Several times a week I get a text, DM or email asking “How much are senior pictures?” I totally understand that your first thought is “Can I afford this?” You probably email a few photographers asking for pricing, cause no one has the actual cost on their websites, and you get sticker shock. Either your parents told you that you had to pay for them yourself or they told you the budget and you are crushed to find out that quality senior pictures with an established photographer aren’t what you thought.
EXPERIENCE IS KEY
You could luck out with a newbie advertising on Craiglist or maybe a friend of yours has a “nice” camera, but what you’re missing out on is the experience. You’re missing out on someone that has spent years learning how to capture light, how to make you comfortable in front of the camera and show your real personality. An established photographer should be able to give you advice on posing, outfits, locations, time of day and then ultimately prints and products. An established photographer has more than a Facebook business page; they have a website, testimonials, and can explain how they’ll provide you an amazing experience and gorgeous images.
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Say you go with that cheap photographer and the images you get back aren’t what you wanted. The images are dark, out of focus, over exposed, weird composition or all of the above. You wouldn’t believe how many messages I get saying “I wish I would have chosen you.” They didn’t like the edit their photographer did or worse, they don’t do the pictures at all because they think they can’t afford $500 for senior pictures.
WHAT DO YOU VALUE?
So here’s where I’m gonna get real with you. My minimum purchase is $500 but most spend on average $800. If that is outside of your budget or not what you think senior pictures are worth….I’m cool with that. Know why? Cause I want my seniors to LOVE the experience and LOVE their products and I would HATE it if spending that much made them or their parents stressed.I get that people think they can’t afford that but I’d challenge you to think about what you value. Are you the type of person that wants to document your life? Do you find that you take lots of pictures but none are special enough to print? This generation is the most photographed generation. Nearly everyone has a $500+ smart phone in their pocket that is used to post cute selfies. How many of those have you printed?
PRINTS HAVE VALUE
If you read last week’s blog post about Why We Take Senior Pictures, you already know that I think senior pictures should capture who you are as a teenager so that you can look back at the images decades from now and remember your youth. I’m not so sure that instagram will be around 10 plus years from now. Who knows what the hot social media platform will be. And all those images will just be in a file somewhere on whatever computer-like device. I don’t want you to miss out on capturing this time of your life. This is why my base package only offers prints. If you can’t afford my middle package of $795 to get all the digitals on a customized USB then I want you to get some prints that you will give to grandparents, aunts & uncles and hang on the walls in your home. Digital files aren’t worth anything if they sit on the USB, prints are the real value.
It’s also important to note that not all prints are created equal. I’ll blog about this another day but seriously, go to mpix.com and set up an account. They have beautiful prints and products. Cheap prints from shutterfly, wallgreens or target are not quality prints. The quality is horrible, the color will be off and can even make the picture look out of focus. Not worth the “savings”. Mpix is the consumer side of my professional lab. Plus you just upload the file and they’ll mail you the prints. Super easy!
I hope this helps explain why senior pictures can be so “expensive”. It’s all relative and it comes down to what you value. I value capturing moments in my life and I believe in printing images to display in my home. If you feel the same contact me and we’ll set up a consultation to talk about what you want from your senior pictures.