A lot of behind the scenes goes into a photoshoot, which often goes over looked and then clients are left to wonder, "why does this cost so much?". Before we get into the actual steps it takes to conduct a photoshoot, let's consider the costs of being a photographer to being with. The main part of your budget goes towards camera gear. An up to date body, beautiful glass (lenses), (which sometimes cost more than the camera itself), a computer, photoshop and a photo editing program, memory cards, external harddrives and 3rd party online storage backup all costs a pretty penny. This stuff can add up to the thousands and beyond! That once hobby, turned profession, aint cheap!
Now lets get into the shoot itself. What goes on to make a professional shoot happen?
First there's the scheduling. I considered getting into the minutes each process took, but that's not the point. Wheter it's a phone call, or 22 e-mails back and forth trying to figure out a date, time and location, scheduling can be very time consuming. Then take into effect RESCHEDULING. Heaven forbid the weather, or sickness or who knows, it happens and it happens a lot.
Ok, so we've got the shoot booked. Drive time, usually waiting because people are generally late, and meeting the client takes a little time. But you've made it this far, we've signed the agreement, let's take care of the fun stuff!
Shooting time depends on the shoot. Anywhere between an hour to 8 hours. And let's think about the more time you shoot, the more memory you need and the more time it's going to take to process. Let's go with 1 hour, since that's an easy time to gauge.
In an hour, I can shoot anywhere between 100-300 exposures. So I take the photos back, and import them into Lightroom. This takes some time, depending on how many shots, of course but then the post processing begins.
Post processing is just as important as shooting. Color correcting, cropping for better composition, adjust levels for lighting and making those photos look even better than it did in camera is very tedious and time consuming. So not only does a photographer need to take his time during the shoot to adjust the shutter speed and make sure everything is in focus, he needs to really look at the photos on the computer to decide which are the best.
So we've processed the photos, taken out the closed eyes, a little out of focus shots and now what? Well, we have to deliver them to the client! So, what we over at Blackwell Photography have done for years, is we upload the high resolution JPEGs to Smugmug! Smugmug, if you haven't heard us talk about them before, is a 3rd party photo hosting site where our clients, their friends and families and anyone else we decide can view, share and purchase downloads or prints! It's pretty cool, but there's another blog post for that. This uploading process takesssssss fooorrrreeeevvvver. We're running on a fast internet connection over here, and we've even upgraded to speed things along, but a normal shoot of 100 high resolution images can take hours depending on the time of day! And, the real kicker, the rest of our internet shuts down. For instance, as I'm writing this, I'm uploading 96 photos of my good friend Mr. Grabeel. I'm writing this post on TextEdit, because I don't want to waste my time trying to log into our blog! Little tidbit there for ya. I know that's not the case with everyone, but this can be a serious dent in our daily workflow. A lot of times we upload photos at night!
So we've scheduled the shoot, actually conducted the shoot, processed and uploaded the photos, carefully worded a personal e-mail to our client (not to mention scanned and uploaded our signed agreement) now it's time to crack open a beer and relax, right? Nope! You gotta back them there photos up good sir! So we pull out the externals, and cautiously upload the RAW files plus edited JPEG files to our harddrives.
Then we wait. And we love hearing feedback. But sometimes you love a photo but that little pimple just glares out at ya. So, out of the graciousness of our own hearts, or our pocketbooks, we edit that photo and e-mail it right back to ya. Then we're done. At least for now. That is until your mom wants a DVD of your photos to share with her bridge club.
So you think it's just snapping' a few pictures with our fancy dandy cameras … it's a lot more than that! See?
oh man, I didn't even mention charging batteries, cleaning senors, scheduling babysitters, dealing with agencie or getting our car washed!