Why are Digital Images Such an Investment: Burlington NC Photographer

So  little secret…are you ready?  One of the questions that gets me to roll my eyes the most is this…

Does your session fee include all the images on a disc?

There you go…it’s out of the bag, I’m being completely honest that this is just the hardest question that I have to answer day in and day out.  One of the things that I feel that is part of my role as a business owner is to help educate…not only my clients, but also the general public about things that go on in our industry and my business.  The issue of digital vs. print has been around for a long time ….I’ve been in business for 8 years and it’s been around longer than that and while I believe that we have to be current, there is a timeless aspect of prints and art.

I’m going to try to give you a bit of perspective about digital images.

1.  I do sell images:  If you are a photographer, I think that you need to consider offering them.  (unless you are strictly film) I think that it needs to be a part of what you offer.  It’s hard, very hard as an artist to hear that there are potential clients who want “just the digitals” but when you get down to the why they want it, you might feel differently and be able to share with them the value of prints and products.  I do offer digitals, but I value myself as a fine art photographer…meaning it’s so important to me, as an artist, to see my work shared on my clients walls.  Just like a painter wouldn’t want you to purchase a painting and then have you put it under a bed, I feel the same way about your images.  I see them the same.  I work hard to make them beautiful and to make them art and so long for them to be shared with your friends and family in your home.  It’s part of why I do what I do.  It’s the artist in me.  However, after talking with my clients, I realized that they want the flexibility of digital images too:  why?  here were some of their answers

  • want to be able to share online (which they do and I love)
  • want to be able to make small prints for extended family (again I love this) and I realize that it’s hard to purchase a $50 5×7 print for all your aunts and uncles to have a print of your new baby.
  • want the archive
  • we use them for photo gifts (ornaments, calendars etc) again I love this.

So when I looked at all of that, I realized that most of my clients want the images for small prints, not their “art’ and so we offer those very readily in all our print collection (the best of both worlds)

2.  The Investment:  Here’s where the education comes in.  I wear many hats…I am an artist, a photographer, and a BUSINESS owner.  Yes business.  I am in it for not only the love of what I do, but also to make a living.  In my case, I am the sole provider for my family.  While I am an artist, I do not want to be a starving artist.  I am a business owner and not just a hobbiest because I need to make a profit at what I do.  We are all at different places…but this is where I am.

Custom photography is an investment.  Just like going to disney world or buying a new car is.  It’s a choice and some choose to invest in photos because it’s important to them.  They realize that: You get what you pay for and there is a value to precious family moments.  Some don’t (which is totally okay…really okay)  But when you are purchasing from a photographer there is so much that goes into one image.  So please hear me and I know that this is shared in so many ways, but I hope that I can make it so simple and that some will have an AH-HA moment

When someone asks if all the images are included for the session fee…this is what you are asking.

  • correspondance (1 hour)
  • welcome box (1 hour plus $$)
  • preparation for session …gathering props, scouting locations, etc..(1 hour)
  • travel (up to an hour…for my beach sessions 4 hours each way)
  • session (2 hours)
  • post processing (3 hours)
  • ordering session (2 hours)
  • ordering (1 hour)
  • packaging (.30 plus $$)

in addition

  • equipment
  • software
  • props
  • taxes
  • part time employee
  • education

When you factor all of that…it’s about 12-15 hours of work in addition to all the extra $$ that I invest in a session.  If we were to just take the hours…the tangibles…and my session fee is $175, it means that I’m making about $11/hour.  But then when you take 30% of that for taxes, and what I spend in props and on my equipment etc…it really comes down to about $5/hour.

Again, I’m trying to make a living…so I can not do that on $5 and hour and that is why it’s almost insulting when someone asks “do you get all the images with that session fee”  But I get it, so many do offer it (I have no idea how they do it) but they do and so it muddy’s the water.  Everyone runs their business differently…I know for me, (I am speaking for Sara-Anne) that this is how I feel led to run a profitable business.  I didn’t just set up shop for some extra play cash.  I have a studio, with lots of overhead, I am established as one of North Carolina’s leading photographers, I travel the east coast for clients and I treat this as a sustainable business…one where I need to bring in a salary.

Back to why are digitals such an investment…first I don’t think they are that expensive..it’s just that you are purchasing them as a whole.   If you were to purchase 8×10 of 35 images it would be far less than the digitals….  So it’s really NOT that different….it’s not that expensive, it’s just that lumped together it seems it.  When you purchase the digital images, you are not purchasing the flash drive, you are purchasing my art…and all that it entails.

Yes, we do offer digital images, but there is a reason why it’s an investment and one that we think is invaluable.

Because it’s an investment, we feel that it needs to be packaged so…here are a few images of our custom flash drives…we love them, as they are personal and a keepsake in themselves.

wooden flash drive mpxiprocustom flash drive photographer

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Burlington, NC Newborn Photography, Chapel Hill Family photographer, Chapel Hill Senior Pictures, Greensboro Newborn Photogrpaher, Burlington Senior pictures, Holden Beach Photographer, Ocean Isle Beach Pictures, Mebane Newborn Photographer, Bald Head Island Photographer

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