The studio portrait session:
In this blog post I’d like to take the opportunity and share some of my experience from one of my latest portrait session, I did for a customer, and also shed some light on what it takes to create one of the, as some of my customers described, HD portraits.
I received an email from a client who was delighted by the portraits he saw on my Creative portrait photography portfolio and, as his birthday was approaching soon, he wanted me to quote him how much a photosession with me will cost him.
Now, this sometimes can be really tricky situation – if you have to quote to people who do not have any idea what is involved, and the cost of producing images of such level – this is why I’ll try to cover some of the aspects involved.
Luckily – this time my customer wasn’t the sort of person where as soon as I provided him with the cost of the photosession, would go and argue that it is very expensive. My fee, in this particular situation, was tailored to what my customer wanted – a studio photosession, with 3 retouched images as a final product.
Why I don’t have set cost for my creative portrait photography:
Every time someone get in touch with me, regarding my creative portraits, the first thing people want to know is how much the cost will be. Obviously I can not first quote a job, without knowing what exactly needs to be done.
Photography, itself, is a very interesting subject – an image can be created in so many different ways. To brake it simply, an image can be created on budget, medium range or high end, it’s all up to the budget and what the customer need.
In this instance, as my client wasn’t very savvy in participating in photosessions, I have offered him the following package – and he was perfectly happy with my offer.
Four hours photoshoot in a studio, with three retouched images as a final product. You may think, why four hours session for the creation of just three image – well let me explain.
- I have never met my client before, how can I guarantee I can capture creative portraits of him. The time is of an essence here, very often like in this case, people don’t have any previous experience of being in front of professional photographer and in a studio session – they don’t feel relaxed, it took some time for my client to relax so I can guide him and capture the best of him.
- My creative style of portrait photography is associated with complex strobe lighting – on average, it may take me at least an hour to set up and test the lighting and keep in mind when working in studio, after the photoshoot I need to tidy up and put all equipment as per the studio guidelines.
- Exploring what the person in front of the camera got to offer, as appearance. This will include changing outfits, adjusting or changing completely the lighting and further exploring and working to bring the best out of the person I’m photographing.
It happens couple of times when my customers admitted themselves, that towards the end of the session they just started to feel in their best shape and relaxed.
As my creative portrait photography is combination of complex strobe lighting and retouching techniques I apply to the images – retouching also plays very important part when quoting for the photosession and how many images, as final product, will be required. On average it can take me around three hours to retouch a single image.
As you can see, there are quite few factors needed to be considered before providing any fee for a potential photo-session.
The studio strobe lighting setup:
For this photo session I started with building first the more complex strobe lighting setup, my plan was to start with the more difficult lighting to set and then,a s we were progressing through the photo session, to make any changes or alterations.
There were only four Bowens strobes available In the local photo studio I’m using, that is why I brought some of my equipment – which consisted of Pocketwizard system and Canon speedlites. The way I triggered all strobes was by, first triggering my Canon speedlites, with Pocketwizard Flex TT5, with on camera Pocketwizard miniTT1 and they in return were triggering the Bowens strobes via optical slave.
You can see on the image below, the set I have prepared at the beginning of the photoshoot:
Retouching plays really important part in creating the HD look, as some of my customers described, on my creative portraits.
Retouching is not the same process as photo editing, while editing photos involve just minor global corrections – when retouching there are local major changes, correction and adjustment being made, in order to create the smooth high end look.
Below you can see examples of before and after images being retouched, and as I mentioned – on average it takes me three hours to edit a single photo (this all depends on the subject being photographed).
This was a very brief outline of what it takes to organize and finish one of my signature style – creative portrait session. I hope I managed to provide you with enough information, and in case something isn’t very clear you are always very welcome to drop a comment and ask a question.
Thank you very much for reading my Photography blog!
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