Cindy Harper Photography | howmuch

Hey there friend..

No, I'm not expensive... I have expenses.

I like cool stuff.  I like the expensive stuff.  I want the coolest products I can offer.  I have good taste.  I want to preserve your life on a product that will stand the test of time... and I have bills to pay.

Technology has changed a load of things.  One of the many things that has changed dramatically is the camera.  Everyone has access to a photo making device.  Heck, it's in your pocket.  Many people can purchase a pretty amazing DSLR camera for a reasonable price as well.  So, I always joke around that after Christmas we have a whole new batch of brand new professional photographers.  Which is totally fine!  But let's not forget they are just starting out...It means there are lots of options for you as a consumer.  And what an awesome opportunity for people! The problem is many people start out just like I did but they keep struggling and then they give up because they burn out and they find out they are BROKE.  Most of us are even paying YOU for the session.  That's right.. we lose money on your session and we should have stayed home to save the expense.  Let's face it...when you are in demand you are super excited that people like what you are making and it feels totally awesome!...No matter what people pay you!    You see, you can actually consider yourself a professional if someone is willing to pay for your services.. hmm.  Really?  Cause I wasn't all that UH-mazing when I started out but people paid me enough that I could purchase more education and more equipment (since I had a full time job).  They were happy enough with  my work they were willing to donate for the cause :)  And so... I had this growing business to figure out... I had a lot of learning to do...a LOT.  And that is what I did.  I learned.

I know now that there are a ton of things that go into running a business.  If you run a business you know that there are a load of expenses that you must pay in order to stay in business.  It takes a certain "number" just to keep your lights on and your doors swinging open.  Photography is no different.  And this is where many consumers become quite confused.  You see, one person just purchased a camera and has a new found passion for photography.. the other one down the street has a studio, multiple cameras (yes..back-up cameras {did you ask your photographer if they have a backup camera at your wedding?..hmmm maybe that's why it was so cheap}), insurance, lots of props... They are very different beasts.  It's kind of like a garage sale and a department store...  Like cutting hair in your garage and running a salon.  I have come a very long way in the process of getting to where I am.  I have spent countless hours and lots of money on education, software and memberships to get where I am today.  I have a lot of "expenses" that keep my business going in the right direction and I try to keep them down but there is a certain level of service I wish to provide.  Every year I re-assess where I am.  And it takes a lot of time/work to keep a business going.  I want the best product I can produce.

Here's the thing...I could charge you a propane fee, lots of prop fees, washing prop fee, light/electricity fee, camera fee, lens fee, internet fee, insurance fee, phone fee, license fee, lots of software usage fees, trash pick up fee, cleaning fee, camera and gear maintenence and upgrade fee,  studio artwork for display fee, books for display fee, studio lighting and equipment/stands/rails/softboxes fee, backdrop fee, BATTERY fee, framing supplies fee, secretary/bookwork/invoice/sales tax quarterly, website fees, blog fees,  painting walls and creating sets fee, mowing and lawn service fee, moving large props fee, merchants license fees ...Oh.. and should I get paid for my time?...Oh goodness... Preparing for your session,  photographing your session, downloading your images, culling images, editing and saving your images (huge), uploading your images, emailing and calling clients, making invoices, opening..checking and organizing client orders, preparing and packaging orders, final editing and color correcting and sending orders to the lab, creating cards, creating books, remaking books and cards and collages,  framing fee, answering/responding to inquiries, mailing, marketing, printing and creating marketing, and keeping up with blog, website, filing, education on new equipment and techniques... and keeping a pleasant atmosphere for my clients (picking up after the tornado that happens during a session) and meeting with clients for ordering, questions, I spend a LOT of hours at my computer...... are you starting to get bored?   Me too.  That's why I came up with a way to charge what I need to charge to pay for all of these things that you enjoy (and don't know) about my business.  It costs me money to be in business.  I don' t just own a camera.  I own a LOT of other things and I DO lots of other things besides take photos.  I have to cover my expenses and my TIME... which I used to not charge for when I started out.  And I know a lot of people starting out DON'T charge for their time either.  They may even think they are but they are not if they actually do their books correctly!   I did it too, so I know.  They have to start somewhere!  I don't make a lot of money.  I wish I did!  There are many photographers who charge way more than I do and they have different costs than I have too so don't judge them. I am a PPA member and there are literally benchmarks in place that are based on successful businesses that you can model your business after based on data.  Guess what?  I'm way below the benchmark!  That's right!  I'm still not making much money!!  I promise that what I do make I put it all to good use for you as a customer.   You get fabulous images and insanely awesome art.  I really do enjoy what I do, but I have to get paid OR I can't do what I do.  You get the idea.  

I used to charge $50 for a session and I came home and handed it to my babysitter.  That was kind of dumb.

When I started out in college I was an art major.  I learned a LOT about art. Which is why this comes so natural to me.  Photography is based on an art foundation..duh!  I ended up in education as an art teacher, then I got my Masters degree and then I decided to be a photographer... haha!  But the thing is... I haven't stopped learning.  I learned the technical aspects of photography and took some business classes to help me stay in business.  I continue to pay for education to better my skills as an artist and photographer.  It's a tough and highly competitive market.  If you are starting a photography business get ready for the ride!  I strive to be the best I can at what I do.  To have insanely happy customers...and a fun job!   And quite honestly I still struggle as to whether I should just go back to my day job.  I got paid much better.  It was much less time consuming...
But I do love creating images.  It is a fabulous artistic outlet for me.  I enjoy every second of it. 


People keep coming back to me because, quite frankly, they are still getting an UH-MA-ZING DEAL!  I am crazy cheap!  They know it's worth so much MORE!!  Maybe it's still too much for you but I know I spend way too much money on all the cool stuff to make your images look awesome. So, there ya go... that's it in a nutshell.  


I could charge much less for my services, but I would be out of business.  


There are photographers for every level you are seeking.  If we are a good fit... we'll have a blast.. I promise :)


Thanks for reading this.  You must be bored. haha!

So .. can you have a discount?  Sure!! You can just pay my propane bill and you can purchase a new backdrop for me!! No big deal.