A Few Thoughts on Photography
Stephen H. Moore
"You round 'em up, I'll shoot 'em."
319 Summit Forest Drive
Marietta, Georgia, 30068
Tel: (678) 401-8092
Cell: (678) 777-3768
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Advertising is horrifically expensive. I was stunned the first time I did research to produce an invoice for my first commercial client. The billboard I was designing would occupy a sign at the intersection of Windy Hill Road and Cobb Parkway (US 41) . To rent the space alone was $ 60,000 for six months. A LOT of eyeballs see that sign. Ever check out how much ad space costs in magazines or newspapers? Ever think about how much a company pays for the copy in an ad? If they hired a professional, it could be a princely sum. And what should one do to grab the attention of potential customers, to seduce them into actually reading the copy, for which one has paid said princely sum? Get a great picture. Not a technically ok picture. Get a great picture.
I'm a professional photographer, based in Marietta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.
With consumer digital photographic technology in it's current state, a well-trained primate could probably take reasonably good pictures, but said primate would probably know nothing about color management, would certainly not have invested in the kind of technology I have and would not have what people call my "eye for photography."
I have been an avid photographer since the age of eight, when I received my first camera, and have been an artist since birth. I have had careers ranging from military intelligence to car sales, was a concierge at the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and worked in the telecommunications field for many years. I decided to become a professional photographer in November, 2003 and have learned more about photography since then than I did in the preceding 44 years.
I offer advertising and commercial photography, individual, family and pet portraiture, aviation, entertainment (actors, models, bands and musicians), sports, corporate and private events photography. These days, I really don’t use film anymore. I offer digital photography, fine art prints for corporate art or home decor, digital processing and enhancement, a vast catalog of stock images, and am available as a consultant for those wishing to make the transition from traditional to digital photography. I was an emerging photographer member of the Advertising Photographers of America - Atlanta Chapter and was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Marietta.
I support Editorial Photographers' Digital Manifesto.
Please note: I am a professional photographer. I make my living doing this. I am happy to let folks take a look, but please understand that these images are protected by copyright and I reserve all rights under copyright.
Anyone wishing to use any of these images for commercial or non-commercial purposes should please contact me (contact information below) about licensing. I am more than happy to sell prints and posters of my work. If you would be interested in buying a print or poster, please e-mail me at the address, below.
All unauthorized users will be haunted until the end of their days.
Assignment photography means that you commission a photographer to photograph something specific (such as your products, a fashion, etc.). Professional photographers who wish to be in business for longer than six months don’t charge what used to be referred to as a “day rate.”
The cost of a professional photo session depends on several factors. How much production is involved (does the client need models, hair, make-up, stylists, expect catering to be provided, etc.)? How, exactly, are the pictures to be used?
Professional photographers use what is called the Licensing Model http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/License
They license the use of the photographs for specific purposes (e.g., web usage, print usage, etc.), much in the same way that a software manufacturer licenses the use of its software. That sounds a little intimidating to prospective customers, but it actually saves them money, because they don’t have to license the rights to print the images on t-shirts in Bolivia, unless they really want to. They pay for what they use.
There are usually two main Fees involved, in addition to the applicable licensing fees, which are called the Creative Fee and the Digital Processing Fee.
The Creative Fee is what the photographer charges for schlepping around thousands of dollars worth of expensive equipment, hiring assistants, if necessary, and actually capturing the images. The Digital Processing Fee involves the work the photographer does to process all of the RAW data captured by the camera (actually, a complex and expensive handheld digital imaging device). Unlike in the old days, when many photographers took their exposed film rolls to a lab to be processed, the photographer is now also the photo lab. Everything is processed digitally, using high-end computers and software with calibrated monitors to sort through and optimize each picture, using very strict digital workflows, to produce usable files in the right formats for the customer. Depending on the number of images, that process can take days. For every hour spent capturing images, it is safe to say that three are spent on the processing of the images. These fees encompass many of the fees that many photographers bill for separately (such as the cost for storing the images, creating CD-ROM and DVD-ROM backups, etc.) but do not include expenses, such as FedEx or courier fees, contact sheets, proof books, nor extensive Photoshop tweaking. Basic workflow processing is included, but extensive Photoshop work (such as changing the background on an image, or compositing several images together) is billed at an hourly rate ($ 100 per hour).
My Creative Fee for a low-production photo session is $ 1,500. My Digital Processing Fee is $ 2,200. Licensing depends on the specific usage (I normally license web usage for about $ 200 per year per image, with discounts offered for additional years and/or usages). I retain the rights to my photographs and do not enter into “work for hire” agreements. I do everything by contract in advance of the work performed and require a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total job costs, with the remaining 50% due upon delivery of the final pictures, before first usage..
A colleague explains to his clients that hiring a professional photographer is a lot like having a suit made by a tailor, as opposed to buying one off the rack.
But, to quote Red Adair (the man the oil companies used to hire back in the 1970’s to put out oil well fires):
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, just wait until you hire an amateur.”
I’ve been a professional photographer for six years and have the skills, equipment, knowledge and talent to produce photographs, which will help sell your products. I invested my life’s savings into buying the equipment, getting the training and the experience to become a professional photographer. People tend to think of it as a “fun hobby.” It is the hardest work I’ve ever done and I am no stranger to hard work. It is certainly my passion, however, it is also my business. But, if you want to pay me $ 50 to do so, might I suggest that you ask your nephew with the 2 mega-pixel point- and-shoot and a dream …
A good way to think about stock photography, is that stock photos are photos I’ve had for some time. People can license those photos without having to pay a creative fee or digital processing fee. Off the rack, as it were.