Valuing a Photographer

This post is going to end up being a bit of a "Vent" so I apologize but its also meant to help "Educate" and share a bit of the life of a professional photographer.  Its interesting to me to see that valuing a photographers career is something that not everyone does. Its almost like it is treated more like a "hobby". I suppose that has something to do with the fact that EVERYONE has a camera and many think they are photographers. People take photos as a hobby.  You dont see people trying to be a doctor or a lawyer as a hobby...no you hire a Professional to take care of you.  Just because people have easy access to the tools of taking photos still does not make them a professional. I know there is a fine line on what makes a photographer a professional verses a hobbiest. With photography unlike other careers you dont have to have a photography degree. So what makes us a professional photographer? Experience, continued education, talent and the fact that we are in the industry to make a living. For me...I am a professional photographer with over 14 years experience. I do continue to educate myself and push my creativity as much as I can. I am trying to make a living...pay bills and help put food on the table. It is very difficult to make a living when people do not respect what you do. I take what I do to heart. It is more than a job for me its my life and I LOVE it. I love designing and creating pieces for my clients more than anything.  I feel that if you are coming to Bliss you are hoping for something a little more. I wont defend or explain why I charge what I charge or the decisions I make as a business owner. I choose what works for Bliss and a reflection of the artist that I am. I wrote a whole "Bliss Experience" section on our website to help explain who I am and what Bliss Studio is all about. Here is what I have wrote:

I am calling it a Bliss Experience because that is just what it is....An Experience. Time invested in you and creating beautiful images of your family.

What I am not:

I am not a mall.

I am not a fast food place.

I am not a take my photos and give me a disk.

I am not a hurry up and rush you out the door.

I am not a quantity instead of quality studio.

I am not a multi photographer...get who you get studio.

I am not a cheap studio.

I am not a proof.

What I am:

I am a boutique studio.

I am quality.

I am finished product.

I am custom.

I am one on one service.

I am caring.

I am art.

If you want to see what else I wrote you can visit that section of our website. I explain about the whole Bliss process. This was not written to be rude or to scare people it was really written just to explain and be up front to people about what they can expect. I dont want people to hire me with one expectation and then for them to be disappointed.  And in all honesty if a client is looking for someone to take photos and just hand over a disk then they need to hire someone else. That is not who I am or who I want to be. I care about my work and want quality art in my clients homes. That is too important to me. I am also as much of a designer as I am a photographer now and its important that I can finish my work for my clients. Its funny because I can think of a couple ways to compare what I do. For one think of this. There are a million different places you can get a pedicure. You can pay $15 or you can pay $50 for the same pedicure. Or is it the same?  I can promise you that the service and care you get for that $15.00 pedi is NOT even close to the same as the $50 one. Now I realize there are exceptions to every rule but I have experienced both of these pedis. And I will admit there are times when the cheap one works and that is what I will do. I think the same can work in photography...I want to be the studio that is saved for the special time or the important time that you do not want to miss. I am more known for my storybook baby albums. This is what I LOVE. Its a special year and should be documented properly. Another way to look at is....How many of you go into a salon have the stylist apply your color and then you leave. You decide you can go home and rinse your color, cut and style your own hair? I am hoping none of you. Because it is your stylists job to finish his/her job. He/She is the artist...and will finish pampering you and style you beautifully. This is what its like for me. I take care of my clients through the whole process and want to finish my job. I do not sell copyright or allow my clients to scan and print thier own images just as your stylist would not let you walk out of their salon unfinished. This is my career. Not only are you stealing copyright but you are taking money out of my paycheck. Like I said this is how I make my living. I count on selling my work so I can pay bills and live.  I also believe there is a right photographer for everyone. Its okay if I am not a good fit for you even if you love my work. I understand. People who do not value what I do hurt my feelings.

Please take to heart this post (if you manage to make it through till the end. Sorry...I know this was a lot to read) and if you think I am a good fit for you I would LOVE to work with you. I hope you learned something or at least understand a little more about the challenges photographers face.

Thanks everyone...and to all my Bliss Clients...You guys rock and I do value you as much as I hope you value me. Without you I would not have my art!

~Whitney

My BlissWhitney Harlacher