FBBLOG-DSC_3283-copy2Miss Z Photography offers a luxury service.  While I believe that everyone should have a professional photographer capture their family through the years, the reality is that it is not a necessity.  Food is a necessity.  Heat in the winter is a necessity.  Health insurance is a necessity.  Professional photography is a luxury and an investment.

Photography is an investment in your past, present and future. Time flies by so quickly. The moments that I capture soon become your past. But you have them to appreciate and remember not just in the present moment, but for future generations as well. All of my prints and products are heirloom quality and will withstand the test of time. Your great grandchildren will be able to hang them on their walls!

Miss Z Photography captures a moment in time – an expression of love, laughter and joy, or even one of great sadness.   I want everyone who looks at the photos we’ve created for you to feel something.  I want the photos to evoke smiles, laughter and maybe even tears. My aim is for it to be more than just a piece of paper. 

I want it to be so special and beautiful that you display it in on your walls, on your mantels, on your coffee tables and in your wallet.

We all indulge in luxuries at some point in time. Most of us even indulge every day with our coffees and lattes. Maybe it’s that high end purse that we’ve been eyeing for months. Or shoes that match our new dress perfectly. Perhaps, it’s a new video game we just had to have. Or tickets to the Red Sox game. 

No matter what our financial situations, when we want something bad enough, we will find a way. It might take several months of setting aside a little bit of money each week, or we’ll ask for money for it as a birthday present. Perhaps we decide to charge it to our credit card and take our time to pay it off. If we value something enough, we will find a way to afford it.

Professional photography is like that. It’s a luxury one should save up for. When it comes to photography, you want the best around; and you want someone’s style that “talks” to you. Every photographer has their own unique style. A photographer should be chosen on style and talent, not by who has the cheapest deal that week. 

While on the surface, it looks like all the photographer does is have a fancy camera, snap a few photos and then upload them for you. You’re thinking that it looks pretty easy. You might wonder why she charges so much. I know that I wondered that before I started my own business. 

But it’s behind the scenes where it’s evident just how much a photographer is worth.

Every photographer I know, who is worth their weight, has taken several classes, and has spent countless hours, weeks, months, and years practicing and perfecting their talent. They don’t just stop there – most continue to take classes and attend seminars to keep up on their talent. Professional photographers pay professional fees to belong to such organizations as Professional Photographers of America and similar industry standard groups. Then there is all of the expensive equipment – cameras (most professional photographers have more than one camera), many different lenses, tripods, props, computers, monitors, monitor calibrators and software to process all of the photos. There is also costs to repair, replace and upgrade their equipment as well. All professional photographers pay for business licenses and business insurance. Plus, they pay for studio space, internet, a website (other than social media), online galleries, online storage, software to help run their business and more. This is just the backbone of the photographer’s business in general. 

Then we get into the preparation before each and every shoot.

While I’m sure it’s pretty similar for most professional photographers, I can’t tell you what others do. But I can explain what goes into a regular shoot for Miss Z Photography. For a typical “regular” one hour shoot, I have a pre-consultation either in person or on the phone to learn about my client’s wants and needs. I then take time – sometimes hours or even days to choose the perfect props and colors to use to make sure the shoot is tailored to that family. I then get contracts and information packets ready and send to my clients. On the day of the shoot, I either set up the studio for a shoot or pack up the car to travel to the shoot. My regular shoots are typically one hour in length. But I don’t put you on a timer. My sessions are laid back. If after an hour, we don’t have all of the photos we want, I will keep going. After the shoot, I clean up, and/or pack up my car, bring all used props home to wash (all of my props that touch people are washed between clients) then I upload the photos and go through all of them to find the best ones. I then back up the chosen photos in several places – my computer, my external hard drive and in a cloud server (over the internet in case something happens to the physical storage at my house and studio). Then I hand edit each and every chosen photo. At the very least, white balance, lighting and coloring are adjusted. Other times more extensive editing is involved to correct blemishes or to add artistic elements. After that, the photos are then prepared for the client to view – proofs are ordered and I set up an in-person ordering session. At this session, we drink tea and coffee and we go over each and every photo and I help the client decide what rooms in their homes they want to hang their art work. I help them choose which product would work/look best and what sizes and arrangements would compliment their walls and decor. After the client has made their selections, I double check each ordered photo and prepare it for print and then send it off to my professional lab. When the prints are returned, I check each one to make sure they are correct and printed just as intended and then package them up all nice and pretty. So all in all, for a regular 1 hour shoot I typically work about 16 hours. (Boudoir shoots and newborn shoots are even more involved and require more props, equipment and time.) For a $150 reservation/session fee, I am making $9.37 an hour. That’s barely more than minimum wage. I am not complaining at all. I am just trying to educate people on what really happens behind the scenes and why at first glance, professional photography costs so much. I love what I do! I have the best job in the world. I love working with you and your family; I love taking the photos and I love giving you something so special. When I see your eyes fly open, your jaw drop or your eyes well up with tears – it warms my heart. I know I have captured something so very fleeting and something that will be treasured not just for today, but for generations to come. Professional photography is an investment, but one well worth making.