I have worked with a lot of Melbourne families and new mums over the past few years and I have heard many stories from Mum and Dad about their past experiences with other photographers. Stories that often upset me because they tarnish the reputation of all photographers. I most commonly hear about experiences where parents feel 'ripped off' after having their photographs taken, or parents being underwhelmed by the end results
I understand that finding a suitable photographer can be quite overwhelming so I have written this extensive blog so you can better understand your options and make an informed decision. After all, there is a lot of effort on your behalf to have your memories captured and newborn photographs especially can't be repeated when the window of opportunity is so small.
How Much Do Photographs Cost?
Just because someone owns a camera it doesn't necessarily mean they know how to use it!
In the digital age, anyone with an iPhone and Facebook page can market himself or herself as a photographer, so it is important to find a photographer that you can trust to capture your memories. After all, those precious moments disappear in a flash! When considering a photographer, it is a good idea for you to find out about the photographer, their experience, reputation, and business policies.
Photographers’ prices tend to be based on an industry standard equivalent to their skill and experience.
Photography Techniques You May Not Know
Good professional photographers do a lot more than point and shoot, hoping to get a great image. If you are looking for an expert in the field of photography, they will have the knowledge, expertise and equipment to produce high-quality images and produce creative, perfectly printed portraits.
General-use cameras continue to improve, and so does the equipment used by professionals. If you want photographs to frame and put on your wall, quality albums or even digital files so you can do it all yourself, just be aware that a professional-quality printing lab can provide much better prints than those you might get at the local retail store.
Archival Photographs Or Digital Files?
Professional cameras produce images of much higher resolution than standard cameras, and professional lighting techniques plus understanding of light can make the difference between a so-so photograph and a photograph that can “pop” off your wall.
Using more flattering angles and unique perspectives and settings, clearly separate “real” photographers apart from their amateur or part time counterparts. Professional photographers use refined editing techniques to clear up imperfections and provide controlled contrast and colour balance.
Professional printing companies have the right equipment and correction services and supply a range of archival photography materials such as metallic and art papers, canvas, acrylic, and more. If your prints from a retail store fade over a short period of time, don’t be surprised, as only a professional photographer will supply you with your photographs on lifetime archival paper.
The Hidden Risk You Take
Good full-time professional photographers have strong reputations, as what they do is both personal and creative, and image-based. Their work is easy to check out on their website or Facebook page, and you should look for a photographer that specialises in the particular genre that you want photographed.
Do your research to find a professional who works in the style you want for a price that you are willing to pay.
Feel free to ask for a consultation appointment with photographers whose work seems to be what you like. Use this initial meeting to find out more about their photography experience, products and pricing. When looking at their work, take note of the style and variety of photographs, and how that matches your personal preferences. Pay attention to poses, angles, lighting and other techniques.
Check a photographer's Facebook reviews, references, and written testimonials.
Being a member of an organisation like the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) shows a level of commitment from a photographer to grow a business and keep skills current. The photographer is also bound by a set of professional rules of practice, a code of ethics, and adequate public liability insurance. The AIPP also certifies photographers, which involves submitting photos and reaching a certain high standard. It’s like the difference between being an accountant and a CPA.
How To Get The Best From Your Photography Session
You will find that most part time inexperienced photographers offer very little customer service, and so will put your images in an online gallery for you to make your selections. Obviously when they do this you will be unable to ask them any relevant questions about the photographs like cropping, removing unwanted facial blemishes, making the photographs black and white etc. Personal “one on one” purchasing sessions is the way that the better photographers will help, guide and advise you on getting the best from your photographs.
Most photographers charge a fee of around $95-$250 for the photography session, at their studio or at an outdoor location. Newborn sessions usually take a lot longer, so expect these fees to be higher.
Individual small print and digital file prices can vary from as little as $35 each for the part time hobbyist photographer to $195 and above for an experience award winning Master Photographer.
If you are looking for a photographer to produce stunning wall décor to add that warm personal touch to your home, choose a photographer who specialises in wall art, and shows examples on their website. Expect prices from $500 and upwards. It is common for some clients of the top photographers to spend upwards of $5,000 and more on photographs for their wall. Purchasing wall art is like buying furniture for your home. Quality always comes at a higher price.
Connecting By Phone Is The Key
You should definitely shop around and find a photographer whose work you really like, rather than simply making your decision based on the cheapest price. If you do go with a lower rate, make sure the photographer you hire has the skills and experience you are seeking and produces a reasonable quality of work. There is a price to be paid for a good professional photographer, and as the old saying goes you almost always “get what you pay for”.
Beautiful lasting memories on your wall don't happen by chance, they happen with an appointment!
Calling the photographer and having a 2 minute chat is the quickest way to have all of your questions answered, and to find out if they are the right “mix” to preserve your priceless memories.
Main content written by Bernie Griffiths.