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I shot this session about a month ago, but I’m catching up on posting blogs….

You may remember Tiffany from an earlier blog post showcasing her Malaya-styled maternity session.   Her baby Saiphera Marie is part of our Baby Steps portrait plan where we photograph your baby from the newborn stage through age one.   Fun fact:  at every newborn session, since we photograph the entire family, we give the mama a little pampering too.  Mom’s get their makeup done by Rina and it’s totally on the house.  We know how it is just having a baby and although, yes, parenthood is so amazing, you also have to deal with being perpetually fatigued and stained with various baby fluids.   Not to mention the anxiety wondering if and/or when your pre-baby body will make it’s triumphant return and how that translates in photos.   DCPG’s got your back, mamas – we’ll help you feel good and look good!

Jaison, Tiffany + Baby Saiphy

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Love the matching expressions, plus how her tiny hand is clutching his finger:

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Motherhood suits Tiffany well:

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Jaison wanted to do one of those shots where you hold the baby in just your hands, but being that Saiphy was almost a month old at this point, we settled for this.  Still cute!  She’s so photogenic:

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Tummy time!  Check her sweet faux-hawk:

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Jaison is a local musician (an awesome singer/keyboardist/songwriter) and when Saiphy was being fussy he picked up my daughters $10 keyboard and serenaded her with a song he wrote for her.  She was calmed almost instantly – it was amazing.   I wish I took audio of him singing, it had a really catchy melody.   She seems like she’s listening intently:

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Like father, like daughter:

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Adorable polka dot theme:

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By the way, happy 4th birthday to my nephew (Rina’s son) Tonio!!!  He is so cute it’s just ridiculous:

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– Cies

We just signed up with a sweet new service that allows you to book your own appointments online!  You can book everything – photo sessions, consultations, purchasing appointments.  You even have the option to pre-pay online via PayPal for your session!

Book Online Now

[Regular blog posts are below]

Olivia is the latest inductee into our Baby Steps plan.  I’ve known her mom, Tina, since our high school days slinging fast food Italian for $4.25 (!!!) an hour.    Tina was worried she was too late to get into the portrait plan because Olivia was closer to 4 months, but we’re totally flexible – if your baby is over 3 months (or even later), you can still get the same $250 pricing.  It’s basically a way to get 4 consecutive shoots for a really, really good price.

I’m a little bit biased when I say Olivia is one of the prettiest babies I’ve ever seen because she reminds me a LOT of our daughter when she was that age.     I love getting to photograph all these babies because it brings back memories, plus it’s a perfect excuse to just play with and hold babies all the time.   DCPG loves kids, so we have a great job for sure.

We did mostly solo pics of her in various outfits, but her parents were soo cute with her that I decided to get some shots of them interacting too.

Cuteness on the floor of her nursery:

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Look at this face!!! So precious:

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Tina and Jason absolutely adore her.  They were so sweet to watch:
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We finally wore her out:

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– Cies

I had started writing a similar article/rant about this very subject, but then I stumbled on this post which very perfectly summed it up.    Yes, there are many photographers who charge so much less than DCPG or other mid to high-end custom photographers, but price is just part of the consideration.    Please, please, please, read on:

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The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and ability to control various factors during the image taking and making process. Photographers, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur all benefit from this ability to manipulate pixels. However, with flexibility comes a price. Digital camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into creating a work of photographic art.

We all know that you can go to the local Walgreen’s and pay a $1.99 for a print – as a client you may wonder why you may pay upwards of $50, $70, $90 for a custom photography print. Photographers hear this statement every once in awhile:

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at x store?”

The truth of the matter is the answer to this question is multifaceted. Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time, equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer not to mention expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.

The cost of TIME

Approaching it from a time standpoint, let’s imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love. This photographer is traveling an hour to your destination to photograph your session.

Here is an example of a time break down:

  • session prep time (30 mins – 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
  • one hour travel time TO session
  • 15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home
  • 90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subject
  • one hour travel time FROM session
  • 30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
  • 30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
  • 2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
  • 1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
  • 2-3 hours time with client for ordering images
  • 1 hour sorting through and checking order
  • 30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery
  • 30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped
  • any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 13 hours to 19 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service. This is time dedicated only to ONE session. When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.

The COSTS of Maintaining a Custom Photography Business:

Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer. Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital SLR for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography. A good lens for portrait photography can run from $900 to $2500. A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer.

Then come lab costs for specialty products. A good photographer knows the lab is integral to their success. Photography labs dedicated to the professional photographer often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for you, the discerning client.

Discussion other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip many of the intricate details. There is of course much more: including costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.

APPLES to ORANGES to BANANAS:

Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $19.99 for an 8×10 “sheet” or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains. The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service. In February 2007 leased photography retail space by a rather well known discount department store that started in Arkansas closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation? The reason is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ “professional” prints if you do not sell enough of them. Interestingly enough – those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10). The whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait services in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments. Your “PORTRAITS” are considered the “loss leader”.

Going to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home where your child is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for or the lovely captures of natural expressions. You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience. Keep this in mind when selecting a photographer.

REPUTATION/EXPERTISE of the PHOTOGRAPHER:

Being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part. Their expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism. A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography. Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream? They often neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc..

Being of sound reputation, a better professional photographer knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch. To create good work good equipment, reliable equipment, back up equipment is a necessity. The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalelled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability. This is how reputations get built. Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.

I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories. The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment.

content is inspired by discussions with other photographers, my own personal experiences and outline based on an article by San Diego Photographers Caught On Film Photography

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Couldn’t have said it better myself! I hope this helps you guys understand our industry…

We had a triple header on Sunday, with myself shooting newborn Adriana and recent grad Audrianna in VB and the boys shooting the Wrights off in Oceanview.   I’ll have the Wright family pics up in a later post when I get some edits from the guys!

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but there were lots of similarities between my two shoots:  their similar names,  the milestone portrait session, they were both beautiful girls and both shoots were gifts from family members (brothers, to be exact).    My homie Gary bought the Baby Steps Plan for his brother and Audrianna’s brother paid for her Malaya session as well.    Portraiture is a GREAT gift – especially for important moments like a new baby or celebrating your first steps into adulthood…priceless.

Btw, take note people,  this is a really good example of coordinating outfits without matching.  Cute color palette and good lookin’ fam!

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Baby Adriana was only 10 days old and slept pretty much through her entire shoot.  When we did get her to open her eyes, I was so glad because she had pretty blue/green eyes:

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Proud papa:

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A few hours after Adriana’s shoot, it was Audrianna’s turn.   I never met her nor really knew anything abut her until the day she showed up; her brother booked the shoot and I only spoke to her via text message (kids these days!) but right when she walked in, Rina and I knew it would be a great shoot.   She was a photographer’s dream – super duper nice and also drop dead gorgeous.   We decided to stay close by and just wander around Town Center.   We avoided the fountain area and instead explored the Westin,  the Sandler Center courtyard and the small “park” across the street.

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Her boyfriend tagged along which I give him mad props for…Malaya shoots are extemely long and boring for the people who aren’t the subject but he hung in there.  When we finished up her shoot, I grabbed a couple of shots of them together:

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Upcoming posts:  Hiecee’s Malaya & family shoot (ask about that discount for both shoots!), the Wright fam, and the Kunda boys.  Oh and if you haven’t, please check out our new mini page featuring recent Phototbooth jobs plus tons of information about booking our Photobooth services at your next event.

– Cies

Tiffany is one of our first clients in our brand new Baby Steps portrait sessions program.    She is 7 1/2 months along, so it was the perfect time to shoot her complimentary maternity portraits, which is the first of five total sessions that come with the package (more details after the photos).    It was the first session I’ve photographed since we ceased using our rental studio, so at first I was a little apprehensive in not having as much space and equipment around.   To my surprise, it was much more convenient shooting at home and now I’m not so sad about losing the studio.

I’ve actually known Tiffany since middle school and although we really weren’t that closely acquainted, I always knew her to be very sweet and kind.  In recent years, she worked at the same place as my sister Rina (as do 90% of my first Malaya clients), so when it came time to do her maternity portraits, she contacted DCPG.   We were very sad to hear that about a week prior, her mother passed away.  Despite the sudden and tragic circumstances,  Tiffany was strong and did so beautifully at her maternity session – a true testament to her spirit.  We are looking forward to finding ways to honor Tiffany’s mother in the future portrait sessions w/ her granddaughter.

In classic Malaya fashion, we did a few clothed outfits and then went into boudoir-style maternity portraits.    I tend to favor semi-nudes or tight clothing to show off the bump – pregnant women are beautiful and yes, they can be sultry!  Here’s a clothed one w/ our signature Malaya backdrop:

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Hot mama:

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Stilettos and a smile, baby:

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This next shot was Rina and Tiffany’s idea – here’s Tiffany unwrapping the best present ever:

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Baby Steps is our brand new portrait plan that covers your baby’s entire first year in a series of portrait sessions:

DCPG Baby Steps – $250.00 one-time payment

Complimentary Maternity Session (if you book us ahead of time!)
Newborn Session
3 months old Session
6 months old Session
One year old Session
5″ x 7″  Brag Book with 2 photos from each session
— OR —
24″ x 9″ Wall Collage featuring 1 photo from the newborn, 3 mos, 6 mos and 1 year session

We’re really excited to finally offer a baby plan – contact us today to book your first session!

We’ve been uber-busy with shoots lately and Mendell did a GREAT family shoot the same day as Tiffany’s maternity portraits (the joys of having 2 other partners!), so stay tuned for another blog post.

– Ciesther