Recent conversations have inspired me to write a post unlike the usual.
Recently I was talking with a few people who asked a two intriguing questions; 1. how am I different from my “competitors”? & 2. why is pricing different from one photographer to the next?
There is a short and relatively simple answer to both of these questions that I think surprised those who asked. We feel that when you hire a photographer you are hiring an artist. Like any other industry, a photographer is unique in their own ways: personality, approach, artistic style, pricing, etc. (Like my friend Cameron says: There is only one ChristanP [and you can insert any other photographers name here, too].
When my wife and I were planning our wedding we saw the work of dozens of photographers before we found one we related to. We hired him because his style was like no other photographer’s that we had seen. We loved how he photographed non “traditionally” and uniquely. In addition to his style, and more importantly, was how comfortable we felt during our first few meetings with him. He thought our crazy ideas would end up as great shots. Although we interviewed a few photographers that had cheaper rates, we felt that he, as an artist, was right for us.
(our crazy idea, his great shots)
Now that my wife and I are on the other side of the lens, we have a deeper understanding of how important it is to find the right “match” in personality and artistically. When you hire a photographer, you are typically not paying them to point, shoot, and print your images; you are buying their creative edge, the time it takes to shoot, and (commonly over looked) you are buying the time it takes to edit the photos (what sets most artists/photographers apart).
An original photo, while it maintains the creative composition, doesn’t often have the final touch that editing provides. It can take hours to edit a photo session and the result is a true, unique piece of art specific to that photographers “style”.
Here are a few samples of before and after shots to give you an idea of what I mean by “style” and to highlight the art of editing in itself:
So the next time you are thinking about hiring a photographer to capture a moment in your life, remember, if you give a dozen artists that same scene to paint, all twelve paintings will look completely different in the end. Pick the “painter” who will paint what you’re wanting and remember, only you can determine if the art they provide is worth the fee they charge to create it. For us, photography is art – it is what decorates our walls and builds our hearts with stockpiles of irreplaceable memories.