When you decide to have portraits taken there are several things you may consider.  Some only care about the artist’s work where others only care about the price.  There’s a place for everyone and a photographer for everyone.  When you are considering portraits there are two main types of services.

Boutique

Custom services dependent on the client.  Small number of clients per month with higher prices.  Some custom services include:
  • in person consults to meet you, show products, go over pricing, find out what you expect
  • in person ordering appointments to show photos, products custom for your family, and walk you through purchase options.
  • designing a session based on your home decor and your likes/dislikes
  • sending personalized mail
  • spending unlimited time planning your session so it will be specific to your family
  • personalized products or gifts
  • quality products from reputable vendors
  • continuously improving client experience

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Baseball setup for my client because his dad is a huge Cubs fan.  

High Volume

Quick services based on quality output in a short period of time with lower prices.  May do sales appointments right after sessions or offer online galleries to choose images.  Some points about high volume studio are:
  • many customers 
  • less time to customize experience so many customers will get the same set ups
  • many streamlined processes and less customer interaction
  • constant need to streamline more processes to provide quicker turn around times
  • rely on low cost high volume print or digital sales
  • lower cost to client
  • shorter sessions
  • coupon/discount emails or codes rather than customized gifts
  • shorter overall process
  • occasionally slower turn around times because of the number of clients
  • occasionally lower quality of work due to time constraints 

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Mini sessions are a great way to get awesome photos for a cheaper cost than a regular session.  They generally fall under the high volume genre but can be done by boutique photographers as well.  One difference is the way the ordering is handled, digital downloads or in person sales.

What’s the best choice?

There are advantages to each of these business models.  The business model chosen must not only fit the photographer but the client.  If you want specialized services with extra attention to your needs then you need a boutique photographer.  If you want in and out portraits where there is lower costs then a volume portrait studio would be best for you.  Neither preference is bad or good, some people are annoyed by multiple appointments or conversations and others like having everything planned out completely before they arrive.  Some would prefer to order their own portraits rather than purchase them from the photographer whereas others want everything made in a professional lab.  The quality of professional and non-professional products is a blog topic for another day.

My studio

Personally I enjoy being a boutique portrait studio because I get to know my clients and can have the time to plan what I want to do with each person.  I do not like high volume because it gives me anxiety.  I am not the most organized person in the world and having many clients every week would wear me out quickly and my work would suffer.  I enjoy creating new works of art or designing albums specifically for my clients as well as surprising them with a gift based on things they really liked during the session.  My clients receive a USB box that I personally stained and wood burned with their child/family’s name as well as a custom slideshow where I carefully decide on the music and layout of the video.  The slideshow is my favorite part of the ordering appointment because I get to watch them as they see their beautiful images for the first time.  

Final Thoughts

In the end, the important thing is having your photos taken so you can record the memories for later down the road.  Make sure to print them even if they sit in a safe, they will be precious to have later.  

Amy Sine is a newborn photographer in the Morgantown, WV area.  She is a member of Professional Photographers of America and the Newborn Photography Association.  For more information about services offered by Amy Sine Photography please visit our Session Fee page or Contact us for more information or to book your custom session!

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