30 May 2008

Chai Tea Recipe

I woke up this morning and decided it has been too long since I have made homemade brewed Chai Tea...and then looking into the pot I though, "It's too pretty not to take a picture, & too good not to share"... I love this recipe, it's gentle, lovely, & good for you :) I got it from my Aussie friend - Pheobe - while staying with her family for a while on the Sunshine Coast of Australia back in 2005.

Try it hot or cold, & as sweet as you like :)

20 May 2008

Money Matters

I was blog browsing some of my favourite Photographer's this afternoon and came across this response to the following question and thought I should post it because it is so true and very informative! Feel free to post comments and share what you think :)

Here is a response posted on the Digital Wedding Forum on an explanation of why we (professional photographers) charge what we charge:

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?

(This article has been very well received by the photography community, and is now referred to by many Photography websites across the country)

In this digital age where everyone has digital cameras, scanners and home "photo printers", when people upload their photos to a local drug store website and pick them up a few hours later, we hear this all the time - How in the world do Professional Photographers charge $55 for an 8x10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drug store?

Here's why.

Simply put, you're not just paying for the actual photograph, you're paying for time and expertise. First, let's look at the actual time involved. If you don't read this entire page, at least read this first part.

For a two hour portrait session:

- one hour of travel to and from the session
- two hours of shooting
- 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.
- 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer (2 - 4 Gb of data)
- 30 minutes to back up the files on an external drive
- 3 - 4 hours of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs
- 2 - 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment and drop package off at Fed Ex.
- For local customers, we also print a set of all of their photos, and meet them at our studio to review the photos and place their order. Meeting and travel time averages 2 hours.

You can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than ten hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour.

For an eight hour wedding:

- I won't bore you with the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least two to three full 40 hour work weeks worth of time. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour.

Now for the expertise.

Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though a quality camera now costs under $2,000 taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.

Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc.

And let's not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera - and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself.

Think of it this way - the next time you pay $X to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional.

What about the cheap studios at the mall?

Please don't compare us to the chain store studios. But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won't come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for.

The truth is, most of the mall and chain store studios lose money. In fact, in 2007 Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios because of the financial drain they were putting on the company. What the chain stores bet on is that you'll come in for some quick and cheap photos, and while you're there, you'll also spend $200 on other things. They don't have to make money, they are just there to get you in the door.


We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the ones that you get from your local drug store.

04 May 2008

A Homecoming Moment...

If a reunion of this sort isn't a sacred moment in life, than i don't know what is. Remember i took photos of Ashley & their beautiful children for Wes when he was serving oversees? Well he is finally home and they asked me to document their homecoming reunion - what an honor to be there! After 15 months of separation, like a lot of Military wives, Ashley had been waiting for weeks to find out the exact day of Wes' arrival knowing that it could be in two days or in weeks! She stayed strong, and it was so great when she called me on a Monday and said he was going to be in at 3am that Wednesday! After all their sacrifice she was so sweet and said she would understand if i didn't want to show up so late...but seriously Wes & Ashley, it was the least i could do - You are such a beautiful couple, and it is so good to finally see your family all together! What a great family!