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Photography Question 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
 

How many Proofs and How much editing??


I have asked this question before but I can't remember if it was here. . . anyway . .. I am wanting to truly work with doing Senior Portraits. . . and have recently done two sittings of two girls. .. each time I took between 150-200 shots . . . the first girl ended up with almost 100 proofs and the 2nd a little over 100. . . My 1st question is. .. how many proofs do most provide and 2nd how much editing is done to them .. . I just got the order from the first girl yesterday and of the almost 100 she basically ordered 5or 6 shots and it was very difficult for her to choose(which is a good thing because she liked so many). . . I do not print all of the proofs so the expense for that isn't necessarily a factor it's mainly the editing time. . . I spent easily 10-12 hours on each sitting and just don't know if that was worth it for only 6 poses chosen? However . . .I don't want them not being satisfied even though I can tell them that adjustments can be made(blemish control, etc). I talked to another mom who used a different photographer for her daughters' and they thought she had about 76 proofs. . . My thoughts are to take between 100-150 shots and try to get 50-75 proofs depending on the client(boy or girl) and how many outfits they have, etc.

The first girl told me she wanted lots of choices but as I sat there with them it took them forever to decide and I think so many choices was overwhelming and she was only looking at about 30 of them in the end because I printed off the 30 she wanted to actually see in print. . .


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8/16/2005 6:23:41 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  YOU KNOW MICHELLE,
THERE IS NO HARD AND FAST RULE FOR THIS: TO EACH HIS OWN.
I LOVE THAT YOU TOOK SO MANY SHOTS , YOU ARE AS BAD AS I AM-
YOU LOVE YOUR WORK AND A GREAT SUBJECT.
I THINK 50 TO 75 IS ENOUGH FOR A SINGLE SUBJECT, YES THE MORE YOU GIVE THEM THE MORE YOU SHOULD SELL AND IN WEDDINGS I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER TO "GET IT ALL-SHOT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT"
BUT FOR SENIORS AND BUSINESS PEOPLE, MATURNITY -THEY WILL USUALLY NARROW IT DOWN TO ONLY A CHOSEN FEW.
NOW, AS FAR AS EDITING GOES, PLEASE TAKE THIS WITH THE SPIRT IN WITCH IT IS INTENDED- TO HELP YOU.
IT'S GOING TO TAKE AS MUCH TIME AS IT TAKES UNTILL YOU CAN LEARN TO SHOOT TO PRINT.
BOY, CORP. STUDIO WORK IS'NT WORTH MUCH EVEN AS UPPER MANAGEMENT GOES- ***BUT IT DOES TEACH YOU DISAPLINE.***
SEE THEY ONLY GIVE YOU SO MANY SHOTS TO COMPLEATE YOUR SITTING- 5 SHOT SET-YOU GET 6- 10 SHOT SITTING YOU GET 12.
* SO WE TEACH TO FRAME AND SHOOT TO PRINT.
I TEACH THIS EVEN TODAY IN HOPES THAT THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE MY CLASSES WILL BE ABLE TO LEARN HOW TO CUT DOWN ON THE EDITTING-
AND SOME HERE HAVE GOTTEN T'D OFF AT THE CONCEPT OF DOING MOST THINGS THROUGH THE CAMERA-
AGAIN TO CUT OUT THE PS TIME.
THATS WHY I PUT UNTOUCHED ON PORTRAITS IN MY GALLERY THAT HAVE BEEN SHOT TO PRINT-
SO THAT THOSE WHO LOOK AT THAT SHOT WILL SEE THAT IT WAS FRAMED EXACTLY THAT WAY, THE MORE YOU STUDY THE CROP AND LOOK OF PORTRAITS THAT ARE CORRECT OR THAT YOU LIKE THE MORE YOUR MINDS EYE WILL REMEMBER THEM
- THAT'S WHY I PREFER FILTERS - TO SHOOT TO PRINT AND CUT DOWN ON MY COMPUTER TIME-YA'LL KNOW I SPEND ENOUGH TIME HERE ALREADY.LOL
YOU ARE A VERY GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER AND I WISH YOU BEST OF LUCK,
DEBBY


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8/16/2005 7:24:28 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Thanks Debbie . . . The shots I take are doable as far as light, etc. I do always make a few adjustments sharpening and lighting and then of course size to print(digital). .. but I just don't think I can continue to edit 105 proofs for them to only choose 5 or 6(meaning blemishes and hair removal, etc). I do most proofing through CD. . . soooo my latest brainstorm this morning(thank you coffee) was to perhaps give them lots of choices via CD and then have them narrow it down to say 25 or 30 for me to "print proofs" from and I could edit those which wouldn't take near as long. .. and then they would be ready to print when they placed the order and I wouldn't have to edit after the order was rec'd. I just think you can sell a proof print if they have it in their hand but I'm not sure they will buy the "proofs" just from a CD. . .

Anyway .. . thanks for the advice!


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8/16/2005 9:06:48 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  MICHELLE,
YOU HAVE A GREAT IDEA.
I SHOW EVERYTHING(EXCEPT WEDDING AND REALLY LARGE EVENTS) AT THE TIME OF SHOOT AND TAKE THE ORDER.I ALSO USE THE EPSON R300 PRINTER WITCH GIVES YOU THE OPTION OF A PROOF PAGE OF THUMB NAILS.
THEY PICK WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE EDITED.
HOPE THIS HELPS- IT JUST SEEMS TO TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO FIGURE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU BEST.


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8/16/2005 9:20:59 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Michelle,

I'm not sure what you usually charge for your senior portraits or if this would work for you. This is what I usually do for the seniors.

I do as many photos as we can do in an hour and that includes their clothes changing time. I then give them a cd with corrected photos and let them look at them. They then can pick 2 photos for 8x10s. Upon pickup of the 8x10s I give them a copyright release and allow them to make whatever they want. I charge a flat rate for this and the kids and their parents love this deal. They can then take the cd wherever they like and print what they like. This also gives them the option to print at home. For a while I was having a problem with seniors getting the smallest package they could and then scanning and printing them on their own printers. So I figured I would try the cd route and just make my money right off the bat. It has been a good choice for me. I know not everyone will agree with this, its just another option.


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8/16/2005 6:36:29 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  Michelle

I also have dealt with the same issue you have. Like Debby, I do extremely very little cropping in PS, I can't help it, I do all my croping while I take the photo - I hate tripods for that reason! But obviously sharpening is an issue that you have to do regardless and also as I have a very limited light source for my indoor portraits, I do a little levels editing etc. But I don't do it on all the pics on the proof sheet. I usually choose my favourite 5-10 photos and sharpen/levels/and an action I created to add a glow to the photo. That way when they look at the proof sheet they can see the difference between the edited photos and the non edited photos. So it helps them chose, they know even on the proof sheet, if the photo looks a little dull etc, then not to worry, as there are 5-10 examples of what they will look like on there. Basically I just say, if you like the photo of yourself and the composition, then that is all you should look for, as I won't put any photos on the proof sheet that won't look as good as the 5-10 that I have edited.

I hope that makes sense!


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8/16/2005 7:15:55 PM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Thanks for the idea Liza . . . Right now I don't feel comfortable with that option simply because so many people are very unaware of things when it comes to photography . . . if a print were to come out poorly due to lab error it would reflect on the photographer rather than the lab. . . the only printing options available around here are Walmart and one semi good lab. Just out of curiosity what do you charge because I don't think people would pay much and then have to print themselves. .. my senior sessions last anywhere from 3-4 hours and that ends up being around 150-200 shots!


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8/16/2005 7:17:25 PM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  I guess I should have clarified when I say cropping I really mean resizing to print(8 x 12 generally at 250 dpi) I try to do my "cropping" in the camera as well leaving enough room if I need to crop to an 8 x 10 so I don't lose important parts of the photo!


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8/16/2005 7:23:56 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  MICHELLE,
MAY I SUGGEST THAT YOU INCREASE THE DPI TO AT LEAST 300.
THIS IS WHAT IS CONSIDERED THE BETTER WAY TO GO WHEN PRINTING.
THESE SPECS MAY ALSO HELP SOME:
BASED ON THE VERTICAL
11" x 14" Enlargements 1600x1143
12" x 18" Enlargements 1600x1066
16" x 20" Posters 1920x1536
20" x 30" Posters 2275 X 1500
8x12- 2560x3200
5x7- 1600x2240
4x6-1280x1920
300 DPI
I DO HOPE THIS HELPS


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8/16/2005 7:39:02 PM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  The lab I use requests the 250 dpi so that's what I utilize. . . so far I haven't had any problems. . .


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8/16/2005 7:51:43 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  OK,
I HAVEN'T RUN INTO THAT-
WEATHER IT'S THE PORTRAIT PRINTS OR JUST PRINTING BROCHURES AND BUSINESS CARDS-
THEY HAVE ALWAYS TOLD ME TO USE 300 AND UP.
MUST BE ONE OF THOSE :
TO EACH HIS OWN THINGS??


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8/16/2005 7:58:28 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  Yep, I've been told 300dpi as well Deb, but I have seen prints (ie huge 40inc prints) that obviously can't be 300dpi at that size taken on a 350D 8.3 megapixel camera and these prints are amazing, I think they are printed as low as 72dpi.


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8/16/2005 8:06:49 PM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Maybe I should do a test. . . print one with 250 dpi and one at 300 and see if there's a difference. . . I had originally started doing them at 300 but then when I was reading their literature I saw where it said 250. .. it makes the file sizes a bit smaller so maybe that's why . .. it's weird all this sizing stuff LOL


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8/16/2005 8:40:20 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  TELL ME ABOUT IT- AND FOR A COMPUTER IDIOT, IT'S A NIGHTMARE!!LIL!


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8/16/2005 8:50:10 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Michelle,

I opened a small studio at the beginning of 2005.

I also struggled with the how many proofing question.

I finally decided that if they change clothes, they'll get more photos. I try not to exceed 100 proofs on senior pictures, and they do usually pick from about 10.

The problem is you don't know what the favorite 10 is going to be, so you have to give them choices.

I make sure that my proofing cost is covered in my sitting fee and then anything that they order is where I make my money.

I'm sure that that is not the best way to do it because some people don't have huge orders, but we live in a small town and high prices won't fly here.

I also spend entirely too much time and I crop every proof that I give them. I like the look of a 4x5, so that's what I crop to. (My 20D is ratioed to a 4x6). But everyone is happy with my pictures and maybe over time I can raise my prices a little bit.

I mark each proof so they can't be taken to Wal-Mart and copied and I also post them on my website if they want me to.

Anyway, I run into someone everyday that says, Oh, I saw so and so's pictures and I have to call you and make an appointment.

So, my point is, go with your gut and go with whatever works with where you are.

I think people like having lots of pics to pick from and if you don't mind spending a little extra time then go for it.

I hope that it goes well for you this senior picture season. I have already done 2 shoots and I have 4 scheduled for September.

I did about 5 scragglers at the end of last school year, but I'll be interested to see how many I get starting a new school year fresh.

Good Luck! I know you'll do great!

Amber
www.photographicsgallery.net


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8/17/2005 12:04:58 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Michelle,

I just noticed that you asked about pricing too.

If you go to my website under the FAQ folder, my pricing's in there.

I live in a VERY small town and I really didn't think that anyone would pay more than wal-mart either.

But I think that my studio has been a nice change for the town because the only other options around me are a REALLY expensive studio (maybe $1,000.00 for senior portraits) and a woman with a point and shoot camara that does a REALLY bad job.

By the way, she won't speak to me now when I see her in town. I think that I may have taken a really big chunk of her business.

Anyway, I have a lab that I really like too. I upload everything online because the only place by me is a wal-mart too.

amber
www.photographicsgallery.net


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8/17/2005 12:10:36 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  My sitting fee may not be high enough but I don't want that being to high either. . . I charge $35.00 and that gives them the option of 3 changes. . . it's $10.00/outfit after that . . . I may have to add a location charge too because my last sitting we went 4 places before doing the indoor stuff. . . she hasn't order yet though so we'll see. . . I really don't mind taking lots of shots .. . it's the editing that bugs me. .. and like you I want them to see a 4 x 5 because that is what they will get in an 8 x 10 which around here is the standard enlargement size. . . of course they get 5 x 7's too but I just want them to know what they are getting in the picture. . . I"ll get it figured out. . . so far no one has even really said anything about my prices. .. I have no idea what the other two main photographers in this area charge . . . I started to find out and decided that I needed to be my own being and just charge what I felt I needed to get the job done. Thanks for responding . . .


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8/17/2005 5:37:49 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Michelle, you made a great point about not having control over the final look if folks are taking the cd to a quickie lab that may not represent the work at its best. Like Amber, I too live in a really small town. There are only two places to get prints done here and both happen to print really great looking photos. So that option still works for me here.

The other thing that I've found is that I am so much more critical about how lighting and quality look. Most people just want great shots of their kids, they don't really think about print quality as much as we do. They are thrilled with my deals because they are workable for them.

So many of the people that I do senior portraits for are very low income families who can't afford the studio prices that they have to go through with the school. There is another thread about studios monopolizing senior portraits at schools and that is the case here too. See most of the kids do their one photo for the yearbook with the other company and come to me for all the rest that they need.

As someone who had a senior a few years ago and knows the expense parents have to go through, I just want to give lower income families a chance at being able to afford something so special. I don't make a fortune off of these shoots, but I get paid enough that it is worth it to me. I'm such a softy when it comes to helping people out, but I feel good after. I make good money off of other aspects such as weddings so its an alright trade off to me. The other thing is, I let them know that I only offer these kind of deals for senior portraits. Eventually these kids get married and have kids, guess who they come back to?

As for your pricing, that is so hard to say because each area is so different as far as what the economy can support. I too charge $35.00 for an in studio sitting fee. If it is a location shoot I charge $50.00 instead. If they want to go to more than one place I charge accordingly.

Michelle, I love your attitude at the end of your last post. You don't always neccessarily have to go with the flow. Find what works and feels right for you.


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8/17/2005 6:35:13 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  I forgot to tell you, there is one more thing that I offer to seniors that is a huge seller and is not included with the cd. These are senior pages. You can see samples of these on my website:
http://www.orgsites.com/nc/lizafrancophotography/
The samples are under the High School Senior category on the left on the home page. There are other layouts similar to these throughout the other categories, the clients love this stuff and I'm the only one who offers this kind of page because I'm a creative photoshop geek. I make templates for these pages, if you are interested let me know.

~Liza~


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8/17/2005 6:43:12 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  I am fortunate that our high school doesn't monopolize the Senior portraits. . . I knew this year would be slim because of just starting out and people aren't used to having someone LOCAL . . . but I did get the job to do the Fall Sports pictures and probably the Winter and Spring as well . . . I also do Collages and Composite things that I'm not sure all photographers do for Seniors . . . In fact I just uploaded two new ones to my gallery this morning . . . I do charge more for these and have sold a few here and there . . .but the biggest thrill for me is just seeing how creative my brain can work LOL I don't have all my creations in my gallery but do have most of them!


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8/17/2005 6:53:52 AM

 
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