody, more mature, more youthful, natural, glamorous etc)?
- Perks: What perks or unique experiences does that photograper offer? Make up artist, closet, locations, props, studio images etc.
- Attention: How fast does the photographer respond to comments and emails? How much education to they give you to help you prepare for your shoot. Do they send welcome packets, instructional emails, hold consults? If all things are the same, don’t you want someone who will hold your hand and make sure you make the absolute most out of a once in a lifetime experience?
Now I obviously have to not so shamelessly plug myself here, this is my blog after all. I am booking for Class of 2020, and would love to be your child’s senior portrait photographer.