Most portrait photographers fall into one of two categories - 'Full Service' or 'Shoot & Burn'. But what do these terms really mean? And why do their prices vary by so much? More importantly, which type of photographer is the right one for you?
'Shoot & Burn'
A 'shoot & burn' photographer does exactly that - turns up at the shoot location and time, takes beautiful images of you and your family, and then burns them to a CD, DVD or USB drive, usually for a set fee. The customer is then free to take their images to any high street printing firm - or even print themselves using their home computer. Or, more commonly, once the instant gratification of social media sharing, liking and commenting is over, the USB ends up in the back of a draw, forgotten about. It is up to you to source and order prints and products to enable you to enjoy your photos in the real world, and what happens to most people is that they never find the time to make prints and end up not enjoying their photos to the fullest. 'Shoot & Burn' photography can be likened to a fast-food restaurant or a production line - where the photographer serves a high volume of customers, spending only a short while with each one and providing a limited choice of medium to low quality products. Typically the photographer who adapts this way of doing business is someone who doesn’t want to have much contact with the customer, other than the shoot itself. This photographer wishes to deliver the final images and not hear from that client again until it’s time for their next shoot, as this is what fits her schedule and business. Where they have a successful business they are often employing the 'quantity over quality' model of business, aiming to comple hundreds of shoots a year. But many 'shoot & burn' photographers can struggle to make ends meet because in order to get the necessary volume of customers through their doors, they are not charging appropriately for their time and talent.
A 'Full Service' photographer takes a different approach, and believes in excellent customer service, high quality products and providing their customers with a full and satisfying experience. The 'full service' photographer spends a much larger amount of time with each of her clients, taking the time to get to know them and their individual needs fully. She will personally guide you through each step of creating beautiful artwork for your home. From planning and preparing for your unique photography session, to helping you decide which of your stunning images to display, where to hang them in your home and how best to do so. Your chosen images will be individually re-touched, tweaked and designed into exclusive, high quality products from professional-only print labs. You'll have tangible prints, wall art and albums you can proudly show off to friends and family, and which you will see and enjoy every day in your home. The 'full service' photographer is the 'fine dining restaurant' equivalent of photography, where nothing is too much trouble and everything is individually prepared for you from the best quality ingredients available, painstakingly sourced from the finest suppliers. Because providing this level of service takes so much time and effort, the 'full service' photographer may only serve a handful of clients each month - choosing the 'quality over quantity' business model. And in order to make a living and to pay for the higher quality products and exclusive personal service she offers, you'll likely pay a higher price.
What type of photographer is right for me?
This decision depends entirley upon your personal preferences, budget and why you're considering hiring a photographer in the first place.
Here are some key questions to consider which might help you:
What kind of experience do you want? 'No Frills' or 'Luxurious Attention to Detail'?
How do you feel about having your photo taken? Would you prefer to work with a total stranger, or someone who takes the time to get to know you and your family first so you can feel more relaxed?
How do you think your baby or children will react to the experience of having their photo taken? Would they benefit from working with someone who takes the time to make friends with them and work around their individuality?
How much help would you like in planning and preparing for your session?
Why do you want the images to be taken? Simply to share online with friends and family for fun or as a way of preserving your treasured memories and the relationships between you and your family?
Would you like some physical prints or products made after the session? If so, what type, and do you know where or how to get them? Do you have the time / patience / skills to design and order them yourself? How long do you want your prints / products to last without fading, warping or cracking?
I truly believe that making sure you are able to enjoy your images in the form and prints and products, and not just as digital files, is just as important as creating beautiful images for you. That is why I offer a Full Service photography experience.
If you’re ready to book your full service portrait experience, fill out this form to get started!