I have a little story for you that will relate back to senior photography prices, but bear with me a little while.... The Formica needed to go. In case you don't know, Formica is a name brand. I think they call it laminate now. I had taken good care of the countertops; unlike so many college student apartment dwellers, I actually owned and used a cutting board to cut apples.
Add the ugly countertops to the hunter green and off-white tiled backsplash, a cooktop with three out of four working burners, and 20+ year old cabinets that were adorned with rubbed off stain and a normal build-up of kitchen grease, and it became clear that we had a kitchen begging for a remodel.
After saving up for a while, we decided June was the right time to start on it. We are more flexible schedule-wise in the summer. I would have plenty of time to get it all done by the time school started back, I thought.
First off, let me just get this out. I had watched HGTV enough to know that something always goes wrong during this type of project. But, stupid me, I held onto the hope that we would be all put back together by mid-August. Ha! Fat chance.
It's now September and, while we do have a working kitchen, we still have some of its contents in boxes. In addition, I had to fight for a month to get a refund from a Big Box Store because some of the work was pretty shoddy. So we have no backsplash yet and are waiting to get our countertops torn out and done by someone who actually cares about doing a good job.
Do I seem bitter? :)
It's been a heck of a few months. On top of all the stress of having workers in the house and having no kitchen for a couple of weeks, I had some strange allergic reaction that caused my lips to swell up bigger than Angelina Jolie's. And this happened three separate times. My friends said, "People pay good money for that!", but it was painful and I felt like a freak.
I've been thinking back over the whole process, though. (I've been THINKING instead of UNPACKING THE BOXES that still decorate our dining room because the kitchen remodel won't be complete for yet another few weeks.)
Originally, I had pulled a number out of a hat for my budget. Truly, I had NO IDEA what all this would cost. But since I wanted to do this only once in the next 20 years, I wanted to do it correctly. And I wanted what I wanted. So, there.
As I played the role of general contractor, I started gathering bids.
Rather early into the process, I discovered that not all cabinet painters were equal. The first bid included priming and painting only and they indicated that the exposed cabinet hinges would be painted. My husband said, "Wait a minute. That's not right." He was taught that painting the hinges is "the lazy way to do it".
So I called another company to get another bid. Their bid included stripping, sanding, painting, and putting topcoat on the cabinets. Plus, they would take the doors to their shop and paint them there. Then they would re-install the doors and attach the hardware. The cost? About 25% more than the first estimate. But they did things correctly. It was a no-brainer. We wanted something that would look good for a long time, so we went with the second estimate.
When all the estimates for all the jobs came in, I realized that I had vastly underestimated what it would cost to do what I wanted to do in the kitchen. We evaluated our finances and decided that, since we wanted the kitchen to look good for a long time, we would spend about 50% more than the original number I had come up with because that is what the actual cost turned out to be.
How does this relate to senior photography? Most people don't really know what custom senior photography costs. They often come up with a number based on what school pictures cost or what they paid at a chain photography studio in the past. If they want a custom experience, they may be shocked to find out what the cost is. But if they want something really special, they often decide that the extra money is worth it for the quality portraits and fun experience they get.
Your child is a senior for only a year and these may likely be the last professional pictures they have made prior to their engagement pictures. You do the yearbook photos once during your child's senior year and they aren't that special. You might want something really special to honor what a great kid you have. Why skimp on a once-in-a lifetime experience? Maybe it's not in the budget. I totally get it if Studio You Portraits isn't right for you. I do offer a payment plan, though, which helps spread out the cost.
Here are some ways that Studio You Portraits makes the custom senior photography experience special.
There is no risk. I can photograph just about anywhere and I spend the time to get to know your senior and you, which helps ensure that everything will go swimmingly on portrait day. Also, with every session, I include a consultation in your home so we can talk about the session, clothing, and how you hope to display and use your portraits. Additionally, with every session, there is an in-home ordering session. My clients love this because the family gets to sit comfortably in their favorite chairs and enjoy looking at their portraits for the first time. Finally, the portraits are delivered to your door.
Call/text 214.783.9691 or e-mail me at Dawn@StudioYouPortraits.com. I look forward to hearing from you!