Thursday, August 18, 2011

Valuing Time | Boston Newborn Photographer

The question of "what's the difference between *expensive product* and *cheap product*" comes up all the time. When I got a Coach purse for my birthday, my husband asked me "What's the difference between that purse and the one you had from Kohls???" When people ask the difference between a boutique product and a mass produced product, there are many many answers. To me, it all boils down to time.

Time.

It's the most limited resource we all have. We have no idea how much of it we have, we only know it's almost never enough (especially if you're a mom!). So why don't we value it? When I talk to photographers that SEVERELY undervalue themselves, they always say "well, the prints cost me $X so why would I charge clients $XX?" They almost NEVER value the time it took to edit, the time it took to process the order, the time they took away from other things that needed their attention, the precious minutes and hours of their own life that they will never get back.

Why is that?

When we purchase, say, a Coach purse, every piece of it is hand stitched. The leather is hand selected to be free from defect. It's hand assembled. Because of all of the people involved and their TIME, the piece is much more durable, lasting, and has much more value.

When I went to S portrait studios many years ago, we were in and out in 30 minutes, the pictures had some really bad actions slapped on them in 30 seconds and then we ordered. There was very little time involved. It definitely showed in the final product.

When I do portraits for my clients we take 1-2 hours for a consult to discuss the contracts, clothing choices, hair and makeup choices, props, guidelines, what to expect, desires for the outcome of the shoot and we just chat. At the shoot we take time to relax, get comfortable, set up poses, find perfect lighting, and don't forget the chatting! Yeah, I talk a lot ;-) In the post production phase, I examine each image at 100% to be sure it meets my meticulous and high standards. I hand edit and adjust each image individually, and view it one last time before we meet for ordering just to be absolutely certain it is the top quality I guarantee. At the ordering session we take time to discuss where you want portraits to hang, who you'll be sending them to, what frames you have to fill, and what use you'll have for any other prints or digital images. Oh yeah, and we CHAT! lol. All in all I take a minimum of 15 hours of my time per client. It is very personalized, relaxed and, dare I say it, FUN! This large amount of time invested definitely shows in the final product, too.

So why don't people value time? I think it's because we live in a world where everything is instant gratification, and now extensive time spent on something is thought to be a waste. People don't even think of time as an investment anymore!

I've been trying to value my time by making sure everything I spend my time on is worth it. Either by making sure I'm being paid a fair amount, or by making sure my past times are productive, enjoyable and beneficial to me and my family.

How do you value your time?

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