Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cookie Cutter vs. Custom Photography

This is a bit of a rant. If you don't want the whining and snarling, don't read any further.

For those of you who think that custom photography is expensive and not worth the cost should probably go watch a photo session with a custom photographer then watch a session done at a school or any other place that, to me, are cookie cutter sessions. There is a world of difference.

I just came back from watching Larissa's grad photo session. What an experience that was. It was a $30 session fee for 9 different poses. That is fine if the photographer took his time doing the shoot. He did not take the time to fix her sash (it was crooked). I stepped in to do that after his young photography student kept doing it and he got after her. It would be fine if the 9 different poses were actually 9 different poses. The photographer had her look to the side, smile, no smile. Look at the photographer straight on, smile, no smile. That's 4 poses. Put bouquet of flowers in her hands, smile, no smile. If you are counting, that's 6. Oh yeah, and never mind the hand chop. Keep bouquet of flowers in hands and add rolled up paper tied with ribbon, smile, no smile. That's 8 poses. Take bouquet of flowers away and leave the rolled up paper. Snap one. Print off wallet sized proofs, put into folder with print price list. Done. That's it. Thirty bucks for 10 freaking minutes. To me that is expensive.

Now I realize that there are so many students that they have to fit in a certain amount of time. And I'm not saying that people should not use the services of a photography chain. But I am tired of hearing people say how expensive custom photography is. I've even heard complaints on session fees and how expensive they are. $30 for 10 minutes I mean come on. I would rather pay a session fee with a photographer who I know is going to take their time, pay attention to detail, offer up more of a variety of poses and offer proofs that you can actually see. I'm hanging these photos on my walls. They will be hanging for years to come. I want something that I can be proud of.

Most people don't understand photography. I get that. But most people know professionalism when they see it. I didn't witness it at this session.

I am not a gear snob. I know that someone who knows photography can produce amazing images with the cheapest of cameras. Do not promote that you shoot with professional gear and show up with a camera body held together with duct tape. Just sayin.

Ok, end of rant. Glad to get that off my chest.


Anonymous Jeanette LeBlanc said...

Um....what if (hypothetically speaking) you were on your way to a wedding. and (still hypothetical of course) on the way you decided to change out your battery for a fresh one, and on this hypothetical day during this hypothetical circumstance your battery door just hypothetically happened to totally break off and the pieces went flying across the car....then would it be okay to show up with a duct taped camera? ;) Not that that ever happened to me of course :) :)

November 17, 2010 at 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Shelly Nickerson said...

(hypothetically speaking) I don't travel with duct tape in my gear...maybe I should... (hypothetically speaking) the duct tape would look new and now worn... just (hypothetically speaking)

November 17, 2010 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Julie Nickerson said...

Duct tape is not acceptable. Gaffers tape is :)

But wouldn't a wedding photographer also have a backup body?

Oh and the duct tape looks like it's been on there for awhile.

This is me on my phone and it won't let me sign in.


November 17, 2010 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Julie Nickerson said...

Ahh it worked. I was able to sign in.

November 17, 2010 at 5:35 PM  
Anonymous colleen ross said...

i had samantha done 2 years ago at the school and had the same experiance julie...I totally agree with your little rant...BRAVO!!!

November 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger James said...

.... that sure was a Great Rant, and you were quite right about quality and cost .... Quality will always pay for itself ... having something done well is well worth the investment ...

November 17, 2010 at 8:05 PM  
Anonymous jody said...

love the rant..

November 17, 2010 at 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy Vaters said...

$30, I'm quite sure it was $15 last year, I didn't even get any done by the school, I just went to Jody Lol.

November 17, 2010 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Julie Nickerson said...

Thanks for the comments guys :)

November 18, 2010 at 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Jeanette LeBlanc said...

Yes, she does (hypothetically) have a backup body, but it was being used by her third shooter :)

November 18, 2010 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Julie Nickerson said...

There's three of you shooting? Gee I wouldn't want to be the assistant carrying the gear lol.

November 19, 2010 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Life with Kaishon said...

Such an interesting post! I love when people tell me they are getting baby pictures or something equally special done at walmart. How good can Walmart be? Did your daughters pictures turn out well?

January 20, 2011 at 1:14 AM  
Blogger Julie Nickerson said...

I didn't buy any. The wallet sized proofs with the obnoxious watermark made it hard to choose. They also don't do any touch ups. What you see is what you get. I think that I will either hire someone to do her photos or I'll do them myself.
I hate that people complain about the price of custom photography and also complain about the quality of the chain store photos.

January 24, 2011 at 7:46 PM  

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