Thursday, June 29, 2006

Decisions, decisions and photo gallery (tons of pics)

I've been struggling a bit lately with what I want for the future of my photography business and whether or not I should raise my prices.

An online friend of mine who I got to know via a photography forum (she is also just starting her photography business, she has the same camera as me, and she's also pretty crunchy and into AP - it's cool how much we ended up having in common) thinks I definitely should raise my prices. She's also encouraging me to get my name "out there" now, before the baby comes, so that I can build up my clientele and have people waiting for me whenever I decide to go back to work after baby.

I agree that it would be nice to be better compensated for my time (goodness knows I put a lot of time into proofing sessions and making photos look their best), but I also would feel bad because all of my current clients are friends - primarily getting by on one income. Which is why I really should branch out and find people who can afford me, but then I would feel like I'm turning my back on my friends. Arg.

It's a tough call. Obviously it would be nicer to charge more, and work less than to keep my prices where they are and have to work more to make the same amount of money. Anyway, I've got some things to think about, that's for sure.

If you feel like sharing your opinion on the matter, I'd be happy to have it. :)

And now for the pictures...

I've been promising to share some of my favorite pictures from client sessions over the past several months for a while now, and here they are. I had a hard time narrowing it down, so you get to see a LOT. ;) (Can ya tell I like to focus on pregnant women and newborns??)

(Please click the photo to view it larger.)
























26 Comments:

At 6/29/2006 12:55 PM, Blogger hannah said...

These are absolutely lovely. GREAT job. I think you should be compensated for the lovely art you are producing. :)

Are you going to be able to find someone to do the same for you?

 
At 6/29/2006 1:19 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

hannah - thank you and welcome to my blog. :)
i am unsure what i'm going to do regarding pictures for myself. i don't know any photographers locally yet. eep! i might just be setting up the tripod and using the camera timer. ;)

 
At 6/29/2006 2:36 PM, Blogger Melody said...

Your photos are amazing... It's a hard thing.. raising your prices.. You are definitely talented and I think you should try to market yourself and charge according to your talent..

Maybe you could have a friends/family type rate that you don't market.. and a "professional rate"... people have money to spend. It's just hard tapping into that market, but once you do... don't feel bad about charging a fair rate for you. You have a gift.

I am in a similar position.. I'm a personal chef and I do a lot of cookign classes (for people who can't afford my chef packages.. ).. and I hesitate to really put myself out there and ask for the going rate.. but I think I can do both.

 
At 6/29/2006 2:49 PM, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Amy, those photos are beautiful. You have a wonderful eye for composition.

I agree with the idea to raise your prices. Like Melody said, perhaps you could have a "non-published" friends and family rate. I think every business owner does this to some extent, for example personal trainers and hairdressers. Or you could offer certificates to friends as shower/newborn gifts and allow them to choose to "upgrade" if they would like additional photos. Good luck with whatever you decide, and I hope your little one is doing well!!!

 
At 6/29/2006 6:09 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I jsut had to comment.Those are amazing pictures! They're really wonderful!

 
At 6/29/2006 6:11 PM, Blogger edgeofnormal said...

Amy, I agree with the "friends and family" rate idea. But don't let them take advantage either. Your camera, gas, supplies all cost money. That's not even including your time! You don't want to get to a point where you resent photography because it costs you personally too much (never mind the financial costs.)

Charge the going rate and don't feel guilty about it. Aren't you worth it?

 
At 6/29/2006 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like others said, maybe you could tell all your current clients that you appreciate their support, and since they have supported you in the past, you will still offer them special pricing / discounts, but you are going to be raising your prices. That way if they refer you to someone else, they won't tell them what you charge, so you don't get locked into giving new people that rate.

You could also offer discounted rates if people refer others to you, which result in a booking.

Good luck, and nice pictures.

 
At 6/29/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger Tiffiny said...

Oh my gosh! I LOVE the pictures. You do a great job! I really like the ones with the flowers. I'm going to have to share the ones I took while I was pregnant. The woman did a great job as well. I so wish you lived closer, I would hire you in a minute, no matter what you charged. I really have no advice for you since I didn't even read what you said yet, I scrolled right down to the pictures. hehe

 
At 6/29/2006 10:29 PM, Blogger jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Amy your photos are so captivating.

 
At 6/30/2006 8:24 AM, Blogger Amy said...

I look at these beautiful pictures and I see a professional's work. These are not snapshots, they are pieces of treasured art.

I like the ideas posed by Melody for the unpublished rate for friends and family and Anonymous made a good point of giving a discount to clients who had been referred.

Elisabeth also suggested offering add-on photos for an extra fee. I know professional studios got me like that -- showed me some extra photos I did not choose and they were so precious I couldn't say no.

Here's my idea -- can you invest a little more money and advertise in a local parent magazine? We have these free parent magazines that circulate monthly and they're fun to read. If you could reach the wealthier families, once you get in that circle, you could get a high paying clientele together. In doing this, it would be prudent to have a business website put together showcasing your portfolio.

 
At 6/30/2006 10:30 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Wow, thank you for all the wonderful comments. I'm really touched!

Melody, Alex, edgeofnormal and Anonymous - Welcome to my blog too. :)

There were some great suggestions made here and you've given me more things to consider when I rework my prices. I think having a special rate for family/friends/previous clients is a really good idea and lets them know they are appreciated, even though I definitely do want to tap into a wealthier clientele.

Tiffiny - You should share your pics on your blog. I'd love to see them. :)

Amy - I don't know if we have any kind of local parenting magazine like that. I'll have to chk into it. That photography friend of mine just set up a photo display at a local boutique (she's in Washington) and I think that's a great way to get business as well. It sounds like I've got my work cut out for me.

Thanks again for all of your support. :)

 
At 6/30/2006 5:36 PM, Blogger halloweenlover said...

Amy, why do you live so far from me! I want you to take my pictures!!!!!

These are breathtaking. Amazing, really.

I agree with all the above, friends and family and then a regular rate.

 
At 6/30/2006 11:29 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

HL - Thank you. I wish I lived closer to you too. I would love to do your pictures. :) Want to fly me out east? ;)

 
At 7/01/2006 9:25 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

wow what amazing pictures... you are very talented. im not sure what your charging but given your pictures it should be pretty pricey, too bad your not in my area i would most definetly hire you to take pics of my boys.

 
At 7/01/2006 10:07 PM, Blogger KleoPatra said...

Amy, great photos. I have friends and family in the photography business and it is very competitive, but if it is what you love and obviously you are gifted at it... that should keep you continuing to do it. Perseverance is absolutely key in everything, especially in the arts field!

 
At 7/02/2006 2:28 AM, Blogger Isil S. said...

Your photos speak for themselves. You are really talented, I just loved them.

 
At 7/02/2006 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Your photos are beautiful! You have the talent and it's worth every penny. I asked you before what camera you're using because i'm also into photography, I have a d70 right now which I think is pretty good for a beginner like me. I love taking pictures of babies and dream of having my own studio someday. I still have a lot to learn though. Is it okay if I ask you some questions regarding photography? ~tia

 
At 7/02/2006 11:45 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Ashley - Thank you. :) And welcome to my blog!

Kleopatra - Thanks so much for the encouragement. :)

Isil - Thank you!

Anon (Tia) - Thank you. :) I have the Olympus Evolt E-500 and, like you, feel that it is a good starter camera, but I would like to get something else eventually. Feel free to ask away. You can email me at amygeekgrl@gmail.com.

 
At 7/02/2006 9:45 PM, Blogger Penny said...

Beautiful pictures Amy - you can take mine any day ;)

Often we undervalue the skills we have in terms of creativity and especially so if we enjoy doing what we do. I don't know what you charge, but I'd look into the market and see because you may be surprised.

You can't really put a price on the memories those photos help retain.

 
At 7/02/2006 11:06 PM, Blogger Ninotchka said...

OMG the baby with the rings on the toes is AMAZING. Lovely body of work, my friend. You should be very proud!

 
At 7/03/2006 3:21 PM, Anonymous Miriam said...

I really love those pictures, your work is amazing! I don't have much advice on the price thing though - maybe you could advertise/publish the higher prices, and then just give your friends a discount? Or give out coupons or something? Or is that bad business? hehe

Either way, I think you deserve to charge good money, your work is great.

 
At 7/03/2006 5:09 PM, Blogger LB said...

Beautiful photos, you're very talented.

 
At 7/03/2006 6:29 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Penny - Thank you. :) I think you are very right that it's hard for us to put a price on the things we enjoy doing.

Ninotchka - Thanks, sweetie. That is one of my favorite pictures, also because the baby was nursing in it. :)

Miriam - Thank you! I've decided to raise my prices and give my friends a reduced rate. It should work out well (I hope!).

Lisa - Thank you! And welcome to my blog. :)

 
At 7/10/2006 8:23 PM, Anonymous Mama C-ta said...

These are breathtaking photos! Oh how I wish you were near me and I was pregnant too! Congrats BTW, I'm totally late but I never got to congratulate you! Next pregnancy I want nude-ish photos taken.

 
At 7/13/2006 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anna S. said...

Amy,

I'm just catching up after a crazy month--baby number two arrived at 36 weeks, and he just wasn't ready to face the world, so we spent three weeks at two different NICUs while he got ready to breathe on his own. Henry is now home with big brother Will, and we are thrilled.

However, all this is just a rambling precursor to say how much I love your gorgeous photos! Here I am with a newborn, and while I am a learning photographer, I don't know how to set up the shots that you have taken of those yummy babies. If I lived near you I would hire you--any chance you would, in all your spare time, give us a little tutorial on how you set up, say the first two baby shots?

Thakn you--and congratulations on being half baked! Keep that baby boy in there--its the boys that need the most time in utero to get those kungs developed!

All the best,
Anna
mom to Will 7-20-04 and Henry 6-11-06

 
At 7/19/2006 8:58 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

mama c-ta - thank you for the comments and the congrats. :)

anna s. - i'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond to you. i wish i had an email address i could contact you at. anyway, if you want to shoot me an email at amygeekgrl@gmail.com i can give you some pointers for taking pics of your little one. congrats on henry's birth!! :)

 

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