What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
My standardized pricing structure is based on time required and number of final images needed. I have developed this system through my career around what is required to make a reasonable living. I believe in fair-scales pricing, rather than what the market will bear.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Starting with assessing the client's needs and working up a shot-list to estimate upon, I think over, perhaps with concept sketches, and schedule a photo-shoot (with our without client present, depending on preference). Most of my work involves supplemental lighting and post-production Photoshop adjustments and enhancements. Final high-rez images are delivered to client, often online via DropBox, which others can also be sent access links to.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have an AA degree in commercial photography and assisted other photographers, but nothing replaces 30+ years of working assignments for clients as a full-time pro in this area.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I started early in a junior high program that was at a college level (color processing, printing, and using spotlights, umbrella lighting, and 4x5 cameras). I pretty much knew what I wanted to be professionally at age 13! I worked full-time in a catalog photo-studio for a year after high school and then got a degree in commercial photography at SCCC.
What types of customers have you worked with?
While I've provided a wide variety of services over the past 30+ years, the majority seem to be product and architectural work. Also enjoying more lifestyle assignments lately.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
Yesterday (10/5/15) I photographed a hand-held LED flashlight (see JPG samples), which involved merging several different lighting exposures. i think it is a good example of taking a somewhat ordinary product and making it look striking and irresistible.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
When comparing photographers, it is difficult to weigh apples-to-apples. Anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer, and you can get photography at any price-point, so look at how long they've been able to stay in business and ask to see a portfolio of several images similar to your needs. Years in business show not only experience, but fair dealings to sustain ongoing clients.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Consider what is your specific shot-list and realistic budget, before asking for quotes. Reality is a pro with quality equipment and actual studio space may make less than 50% profit, so consider this when weighing what's a fair price. Sorting through and Photoshoping "heroes" can take almost as long as the photo-shoot. Can a real photographer survive off a $200 shoot that takes over half a day when all is said and done? if you run the numbers, it takes over $800 every-other day to simply make a modest income, more with a studio space. Sorting through and Photoshoping "heroes" can take almost as long as the photo-shoot.