Why you should hire a professional photographer, rather than visit a big box store

This is one of the most common questions prospective clients ask me,
and I thought it would make a great blog post. When you walk-in to the
portrait studio inside a Big Box Store, you will always see some sort of
special advertised (i.e. Their $7.99 portrait special!)… and it
seems really cheap, until you get all the details. The posted specials
are for 1 person, in 1 pose only. If you want to add a 2nd person to
the picture? Add on a sitting fee of about $5. Want to add more
people? Be prepared to pay for them.

Now that doesn’t seem too bad does it? Well let’s look at what happens
once you enter the studio… the photographer will put everybody in
front of a background and pose you for the camera. He/she will then
proceed to take pictures and get you to approve / reject them until
there is one you like, that 1st pose will be the one they will print
for your package. The photographer will then proceed to take at least
5 more pictures… but you don’t get those unless you are willing to
cough up more cash. How much more cash? $10 per sheet at most stores
(so if you want all 5 additional poses, add $50).

So, if you have 2 people in a picture and want all the poses you are
looking at $62.99. What if you want digital copies of those pictures?
Well you are going to need to upgrade to one of the package’s the Big Box Store
offers. The cheapest package is their Bronze package, which as I am
writing this is $99 on their website. That includes 10 sheets of
pictures, from any of your poses and if you want to add on the picture
CD it will be an additional $79.99! Total price for 6 pictures in both
print and digital form at the Big Box Store starts at $178.99. Their prices can
go as high as $249.98 for the platinum package (and it’s still only 6

Now, lets look at what I charge for a portrait package… my prices
currently start at $100 for 30 minutes of photography time, during
which I will capture 10 to 15 different poses and deliver them all to
you on disc. Want more poses? An during an full hour session I will
deliver between 20 and 30 different poses. Additionally with me, you
are not limited to a few different backgrounds. I am able to shoot my
clients on location, any where in Calgary (or anywhere else if my
travel is covered). That means you can get professional pictures
cheaper than the Big Box Store.

As a final point about the difference between a professional
photographer and the Big Box Store is the experience of the person behind the
camera. I have 17 years experience in photography. My knowledge is
based on taking hundreds of thousands of pictures (I can take as many
as 50,000 in a single year). I have not only been published, I am also
an experienced photography educator. the Big Box Store on the other hand posts
right in their job ads “No Experience necessary. Training provided”,
which really says it all.”

Note: This post originally named the big box store from which I got pricing information. My lawyer saw that and worried I would face a lawsuit as a result… a lawsuit that even though I was quoting numbers from their own advertising would result in enough legal fees to bankrupt me. Therefore the big box store in question name was removed.

Our blog got hacked

Well sometimes things don’t go as we plan… went to put in a blog update today and found that my blog had been hacked. To ensure that any malicious code is removed, I deleted the entire blog installation and database. I will be re-posting some of my blog material in the next few days by reentering it manually.