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Portrait Collections: Only buy the images you love

Jun 26, 2023

One of the most confusing things when choosing a photographer is trying to compare what one photographer offers to what another offers, especially when it comes to what is included in your purchase.  Photography is not a regulated industry, that makes it really hard to compare apples to apples as each photographer does things their own way.  

There are four broad categories that most photographers fall into with their pricing model:

  • All Inclusive
  • Packages
  • A La Carté
  • Product Credit

Here's a little more about how each pricing model works:

All Inclusive

- in this model the photographer will charge a session fee that also includes the finished product.  Most often that product is just the digital files that come straight out of the camera.  This model is often referred to as "shoot and burn photography" because the images are delivered burned onto a CD, thumbdrive, or digital download.  Sometimes this model includes photo editing and a physical product like a professional album, but not always.  The benefits of this model are that you pay one price and know what that price is going in.  The negatives are that you are left to do all the work of printing and displaying your portraits on your own, you usually don't get professional level, archival products, and the photographer makes all the decisions about which images are included so your finished images may not be what you really want, need, or love the most.


- in this model there may be a session fee up front or there may not be, but either way there are defined packages for you to choose from once you see your images.  The packages will include digital and/or printed products.  Most packages will have a set number of poses included.  The advantage of this model is that it is easy to choose the package that fits your budget.  The disadvantages are that packages are designed for what "most people" want or the photographer wants to sell so they may not have all the things you want, or included as many of the poses as you want, and will probably contain some things that aren't important to you.

A La Carté

- in this model you usually pay a session fee up front that covers your time with the photographer.  After the session you will see the images the photographer created and the products they offer and you can buy the product you want and choose which pose to use for which product.  The advantage of this model is that you get to choose which products and images you want to pay for.  The disadvantage is that you lose the package discount.  

Product Credit

- in this model the session fee includes a credit that is applied to products and packages the photographer offers.  If you want to spend more than the product credit items can be added to your purchase.  You still have all the choices of the A La Carté or Package model, but the product credit gives you a built in discount.  The advantage of this model is that you have the freedom to choose what appeals to you, but still have an idea going in of what you will be spending.  The disadvantage is that the credit may not cover all the things you want to purchase.

Photographers using each of these models might choose to have a session fee or they might choose to only charge for the products purchased.  They will also personalize the model they choose to fit their business and may even mix the models or offer different elements from one or two of them.  That's great news for you, because just like every photographer chooses what works best for them, you can choose what works best for you.  The key is in asking up front about the details so that you have all the facts you need to make a decision on who you want to hire.  

Some questions to ask a potential photographer include:

  • Do you charge a session fee?
  • How much is your session fee?
  • What does the session fee include?
  • Do you offer packages?
  • Are digital files included?
  • How does the ordering process work?

How we do things:

The question you may have now is how do we do things?  We believe strongly that you should only buy the images you love, you should have a physical, professional level, archival product and the corresponding digital file for each one of those images, and the more you buy, the more you should save. 

We accomplish those goals by charging a session fee that covers our time and expenses to create your poses and includes a product credit to get you started.  Some people choose to limit their purchase to that product credit, most people apply the credit to a larger order.  We only want there to be good surprises, though, so during the Style & Planning Consultation we will show you all the products we offer and go over our complete pricing menu.  We will ask how you want to display your finished artwork and what your needs are.  You will leave the consultation with a copy of our prices and a written estimate of your expected purchase based on your responses.  At the Portrait Session we will work hard to give you a variety of poses to choose from for the products you've selected without taking tons of extra poses you aren't interest in.  After your session, you will see all the digital proofs and choose the images and products you love to finalize your order.  Once the order is placed, the purchased images will be fully retouched, printed on archival products, and delivered (with their corresponding digital files) to your doorstep.  Unpurchased digital files are not included in your order, but are saved for you (barring unforseen circumstances beyond our control) in case you ever change your mind.

Are you all in and ready to schedule your session?  The first step in the process is to schedule a Style & Planning Consultation by clicking the link in the upper right corner, however, you can also go ahead and reserve your session time by clicking the "Let's do this!" button below.

Let's do this!

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