Let's be honest this is going to be a super hard post to write or even talk about for that matter. Our pricing... Eeeekkk! So let me start off by saying that this is not me complaining or talking about any other photographer out there, this is strictly why our pricing works for us and how we have come up with our prices. I absolutely love, love, love what I do. There is nothing better in this life than to wake up each day getting to be a creative, to be an artist, and actually make a living at it. There is not a day that goes by that I am not truly thankful for this as my career! I just want to shed some light on why our prices are higher than the "100 images for $30" photographer, and why we could never charge that and make it in this industry.
First off, we have BILLS, we maintain a beautiful studio on the main street in downtown Charles Town, this allows us a place to shoot newborn, some maternity, and boudoir sessions, it also serves us as a gallery for our work, a place to conduct ordering sessions, consultations, our new Tiptoe Teaches photography series, and our regular meetings. Tiptoe now consists of 5 photographers, so it is imperative that we have a space like this to call home. Does it come with a heavy price tag? Yes, between rent, electric, trash, internet, insurance, maintenance, etc, we are paying dearly for what we love and need!
Secondly, we are an official LLC. We are registered to pay taxes, carry insurance, have an accountant, pay for lots of equipment, and a rash of other things that come with the price of doing business OFFICIALLY, and again we couldn't have it any other way. Our goal going into this business has always been to be official and to grow... a Tiptoe Studios franchise in every state! LOL! As much as we would love to do this as a hobby, that is just not the kind of photographers we are. We are serious about it, it is our career, it is our baby. I feel like our clients, especially wedding clients, should have some peace knowing that we are going to still be in business and going full steam ahead, by the time your wedding rolls around! Not here one day and gone the next.
Third and maybe most important, we spend TIME with and on you. On average, a Tiptoe client (for a regular session), from start to finish takes us anywhere from 7-12 hours to complete. From the initial contact, to the session, to the editing, to the ordering, it really does take us hours to make sure the client has had the Tiptoe experience. So if we were just charging $30 per session, after bills, we would probably be making something like 10 cents and hour. Is making a couple dollars per session worth hours upon hours of my time away from my family? Nope. So when you see our hefty price tag of $40 for an 8x10 or $1300 for a session CD remember you are paying this for our expertise, our style, and our artwork. You, the client, would never be able to go out with another photographer and EVER capture the same images that we did, organically. Each photographer sees things a different way, and that is what makes it ART. Tiptoe is not the walk-in studio that has lights everywhere and 15 backdrops that get used over and over again with the same 4 poses (not that there is anything at all wrong with that, it's just not what we are trying to achieve). Rest assure you will get something unique when you come to us! At least that is what we are hoping for when you choose us as your photographer. *wink*wink.
In closing, does it bother us or even hurt our feelings when potential clients turn their nose up at our pricing? Well the answer is, of course, YES! As an artist we always wonder if they are saying that our ART isn't worth that? We have to keep reminding ourselves that we know we are a high-end studio that may not be everyones cup of tea. We want the clients that will appreciate the moments we want to uniquely capture for them, so if pricing weeds them out, that is okay with us. Generally speaking, we are all people pleasers at Tiptoe and we hate to have anyone out there that genuinely LOVES and appreciates our style, but they just can't honestly afford us. So many, many times a year we do things like our mini sessions, picture parties, school portrait day and giveaways, so that these potential clients can use us and get a great deal! It may not be the complete Tiptoe experience but you will still leave with some really great images. However, even after offering what we think is a great solution for those clients that don't want the hefty price tag for a session, we still get the occasional neigh sayer. We think highly of our work and know that it is worth every penny you may pay for it. So like a lot of artists, whether it be a beautician, graphic designer, interior decorator, and even photographer, you are paying for an individual and their talents. I would never go to my beautician and tell her that she isn't worth my $45 trim because her scissors only cost a couple dollars. I know going there I am paying for her talent and because I love the way SHE does my hair. Again, not everyone may be as particular as me, but regardless I feel like there is always something out there that people would pay more for because they are getting something personal and geared just toward them.
I sincerely hope that I have not offended anyone, as this was not at all my intention. I really just wanted to be able to voice why we charge more than some other photographers. I hope this post comes off that way! Please feel free to leave us a comment and let us know what you think!