What is/Why choose Custom Photography? Why does it cost more?

So I wanted to do a blog post about what it is we “do” exactly.  We fall into the “custom photography” category.  But what exactly is custom photography?  While it is relatively new to the average person/family, it has really gained in popularity in the past few years.

Custom Photography is:

-All about the experience, which has YOU, the client, and ONLY YOU in mind.
-Devoted 1 on 1 attention
-Designed and customized to meet the ideas/needs/wants of you the client
-An experience nothing like the one provided by your typical chain portrait studio.

With custom photography you typically get:

-An extensive gallery of creative and fully edited images
-Images that are color-corrected with blemishes & under eye circles removed

Custom photographers often offer:

-A huge range of products
-Excellent customer service

You could say comparing Custom Photography to Chain Studios is like comparing Bloomingdales to Wal-Mart or Mercedes to Chevy.  While there is nothing wrong with Wal-Mart or Chevy, you will not get the same type of quality product than you will with Bloomingdales and Mercedes.

However, knowing that not everyone can afford a custom photographer, that is where a chain studio has their place.  While a $300 photo session may exceed your budget, forgoing a few visits to the chain studio will allow you to save enough for 1 custom photography session.  In the end 1 quality custom photo session with multiple “poses” and images will surpass numerous trips to the chain studios.

Another question heard a lot is

“How in the world can you charge $50-$60 for an 8×10 if I can print it at X store for less than $2?”

-Well the answer is somewhat complex.

Now we could do a whole separate blog post of the difference in quality of prints from different consumer labs versus pro labs used by custom photographers.  In the end pricing is almost always determined by TIME.

When purchasing a print, whether it be 4×6, 8×10 or 11×14, you aren’t just purchasing a piece of paper, you are purchasing a print of the “image”.  That image takes the same amount of time to create, upload, process and order whether it is purchased as a 4×6 or an 11×14.  A custom photographer needs to charge for the “time” it takes to create the image not just for the size you decide to order it in.

A customer photographer spends an average of 12-19 hours dedicated to one session. From:

-the time of booking
-travel time to/from location
-any additional phone/email time for issues etc…

The cost of TIME spent, aka SESSION FEE, is not just for the 1-2 hours of the actual session time,  you are paying the photographer for the 12-19 hours it takes to fully complete your session.

Custom photography is a luxury, it is more than your cookie cutter chain store and is truly not for everyone. The luxury of:

-great service
-better choices
-a superb end product

will all result in heirloom-quality images.

There is a great deal of time involved in creating high-end custom photography sessions, and the money that you spend now will only increase in value as the years pass.  Custom photography is an investment in preserving your family’s memories that can be handed down through generations.

Below are a few examples of a custom session that you would never be able to achieve at a typical chain portrait studio.

Themed Birthday Sessions

Lifestyled Newborn Sessions

Candid Moments Capturing Personalities


Capturing the little details

S18 Photography


Excerpts/Info taken from, http://www.professionalchildphotographer.com, Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Photography

You may also like