Andrew May Photography »

Why Am I Paying So Much?

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Have you ever wondered why portrait and lifestyle photographers, wedding photographers, and the products associated with these professionals costs so much money?  I used to wonder the same exact thing.  Have you thought to yourself, “I can just go get the photos done at Sears for much cheaper,” or “I have a friend who just got one of those fancy DSLR cameras with the big lenses, I’ll just have them do my photos for free.”  Allow me to use the age old saying…You get what you pay for.

With a professional onsite photographer you are not just paying for them to come take a few photos of your family.  You are paying them for all of their knowledge about their camera and other associated gear (lenses, flash equipment, modifiers), their understanding of lighting, and especially their expertise in POST PROCESSING software such as Lightroom and Photoshop.  Photoshop/Lightroom is software that is used to enhance and tweak photos to suit a desired look a photographer wants.  POST PROCESSING is of great importance and something that many people do not realize is where the bulk of the work comes into play.  Many people see a photographer take 100 plus photos during the 1 hour session and they get back a disc of 30 images and wonder, “why am I paying so much?”  The short answer is that there is a lot of work that goes well beyond just the 1 hour session, and many of the 100 plus photos just don’t turn out for numerous reasons (unflattering look, blinking, bad angle, or simply uninteresting).

Photoshop will not make a bad photo into a good one, but it can make a good photo look excellent. Photographers have to be excellent at getting things right in the camera (focus, exposure, composition), but post processing is where photographers can create art and make memories for families that they will cherish for a lifetime.  I wanted to take the opportunity to pull back the curtain a bit.  The above photos show a photo straight out of the camera, and what the photo looked like after I gave it some post processing love.  The photo itself looks good (nice posing, good expression), but the edited version looks professional.  Skin softening, spot removal, background replacement, and cloning all had to be utilized to get the photo looking the way it does in the final version.  And this is just scratching the surface.  Sometimes one photo can take up to 30 minutes to edit.   A majority of the photos don’t take that long, but all photos require some level of post processing.

Finally, you are also paying for that personal touch that you just can’t get in Sears and that your friend with the new DSLR just can’t capture.  It isn’t the camera or the low pricing that makes great photos.  What makes great photos is having someone who knows how to capture moments with a camera.  Anyone can be given the tools of a carpenter, it doesn’t mean that you know anything about carpentry, but put the tools in the hands of an artist and something truly magical will be created.  And that is something that is invaluable.





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