I knew I was taking a risk by offering a discount photo session and what I feared most is that potential clients would just wait until I offered the next one. Before I even consider a second Rapid Fire Portrait Session, I would like to explain why it might not be the right fit for some people. It's like buying a one-size-fits-all shirt versus the one in your exact size and having it tailored to fit even better.
I understand that photographs are often not what people want to be spending their money on, but they're sometimes needed. Rapid Fire is a discounted session for a few reasons, but it boils down to being cheaper for me to produce. It is primarily a good fit for people in the entertainment industry and probably not the best fit for really any other profession (think real estate, academia, for a conference, for a professional website, etc). When scheduling your photo shoot, please be aware of what you might need so you know a) what to ask for and b) what you're spending your money on.
1. Camera & Lens combo (What I paid): $1,581 vs. $803
Same light set up, same VSCO filter applied - Difference in the cameras
(click the image to enlarge)
Both are very nice images, but those extra couple of hundred dollars give the photo that extra edge.
2. Lighting: Hard vs. Soft
This is mostly gibberish, but the RF shots use hard light - which is fine for a quick, off the cuff, fun photo session, but I would never recommend it for a professional photo or regular portraiture. I might change up the lighting set up for the next RFPS, but it will likely be another one-size-fits-all, fun, bright, high contrast lighting set up.
(click on an image to enlarge)
3. Session length: 30 min. vs. 60 min.
I spend a lot of time with you posing you and working with you to get the most out of your shoot. I spend time ensuring the lighting is hitting you correctly. I spend time composing the shots more. I spend time switching the lighting, ensuring my settings are correct, that everything is perfect. In the 30 minute RF sessions, you sit down in one spot and I just click away.
4. Editing / Post-processing: 15 min - 30 min vs. 1 - 4 hours
This is important for me to explain. People often wonder why photography costs so much, but a lot of the work happens in front of a computer screen. I spend hours on my photos, not only adjusting the lighting and colors to fit a mood, but also editing out minor imperfections (and I do mean minor. I'm not altering anyone's physical appearance drastically), without making it appear overly air brushed. I can spend hours on a single photo. What brings the price down is doing editing in house - I just can't afford to work with a professional retoucher at my current price-point. With the RF shots, I slapped on a VSCO filter, toyed around with it a bit, batch applied it to everyone's photos, and did some minor edits here and there.
(click on the "Before and After" image to enlarge)
4a. Editing - Mood / Vibe
A single photo can go in a few different directions based on the editing. To illustrate this, I've taken one photo and edited it two different ways. Before the image goes into an Adobe program, I want to do as much work in the cameras as possible - so I placed my (hard) light off to the side and high up to emulate George Hurrell's style and attached a pro-mist filter to my lens to soften things up and give it a vintage-y look. For the sake of time, I did minor adjustments in Lightroom before adding two different VSCO filters to show how different the mood of the image can be with editing.
(click the image to enlarge)
5. Photo minimum and turnaround: 2 photos in 1 week vs. 5 photos in 3-4 weeks.
All the above mentioned works into the photo minimum and the turnaround. First off, the minimum makes the time worthwhile for everyone. It is not worth an hour of futzing around with my equipment, using my studio, blocking out my day, and doing a photo shoot for just one image. A 5 photo minimum ensures you have choices. The two photo minimum for RF is just a reduction of the same concept to fit the 30 minute, minimal set up, but I had a number of clients in one day to make it worth my while. Additional photos take additional time. If you have a tight turnaround, you need to communicate those needs when scheduling your shoot and if it's sooner than what I offer, it requires additional payment since that's my time not being spent on other work.
Be sure to communicate your needs. What are these photos for? Do you require a wardrobe change? Do you need a full body portrait? When do you need the photos delivered by? Is that within my turn-around time or not? How do you feel about post-processing? Are there aspects of your features that you absolutely do not want altered? Are there aspects of your features you do not want photographed? Do you have a side preference? All of these questions are things I need to know, and will happily ask you about, but it's helpful for me if we can communicate more clearly.
Ultimately, RF is a fast and fun way of getting some promotional material on a budget, but it does keep to the old platitude of "you get what you pay for." I hope this post better explains what you're paying for. If you are on a tight budget, please do not hesitate to say so because we can likely work together to determine a payment plan.