When you decide to shop for a luxury item, doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new car or a piece of furniture, you always want to make sure that your investment is worth your hard earned-money. And if you’re a mom, like me, you always first think if the money you are about to spend on that beautiful lingerie set at Nordstorm can be put towards something your little ones want. The enormous amount of guilt-trip and self-lamentation that goes into should you even dare to spend a fraction of your money on yourself… all the judgemental foreign voices of “selfish,” “vain,” and “indulgent” start eating up your headspace… Isn’t it true?
It’s sad and unfortunate how much doing something rewarding, refreshing, and valuable for ourselves sends us into this unfair spiral of self-doubt and worthlessness. That we are reduced to compare pleasures necessary to nourish our souls with new shoes for our kids or getting new blinds for the house; especially when the new car will last us five years, the furniture will wear and tear, kids will outgrow their shoes, and we will eventually move to a new house with new curtains and blinds — all of the things which aren’t our “forever” investments. But the amount of energy we, the women, spend trying to justify and then find the loopholes in the arguments in favour of us spending the money on ourselves, even when it’s something as precious, timeless, and “forever” as existing in a photograph to preserve how we want to remember ourselves and be remembered — it breaks my heart how we keep talking ourselves out of it.
I want you to know that you and I are very much alike in this regard. As a mother who spends the better part of her day working non-stop, I have no problem dropping a good $50 on some ridiculous and un-educational toy my kid said she wanted but find myself thinking twice about buying a $4 mocha Frappuccino on a hot summer’s day after dropping the kid off to daycare…
I’ll be honest with you here: A Magazine-Style, Full Service Boudoir Photography experience is a luxury.
This is a want.
And it is becomes a need for the woman who feels like:
- She ain’t got “it” anymore.
- The confident head-turner she used to be doesn’t exist anymore.
- Her youth is slipping away.
- The corporate world has made her into this stone-cold, straight-faced pant-suit woman who is scared to let her hair down.
- She spent all her youth changing diapers and truly has nothing to “show” for anymore.
- Being “sexy” is not tasteful or classy but every time she looks at Shakira on TV or a Victoria’s Secret billboard, she dwindles into daydreaming of having the opportunity to have herself captured like that at least once in her life.
And this brings me to why I created Dream Boudoir Experience — because every woman who walks out of my studio feels like a brand new version of herself after her shoot with me. She walks a little taller, feels a little hotter, and stands a bit more confident. This is not a “photoshoot.” Photos are a mere part of the experience. This is a session which will change your life and the way you look at the woman in the mirror every morning.
Let me ask you this: What is your self-worth? What price tag would you put on your confidence? How much would you pay for a chance to feel validated in your own skin, without judgement, shame, burden, guilt, hatred, or becoming invisible? I’m sure your answer must be that “my self-worth, my confidence, my existence is PRICELESS!” And because ANY experienced, good, and qualified photographer would want you to feel ECSTATICALLY PRICELESS all the time, we would never want to skimp out on the service, the experience, the professionalism, the expertise, and the quality of products we want you to have. Let me walk you through this a bit more:
When I created my boudoir photography studio in Toronto, I wanted to be the BEST photographer out there. Blame it on my full-scholarship-winning go-getter personality but I was not about to sit down, compromise, and do whatever Jane down the street with her cheap DSLR is doing. I wanted to have the best camera and lenses in the market to shoot the highest and best resolution possible. Spending 100s of hours and $1000s to learn from the best and perfect my craft was a given. I wanted to know how to create natural light if it’s dark and snowing like crazy in Toronto on your shoot day so we are not dependent on the sun — so I learned the craft and bought the most expensive and perfect studio lighting equipment available in the industry.
Sourcing and creating the best sets and scenes was always a priority. Spending a tonne of money testing different make up artists and hair stylists to find the absolute best ones to include in a team was a task I took on without questions. Instead of getting your money like Jane with DSLR, and completely leaving you on your own to find a location, wardrobe, makeup artist, hair stylist, leather crafter for your album, internationally recognized professional labs with the newest inkjet printers for superior museum quality prints, and whatnot, I actually DO ALL THE WORK FOR YOU! I want this experience to be all about you! The entire 6-hour day is designed to make you feel like you at the centre of this universe. And guess what? All of this with strawberries and whipped cream snacks!
Jane Doe, The Cheap Photographer
Remember when I asked you how much your self-worth is worth? Many photographers are either not confident in their art or are exploited because they are young and don’t realize how much time and money it goes into creating a mind-blowing creative piece of art.
The photographers who are not confident in their art are the photographers who know their photography is nowhere close to being good enough and that there is no consistency in their photos — where one session might produce great images but the next session will have terrible lighting and poses leaving you wondering how your own session will turn out and if it was all a waste of time and money. Two things happen to such side-hustle photography “businesses:” They quickly learn their craft and realize what it takes to create beautiful photographs and give excellent customer service and soon make a pricelist that’s compatible with industry standards or they soon go out of business because they simply cannot create the product a proper creative business can create.
The other photographer, who is good but charges less than a meal at The Keg, two things can happen to them: Either they give up their passion and love for photography and take up a regular 9 to 5 OR they realize that in order to keep creating the kind of photographs that win international awards and give people the opportunity to own their photos in the same quality as you would see in an art gallery, they need to properly run a business which has full customer service and best products and gear which will then reflect in their session price and print-digital packages.
Good and consistent photography comes at a cost. Learning the craft of lighting and exposure, a business that shows exemplary professionalism, legal credentials, liability insurances, reliability and dependability — all of this is reflected when the client sees their final print and digital images because the quality speaks for itself.
A portrait and boudoir photography experience is going to be one of the most sentimental and emotional purchases of your life. A professional, full-time photographer will know how to create flattering photos of women of all shapes, sizes, colours, and styles. Nothing but the experience of photographing constantly and consistently will equip a photographer to get the client in their most comfortable, relaxed, and confident self to create images she will forever cherish. For these reasons, you need to put real consideration into the photographer that’s right for you.
For me to create one image of you that you love, it doesn’t take the one hour of consultation, the one hour of makeup, the two hours of photography session, the one hour of review and ordering — it takes my entire lifetime of learning the craft and applying it to your needs. The value of a good artist will be demonstrated when you will look back at your pictures as recently as five years from now and will realize how thankful you are that you trusted the artist to capture a point in your life that you will never have again.
The Time Devoted
The hours that I spend with each client is the reason why every season is perfectly designed and executed to meet their needs. To capture the essence of your personality, you deserve my undivided attention and active listening. I want you to love your experience and not just the photos. I want you to know that you are with a trusted confidante and not just a photographer. I want you to feel comfortable enough to talk about your deepest desires and fears. It is not uncommon for me to meet clients who immediately divulge in how they can’t remember the last time they had sex with their partner or how empowered they feel that they have finally left an abusive relationship or the demands of workplace had left them feeling reduced to a mere piece of the puzzle and not an entirety in itself. I am not a trained counsellor but I have an open heart where I welcome all that’s upsetting you or all that you are celebrating and create images for you where you see yourself in the best light possible.
If you are thinking that I cost “this much” for merely a couple of hours of shooting time, let me tell you that those two hours are the easiest of my entire process. This is what all goes into making beautiful images in my studio:
- Phone consultation before booking your session: 30 Minutes
- In-person/Phone consultation after booking your session to design your shoot: 1 hour
- Preparation time before you come to the studio and wrap up after the shoot: 2 hours
- Photoshoot, hair and makeup, viewing and ordering session: 6 hours
- Post-processing, editing, and retouching per 20 images: 12 hours
- Album design/printed mats assembly and delivery: 3 hours
- Quality assurance, production lab sequence, and pickup/shipping: 1-2 hours
- Education and conferences: On average 3 hours per week
- Studio equipment management and legal reviews: 2 hours per week
On average, I spend 20 – 32 hours on each client! My costs reflect the dedication I put towards your session. I don’t seem “that expensive” now, do I? 😉
Jane down the street charging $100 for 50 pictures does not have $30,000 of professional cameras and studio equipment. She also probably doesn’t have the following expenses:
- Liability Insurance
- Camera and equipment insurance
- Printing and Album
- Professional Associations Memberships
- Top-of-the-Line Softwares and Computers
- Office Admin costs
- Travel and Accommodation
- Phone and electricity
- Sets and props
- Expos and Fairs
- Education and professional classes fee
- Internet and Hosting fee
- Backup devices and cloud storage
- And the list goes on…
So when you ask why something is so expensive, it definitely helps to consider the process it takes to produce the value. Sometimes taking a hit on quality and going to Walmart for a T-shirt might seem like a good idea when you have a paint-the-hospital charity day. But would you still compromise on quality when you are contracting someone to do your house flooring? Or when you need something as permanent as a photograph on your 30th birthday knowing that you will never be 30 again? You have to ask yourself if you would rather be disappointed or deliriously happy? Would you rather regret not doing something which you know is important for your soul or do it despite all your doubts and realize that making the credit card payment or being on my interest-free payment plan was really not as indulgent you were initially feeling?
If you can feel even 10% of the happiness, confidence, self-love, and appreciation as my other clients, and if you really feel like you need to do something to celebrate your new milestones or shed off the old skin you don’t want to be reminded of, then this session is going to be worth way more for you than even my Black Label Collection <3