You get what you pay for

My love for photography started while I was stationed in Germany.  Back then in 2007, I had a little point and shoot camera.  I would travel to the most beautiful places, and my camera wasn’t capturing what was in front of my eyes. I made the investment in a DSLR, and soon learned that Auto mode wasn’t cutting it either. I discovered that I had to tell the camera what to do.  I learned what I could from YouTube, and learned about shutter speeds and apertures.  I had no clue what ISO was. Once I moved back to the US, I began to practice on my family.  I must have been pretty good (or at least that’s what I thought), because then their friends and my friends started contacting me to do their portraits.


It was at this point I decided to start charging.  After all, I was riding all over town to do their sessions.  However, I had NO business sense.  In my mind, I thought that charging $50 was reasonable.  I did everything, from newborns to families to weddings.  And, I was still struggling with the settings on my camera.  And then coming home and spending hours on PicMonkey to edit the images.  Oh, and on top of that, I was a shoot and burn photographer.  Meaning, I would give my clients all the edited images on a CD.  Here is an example of my work from this timeframe (I cringe looking at these):

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Then, I saw on Facebook a posting from Landers Photography School about their Photo 101 class.  I enrolled, and Jim Landers truly blew me away with all of the information that I received.  After my 6 weeks there, I was able to tell the improvement in my photos.  I still had a lot to learn, especially the business aspect of this career.  I found an amazing mentor, Christina Ramirez, who convinced me to raise my prices, and charge what I am worth. 


I say all that to say this, this area is saturated with photographers.  You will definitely find a photographer willing to do a session for $100.  But understand, you get what you pay for.  I’m able to charge what I do because I am providing an experience for all my clients.  From the time that the contract is signed and a date made for a session, I’m involved.  I help my clients with their outfits, provide them with color guides so they know what colors work for their skin tones and what colors to avoid.  I’m in constant communication to ensure they aren’t stressing out.  I show up to the session ready and excited, and with an assistant so that the parents can be in the moment with their Senior.  I have a Reveal and Order session, and make the ordering as seamless as possible.  Most importantly, I’m educated and know my camera! 


You only get to do your Senior year once, now is the time to invest in this important time of your life.    

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Danyelle Johnson