Why do photographers charge "ridiculous" prices?

After receiving the enquiry this week that most photographers dread, I felt compelled to write a blog explaining the logic behind my ridiculous prices.

"£160? For a baby smashing a cake??"

This was the response that awaited me when I replied to a Smash 'n' Splash enquiry and first and foremost I would like to apologise to the lady who thought that I was being rude when I detailed the exact cost of everything that goes into a cake smash session. I did this because I was made to feel that I should justify my prices. But it really wasn't my intention to be rude at all. I do however have a silly sense of humour and towards the end of my reply I added a flippant comment; that after realising just how much work goes into a cake smash, I may have just talked myself into raising my prices! And for this I apologise. I was genuinely mortified when I realised I had been mistaken for being rude. I would also like to point out that up until this point, I have never before been questioned on my prices by anybody.

When I receive a Smash 'n' Splash enquiry I always reply with a link to my pricing page so that potential customers can see for themselves exactly what they will be getting for their money. There is also a thorough explanation of exactly what to expect when you come for your session.

It was suggested to me that I had added "extra" into the session as a money making scheme when all that is needed are photos of a baby smashing a cake. But there is a very good reason for the session being split into three parts as any previous customer will vouch for. Babies are very unpredictable little beings and the amount of babies that simply sit and scream at the cake when it is presented to them, is quite honestly mind boggling! Some babies get stuck straight in and some take a little bribery but when all is said and done, you just never know how they're going to react. So by having a portrait session to begin with, followed by the cake smash and finishing with the bath session, we are usually guaranteed a good variety of photos which will fill a gallery. And normally, if a baby doesn't like the cake, they more often than not, love the bath tub! Thank goodness for small mercies!! Plus, you can take your little one home squeaky clean as opposed to sticky and cakey!

When I worked out my pricing for a Smash 'n' Splash session it was my top priority to keep my prices as competitive and affordable as possible. Your little one's first birthday is already an expensive enough time! I thought it was important to provide a selection of prints as well as digital copies of your child's first birthday photos so when you book your session with me you will receive 15 high resolution digital images on a keepsake USB along with 15 matching prints in a selection of sizes. It is very important to me in this digital age that the customer walks away with a tangible product which is good value for money rather than just some downloadable digital files sent to their computer.

And finally, I decided to sell my Smash 'n' Splash session as one complete package with no nasty surprises or hidden extras, what you see on my website is what you get, plain and simple!

When you make your booking with me and pay the small deposit to secure your date, you literally only need to choose your colour scheme and then sit back and relax. When you come to me for your Smash 'n' Splash session I provide the handmade cake (made by the award winning cake designers at The Sugared Thistle Cake Co. nonetheless!) the cake smash outfit, the balloons, bunting, pom poms and any other props that will be used during the session. This of course doesn't come cheap especially when you factor into the cost of any photo session, the overall expense of the business. Studio rent, the heating of the studio, monthly insurance, Facebook advertising, website and equipment costs, Photoshop monthly subscriptions.......the list goes on. And because my money tree is bereft of cash, that's where the session fee comes into play!

On the day of the session I arrive at the studio nice and early as it takes around an hour or so to set up for the shoot. The shoot itself is scheduled to last for an hour but depending on each child it may run over a little. So if baby happens to be upset, needs some gentle coaxing or lots of Mummy cuddles we take it all in our stride. It then takes an hour of my time to clean everything up and tidy away, maybe a little longer if baby REALLY enjoyed the cake! There have been times when I have found myself cleaning cake from the studio walls!

So, after the session is complete I just go home and edit a few photos, right??

Wrong!! So wrong! After a successful shoot I will probably have taken somewhere close to 300 images which in itself can take a fair amount of time to sort through, choosing the best photos to give the customer as varied a gallery as possible. And then it can take up to 3 days to edit the photos as a lot of my editing is juggled around my home life. So very often my work begins after my daughter has gone to bed in the evening, at the time when everybody else is winding down and beginning to relax. As I am writing this on a Saturday evening after my hubby has gone to bed, a glance at the clock tells me that it is 3.30am! Such a lot of a photographer's work is done at home, giving us very little spare time. It can be an endless cycle of uploading galleries, ordering USB's and packaging and strut mounts and prints.......the list is neverending!

I do however love my job and as a result, I enjoy all the hard work that goes into it. It's a privilege to be included in your baby's first birthday celebrations and I feel very strongly that when you choose me to be your photographer, you not only get to take home some beautiful photographs but also some very special memories too. And I really do hope that as well as providing a service, that I am providing you and your little family with an experience that you can treasure for years to come.

In summary, I suppose that what I'm trying to say is that although I could just take some photos of a baby smashing a cake, a little more thought has and will continue to go into it. And surprisingly enough, I do get plenty of customers with "my prices as they are" and very happy customers at that! Customers that return time and time again I'm very grateful to say. So in short I must be doing something right and thankfully not everybody will agree that my prices are ridiculous! And to prove it, I'll leave you with some photos of some very happy babies!

Smash 'n' Splash at www.fridayschildphotography.com

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