Hudson Valley New York Portrait Photographer: Custom Photography

I recently had a wonderful and humbling conversation with a client inquiring on my services. During our conversation this person commented on how creative my work was compared to the many photographers in the region she’d browsed. She said it was refreshing not to see the same look/poses from me that she was seeing in so many others. When she asked me what made me different, I was stumped! LOL! I don’t know why, I just was. After we exchanged giggles, I told her I had to get back to her with an answer.

I’ve since found my answer and emailed her my response which she seemed very satisfied with since she booked me to cover her very special event coming up in the fall. Anyways, I wanted to share the response I gave to her. I actually lifted info I found on the Professional Child Photographer’s website because they explained it much better than I ever could have done. I included this in my FAQ section for those posing the same question:

…So what makes me different? Sheesh! I’m still a bit stumped, lol! I guess I consider myself a custom photographer. My skills are mixed with an organic approach to creative picture taking. I seek out emotions, wait for the right moment or expression and really try to get to know my client so I can put a personal story together for them. As far as your other questions the Professional Child Photographer website does a much better job in explaining it so here is a blurb I’ll use from them:

Custom photography is more of a luxury than your entry level cookie cutter chain experience. Custom photography truly is not for everyone, it requires a level of commitment, investment in time and money, forethought and planning on the part of the subject/client and requires a larger time commitment for the photographer as well. Clients who enjoy taking a more active role in the creation of their families’ memories have the desire to have portrait art that is truly personalized…

Why does it cost more?
Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time, equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer not to mention expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business. The cost of TIME: Approaching it from a time standpoint, let’s imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love. This photographer is traveling an hour to your destination to photograph your session. Here is an example of a time break down:

* consult and pre-session prep time (30 mins – 1 hour, includes consultation, equipment, paperwork and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
* up to one hour travel time TO session
* 15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home
* 1 hour-3 hours actual photoshoot time
* up to one hour travel time FROM session
* 30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
* 30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
* 2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
* 1 hour prep time for any add-ons like personal website or requested custom design
* 30 minutes -1 hour uploading and ordering client prints and products from several pro labs
* any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 15 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service. This is time dedicated only to ONE session. When the photographer charges $XXX for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the one to three hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for up to 15 hours complete time for your session.

(*Example times were changed to coincide with this studio’s current policy)

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