It always surprises me when clients expect to receive the digital images from their session for the cost of the sitting fee. There are some photographers who do that. They are commonly called “snap and burn” photographers because that is exactly what they do. They take your pictures and give you the images right out of their cameras.
I wrote about them here: https://cmphotographyblog.com/2012/10/17/snap-and-burn-photography-winnipeg-portrait-photographers/, so I won’t say anymore about them. They offer a service, but they are not artists and are certainly not professionals.
I think it is important that consumers understand the difference between a “snap and burn” photographer and a professional photographer. A professional treats their photography as an art form and attempts to create magic with their images. Art takes time to develop. It does not come straight out of the camera after one snap of a button.
“It is all very well to copy what one sees, but it is far better to draw what one now only sees in one’s memory. That is a transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory.”
I might spend 45 minutes with you. After that, I usually put an average of 2.5 hours into sorting and editing your images. Your sitting fee includes this post photo shoot sorting and editing. When you send me your order, I put additional time into each image. Depending on what I want to do with it, it can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Per image.
Here is one example.
The image on the left is right out of the camera. My vision for this image was to show the baby floating on a cloud in the sky. You can see that I shot it wide. I did that to make sure I had enough of the sky. The sky in the backdrop is uneven and the baby’s skin tones are off. Before the client saw it, I cropped the image, filled in the sky and fixed the baby’s skin tones.
Once I knew that this was an image my client wanted to purchase, I put more space around the blanket and did more softening of the sky. I also spent more time on the baby’s skin and removed the redness from the baby’s feet. As you can imagine, this does take time.
In the first image you can see the heater keeping the baby warm and the other things that were on the floor. The image on the right is the completed image and shows my vision of how this image would be.
These sisters look adorable dancing in the park, but their faces are too dark and the grass and the trees are too yellow. I wanted to make the image more magical. You can see the result on the right.
It would not be safe for a one year old to stand backwards on a bench. Dad was right there to make sure this little one would not fall. Her face was washed out in the original. I love here sweet smile in the final picture!
Baby’s skin usually needs quite a bit of work to smooth and remove blemishes. You can see the original one of this little guy on the left; the first edit on the left and the final image below. Isn’t he adorable?
I love making photographs that you will display and enjoy for years to come. I get a lot of pleasure in seeing the final results of my work. But it does take time.
It’s important for clients to understand the type of product they are getting and, when researching various photographers, understand that a variety of price points often reflects a variety of different services, skill levels and overall quality of the finished product.
After all, just because they called themselves a photographer and owned a nice camera, doesn’t make it so. I can type. Does that make me a Hemingway? Or a J.K Rowling?
Robert Provencher says:
I bet they (snap and burn photographers) wouldn’t know the first thing about photoshop. Do you? It takes a long time, and many, many images artistically enhanced to get good at it. Just like cooking. Or writing. Or playing the piano)
So, why do so many go for the “shoot and burn” photography? In my opinion, there are two reasons.
- Reason number one why so many go for the shoot and burn session- It seems like a great deal at the time, so it’s all about saving money. Who doesn’t like that idea!
- And number two, many don’t know any better. You can’t blame anyone for not knowing any better can you? You don’t know what you don’t know!
This blog post is my attempt to get clients to understand the difference and to not be fooled by cheap prices and fast turn arounds. If you want an artistic portrait that you will cherish, don’t hire and snap and burn photographer.
I consider myself an artist. It has taken me a lot of time, practice, workshops and learning to get to where I am today. It didn’t happen over night. It is something that I continue to work at. Always honing my skills, learning and trying to get to the next level of expertise.
Your memories are worthy of the skills and talent of a craftsman. Aren’t they?