Tuesday, May 17, 2011

¦North Carolina Photographer¦ Behind the Scenes

Every time I finish up a session, I let the parents know that it will take around 2 weeks for me to edit their images and post their online gallery. They always nod and say "ok", but I can see the excitement in their eyes, their impatience to view the beautiful new portraits of their baby, children, selves, family, etc.

Why the wait? Commercial portrait studios can take your photos, show them to you, and hand the chosen prints over, all within about an hour. There's a huge difference in the level of service and expertise that needs to be taken into consideration.

Professional portrait photographers are artists. When I shoot a newborn session, for instance, I spend an average of 2-3 hours shooting. I take all the time that's needed to soothe, feed, change and pose the baby. Once I get to the computer, I spend from 5-7 hours choosing the best photos, and editing each individual image by hand. Then there is the process of optimizing the portraits for best web viewing, uploading them, and creating a personal, password-protected gallery.

Add to that the initial emails and consultations, ongoing emails and phone calls leading up to the session, and answering questions about my services and helping with ordering, and you end up with an average of 10-15 hours of labor going into the session. Besides the time and labor involvement, there is also time spent on marketing my business, updating my website and portfolio, blogging sessions, answering emails from prospective clients, driving to and from sessions, packing and unpacking for each session, updating my Facebook page, consulting with clients on wardrobe and wall display ideas, creating cards and storyboards, placing print orders, and much more.

This gives a basic idea of what goes into running a photography business. It's a labor of love, and one that I put 150% into. I want the experience to be fun, relaxing, and rewarding for every client; I want them to come back to me again and again through the years to document their changing and growing families. I want them to feel special, important, and like they are a priority -- because they are!

Here are a couple of great links to check out if you're considering professional photography.

The first, from NAPCP or the National Association of Professional Child Photographers:

This one is from professionalchildphotographer.com:

And this one, by Deb Schwedhelm, makes a great point about why the best time to get photographs made is NOW... not when the kids are bigger (ie, listen better) or when someone drops a few pounds:

This one really struck a chord with me, from Spanki Mills (coolest name ever)... making photography a priority:

Finally, here are some samples of before and after images that show how I put individual attention into each and every image to make it look its absolute best. Enjoy!

And if you're looking for a professional photographer in NC, please get in touch with me at maggie@blissphotograph.com. :)