Category: Musings

What’s the deal with Session Fees?

January 24, 2010

Session fees are often a sore point with clients. The majority of professional photographers charge some sort of session fees. These fees might range anywhere from $20 to $300 or more.

As a Beaufort Photographer, many of our customers are military. Since the military machine is not known for its financial largess, we keep our session fees at a reasonable $50. In fact, we even do away with session fees if you purchase a  portrait package.

Clients might question the reason for charging those fees. Shouldn’t this be included in the price of the photographs you get? Let’s take a look at the time involved in doing a photography session.

  • Initial consultation (30 minutes)
  • Travel time to and from location (30 – 60+ minutes)
  • Time for the session (60+ minutes)
  • Backup & Import Images (15 minutes)
  • Initial image processing & sorting (30 minutes)
  • Prepare photo gallery (30 minutes)
  • Travel to/from customer home for showing (30 – 60 minutes)
  • Photo selection session (45 minutes)

Thus far, we have invested anywhere from 5 5to 7 hours of our time, without any guarantee the customer will purchase anything.  At best, this works out to $10/hour.  Not so extravagant.

Save the Naked Prints!

January 22, 2010

Low Country photography is being assaulted by a terrible blight.  As a Beaufort Photographer, I find myself at the vanguard of the fight against this affliction. It’s the Naked Print. It goes by many names: gift prints, photo package, picture sheet. Regardless of the name, they are those photos that come in an envelope.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against the photographs themselves. I am certain they are quite lovely. What I’m railing against is our propensity to procrastinate displaying those photographs for others to enjoy! Human nature is what gets me!

I would venture to say the majority of naked prints stay in the envelope. It’s not the print’s fault. In this day and age, who has the time to go out and look for a frame? And woe be to you if you have a “sheet” – you actually have to cut the photographs?! We just don’t do it.  As a result, we have lonely languishing naked prints. Forgotten in a curio box.

You might think I’m on a quixotic quest to change the plight of naked prints worldwide. Unlike Don Q., I’m not going to flail at the windmill of human nature. But as a Beaufort Photographer, I will do my part to fight it locally.

This is why at Southern Photographic Images, every prints we offer, regardless of size, comes with a complimentary frame. From the smallest of 4×5 to the largest of 40×30, they come ready to display.

Our standard frame is a wall mount black or silver frame; nothing fancy (we can do fancy if you want). If ordering a small gift print, you can ask us for a desk frame instead and we will find you something suitable. The key is that when you receive the print, it is ready to display.

Imagine if all your photographs came ready to show the world! No more excuses not to proudly display your family memories!

We’re doing our part, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help! I implore you, rescue your naked prints today.

Save the Naked Prints! · January 22, 2010 · 3:36 am · Musings · Add Comment

eStork – helping deployed military connect with their newborn

January 4, 2010

Being a Beaufort-based Photographer, I am extremely proud of the Marine Corp. They have become an ever present part of our life. Be it the noise of F18 doing carrier landing exercises or noticing the plethora of high and tights, the military presence adds to Beaufort’s unique charm.

As a Photographer, I love a Marine’s dress uniform. There is a richness and a vibrancy to its colors. It could very well be that I have been influenced by the Corp’s fantastic commercials – I tip my hat to the JWT advertising agency. You have to admit, no other branches has commercial sport with as much mystique.

For all the sexiness of the commercials, the military life is a difficult one. It is replete with sacrifices and hardship. Not only the physical danger, but also the strain on relationships and family caused by deployments.

I have looked for a good way to show appreciation to our military and their family for all the sacrifices they make. While we offer a military discount, I wanted to do something more. I am thrilled to announce that our studio has joined the eStork program.

eStork was created to help with a heartbreaking situation: A deployed serviceman unable to be at their child’s birth.

The goal of the program is simple: provide nice portraits of newborns that can be emailed to the deployed spouse.

Participating photographers offer a free newborn session and provide a no cost CD with images suitable for emailing.

To participate, simply contact a participating photographer and schedule a session.  In the Beaufort area, you can contact us at 263-9706 (or via our contact form). For other areas, the eStork web site has a list of photographers.

This is a small way to give back to the military community.

What to do with shoe box photographs?

November 18, 2009

Most of us have a “shoe box” full of photographs. Images we have collected over time, depicting our journey through life. Sometimes, we even have photographs from our parents and grand-parents in there.

Those photos deserve a better place than a shoe box! The problem is that most of us don’t know what to do with 100 or more photographs.

One time honored tradition is to put the photographs in an album. This is an excellent alternative to the shoe box and highly encouraged! Unfortunately, we never seem to have enough time to put one of those album together.

Another alternative is to let a professional take care of it. This opens up many possibilities, especially if the images are scanned and digitized. With digital images you can:

  • email them to friends and family and post them on-line.
  • create a custom album with your images.
  • create multi-photo large prints.
  • restore damaged photographs.

In the end, you get something that you can proudly display.

Why do we take virtual photographs?

November 17, 2009

When you ask parents why they take photos, you get answers like “To record our child’s growth”, “to have memories”. With the advent of digital cameras, we take more pictures than ever before. Unfortunately, most of them sit on a computer, rarely seen or enjoyed. We have virtual photographs.

In all fairness, to go form the image on the computer to a finished photograph ready to display is quite an inconvenient process:

  • Have the image printed – upload it or drive to the store to have it done
  • Wait around for the image to print – or drive to the store to pick it up
  • Find a home for the print:
    • Look for a suitable frame, purchase it, put the print in the frame
    • Look for an album, purchase it and populate it with prints.

With today’s busy lifestyle, who has the time to do all that?

When dealing with a full service photographer, many of these inconveniences disappear:

  • The photographer goes to your home to discuss your session and could even take the photographs there
  • The photographer shows you a selection of images and you discuss together what you would like to have: framed photos or an album designed. The photographer can provide guidance, show you images of different sizes, help with frame selection, etc…
  • When the final product is ready, it is delivered to you.

The end result are photographs that physically exist and are displayed for all to see. Not just a pile of bits on a computer disk.

Why should family portraits be inconvenient?

November 16, 2009

Talk to people about having family portraits taken, especially if they have young children, and you get variations on the following scenario:

  • Get everyone cleaned up, dressed up and prettied up
  • Pile everyone in the car and drive to the studio
  • Wait while the family in front of you finishes up
  • Get the photographs taken, which magically causes the kids to fuss at each other or burst into tears
  • You have to rush through the session, since there is another family waiting…
  • Gotta make a decision about which package to get right now; while the kids are crying
  • A week later, you have to drive to the studio and pick up the prints – or they mail them and they get crammed in a mail box or get wet in a thunderstorm…
  • Now you get to cut the photographs, since they all came in sheets.
  • You have to shop for a frame (or two or three) or an album to put the small prints in

You might even have experienced this yourself. It’s a wonder family photos ever get taken! Now, let’s imagine the following scenario:

  • Photographer comes to your home to discuss what you want to accomplish and discuss some options.
  • Photographer meets you at your home, the beach, the kids’ favorite park – wherever you want – to take the photographs
    • Why just do a family photo? While we’re here, why not take photos of Mom & Dad, the kids playing and laughing. For the fun of it, let’s change outfits too!
  • Photographer meets you at your home and presents the images. You can have a leisurely conversation about frames or albums and how to present the photographs and what would look good with your decor.
  • Final product is hand-delivered to your home in person.

Doesn’t this sound like a much better alternative? In fact, you might not have to leave your living room at all!

This is what we like to offer our customers. Why should your family portrait be inconvenient?

You need family photos NOW!

September 18, 2009

It does not matter if you are single, newly wed or retired; parents or grand-parents. You need photographs of your loved ones now!

Use a disposable camera, a point & shoot or even a polaroid (does it even still exist?). It doesn’t matter. Just get photos!

Photographs are the only visible reminder most of us have of our loved ones once they are gone. No matter how many photos of them you have, you will want more. Most folks have a fair number of kid pictures but when the children become teenagers, fewer and fewer pictures get taken. As people move into adulthood, picture taking slowly trickles to a stop.

When I lost my father, I had a few black & white photos of him as a young man and a newly wed. There is also a few young couple snapshots from the family album, but only a very few of him as a middle-aged man. Only a single snapshot of the entire family exists. I wish there was more.

I recently lost another family member. There are simply not enough photos of them.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Take pictures now. Who cares if they are candid shots! When you remember your loved ones, it won’t matter.

You need family photos NOW! · September 18, 2009 · 5:16 am · Musings · Add Comment

Don’t let your naked prints languish!

September 16, 2009

Most people are sadly afflicted with naked printitis. It’s the habit of getting photographs and sticking them in a shoe box. It doesn’t matter if the photos are family snapshots, school pictures or professional portraits. You get some 4×6, 5×7, maybe a 8×10 and they stay naked in the envelope.

Some photographs do make it to the “family album” but more often than not, the album sits on a shelf somewhere, forgotten. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you took your photo album out?

A few lucky prints make it to a picture frame. THAT is how it should be! A good photo is something that should be enjoyed all the time! It has to be out in the world!

While small frames are great to place on shelves and desks, their impact is very localized. How about kicking it up a notch? Most homes have lots and lots of blank walls. Why not put those blank canvases to good use and hang photographs on the wall. Good photos not only connect us to our past, but they are also a piece of artwork.

Even if you only have small photographs, consider using mats. You can even find collage mats which have openings for multiple images in a single frame. This provides a great way to display small prints.

We try hard not to let our prints leave the studio naked.