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Yearly Archives: 2010

Vanessa-By Lindsey Vavra/RGV Harlingen,Texas Photographer

Vanessa was a total blast, a natural in front of the camera and not shy to be in front of a crowd. Thanks Vanessa for being so easy going and fun!  More photos to come soon!

We are here!

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to write a little note and let you know that we are here and we are working!!!  Both of my kids are not going to any type of scheduled child care this summer simply because  THEY ARE GROWING TO FAST and I just HAVE to spend more time with them.  So, I will not be posting every job to the blog….I never have publicly posted all of our work simply due to lack of time..but my fall goal will be to post every job we do, of course minus those who still wish to keep their sessions private.  :)

Our first week of summer I have had to spend several daytime hours in front of the computer, but the boys and I have also been busy reading, learning new things, doing a couple of science experiments and made a two day beach trip-not bad.  I plan to post some pictures of them soon!

Next week I will have scheduled computer work time on Tuesday and Thursday, so I will be sure to post some of the fun sessions  we have been doing then.  And if you need me for anything..that will be the best time to catch me!

Hope you all are having a great summer and are keeping cool!

Hugs to you all!

Summer Availability

I will be posting our new calendar soon.
We are BOOKED through August 13th. With exception of newborns and “Joyful Babies” that are due for the milestone sessions.

Rummel Family-By Lindsey Vavra/RGV Harlingen,Texas Photographer

J.J. and I had too much fun with the sweet family!  James is an very smart little boy who has incredible rhythm.  Thank you for letting do a session of  your wonderful family!

Pricing Article

Why does custom photography cost more?

Article written by: Marianne Drenthe

Digital technology is brilliant.  The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and amazing amounts of control for the photographer, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur.  With flexibility comes a price though.  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 all of this.

Even though you pay $1.99 for a print at your local drugstore and paying for film is pretty much a thing of the past (although you still pay for memory)  you may be wondering why you may pay upwards of $40, 50, 70, 90 for a custom photography print. Some 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 the local drug store?”

The answer is multifaceted and has a lot to do with the time, aforementioned equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer, expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.


Approaching it from a time standpoint, for instance let’s imagine if you will that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love and that is travelling an hour to your on location session.  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

As you can see, average client time for a session ranges from just under 13 hours to 19 hours dependent on the photographer’s level of service.  This is time dedicated only to your session.  When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot 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.


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 up $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 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.


Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $25 for an 8×10 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.  According to several articles at the time, did you know that in February 2007 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 studios 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 true “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.


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/unparalleled 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.

Interesting Article on Pricing

I decided to place a few articles on our site to inform you of why good professional photographers charge what they do.  These articles are not to defend our pricing…we are not even close to being the most expensive photographers in town, but rather to inform you on all photographers and remind you..cheaper is hardly ever better.  We no longer shoot weddings, but if you are searching for a wedding photographer, please make sure you do not shop by price.

Photography Pricing

Photographer for hire: Why a professional photographer does it better than your boyfriend.

By BrianX | January 4th, 2005

After speaking to a number of semi-pro and professional photographers, it seems that there is growing frustration among them when it comes to photography prices and services. As the number of digital photographers continues to increase, it seems there are a lot of misunderstandings as to what a photographer can do for you.

Hiring a Photographer

Individuals and companies of all types regularly call the photographers listed in the BrianX Professional Photographer Network to inquire about prices and services. Ultimately for many, the choice of whether or not to hire a photographer comes to down price. If they do choose to hire one, they must evaluate the great photos in their online portfolios and decide who they can afford. Since this is the type of thing that is rarely stated, I feel it is time to set the record straight.

Amazed at the Price!

A popular reason for many calls and emails received by photographers is to inquire about basic headshots, event photographers, model portfolio photo shoots and their respective prices. The truth is that the range of photography prices is highly variable and depends on many factors such as location (in studio versus traveling to a location) and length of time needed for a particular session.

Pricing can be as low as $50 up to $500 or higher for a portrait session alone. In my opinion, any photographer selling their services for $50 probably isn’t much of a professional, although that’s not to say that the job cannot be done properly. Still, many people are absolutely amazed at the fees associated with photography so let me explain what is involved in the process.

Your Boyfriend with His $300 Camera is Not a Professional

First of all, a professional photographer is not your boyfriend grabbing a point-and-click camera on the fly. If you want that, simply ask your boyfriend, best friend’s cousin, or grandmother to take your photos and you’re all set.

Second, a photographer’s time and experience are valuable. You’re not simply going to someone’s place of business and asking him/her to “just take a few pictures.” It does not work that way. Even if you only need one shot, it will take time to find the best angle, prepare the lighting, and possibly choose the correct outfit for that one memorable photo. A photographer will give you advice on what to wear, make-up, and so on. They have done this before and guide you as needed. That’s why professional photos look professional and the photos you took using your aunt’s camera with your closet, computer desk, wall, bed, and carpet in the background of a poorly lit photo will not look all that great.

Third, I assure you that professional photography equipment costs a lot more than your best friend’s camera. A high quality camera, specialized lenses, memory cards, digital software, tripods, umbrellas and lighting, and colorful background are professional-grade and are quite expensive. You benefit from the latest professional technology being used in the photographs, and used properly at that.

Next, the time it takes to produce your one headshot is more than the actual sitting session. It involves setting up the equipment in advance, blocking off time for the photo shoot itself, uploading the photos and going through them after the shoot, digital touch-ups to the photos chosen for printing, burning the photos onto CDs, bringing them to the photo lab, returning to the photo lab the next day to pick them up and then waiting for you to pick up your prints or mailing them to you. You may have lots of time on your hands but you should always be aware that photographers are busy running a business.

I think most would agree that that is a lot of work for a small fee, hence the great value you get from working with professional photographers. Moreover, I assure you that one of the biggest pet peeves of all photographers is people who do not show up for the photos and are too inconsiderate to call and let the photographer know that they cannot make it. Photographers don’t get paid in those circumstances (unless a small booking deposit was requested) but still took time to set up the shoot and possibly turned someone else down during that period of time because it was pre-booked.

Finally, a professional photographer does this for a living. If it were that simple, many photographers would not count on gigs to be their livelihood. Again, this is not your father lending you his camera to take a few photos. Photographers take pictures for a living and you must understand that when making inquiries about pricing.

The Cost of Photography Service

Whether you’re a model or actor in need of fresh portraits and portfolio shots, a couple looking for a professional wedding photographer, an event coordinator with a big production coming, there is always one question on your mind: How much?

Can you put a price on lifelong wedding night memories? I’d have to say no (unless you get divorced but that’s a whole other story!). The price of the photos and video might be several thousand dollars but the value is much more since you will get more benefit out of the photos than the paper the photos are printed on will cost.

Let me re-iterate the price versus value issue. The cost of a bottle of water is typically about $1 and its value to you is a dollar because that is what it is worth to you to quench your thirst. If you are walking through the desert, you may be willing to pay a lot more for that bottle of water because its value is now much higher than the cost. How does this relate to photography? Spending a few extra dollars for a photographer who takes an outstanding photo and gets you the acting role of a lifetime is worth more to you than the measly cost of the gig.

You should purchase photography services (and anything else you buy) based on value not price. That thinking can change your life, I assure you.

Stock Photography Pricing

One final point, regarding stock photography pricing. Stock photos are those that photographers amass and sell. It could include a visit to the zoo or photos of an office building. There are many websites now selling stock photos, many for as little as a dollar per photo. There is a lot to be said that goes beyond this article but essentially, keep in mind that when you purchase stock photos, it is also not just a matter buying “some guy’s pictures.” Frequently the photos took hours of the photographer’s time, from set-up to uploading to the stock photo selling website. They should be compensated accordingly.

The Digital Photography Services Price List

It’s impossible for me to tell you what to pay as there are so many different factors involved. A freelance event photographer may charge less than one who has to pay rent for a studio, for example. Most photographers have an established photography price list with varying rates which form the basis of their business. They modify them based on specific needs and ultimately it is up to you to appreciate what they do and pay for services (or not).

BrianX Articles

RGV ShootOut

Hello Everyone,

Last Thursday we went the our monthly RGV Photographer’s Guild meeting and they had something really cool planned for us.  We usually have awesome photographers from all around Texas sharing very useful information with us.  JJ and I get so much out of these meetings and it is always great to meet up with our photographer friends.

This last Thursday we had a shootout.  That is when you get a bunch of models together and photographers follow them around telling them how to pose themselves while playing with their lights.  Accomplished photographers were there helping people along the way.

We enjoyed it immensely.   The only problem was that there were too many photographers and not enough models.  JJ and I decided to get some of our equipment from the van and we saw this random couple (not models) standing next to us.   I saw them and said, “We have to photograph y’all!”  They never said yes but they never said no either.

They were such great sports letting us take photos of them and letting us play around with new techniques.  Below are some of the photos we took and I hope you like them.