Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What is the Session Fee For?

When you have a session with us, you pay a session fee. You may be wondering exactly what you are paying for.

We are not a walk-in studio. You need to schedule an appointment. This helps our studio run smoothly, ensures that we will have the personnel necessary to provide you with the exemplary service you have come to expect, and prevents other people from infringing on your session. Part of the session fee pays for the scheduling and consultation prior to your session.

During your session, we have a photographer and at least one assistant present for your session. We create the images at this time, generally an hour or more. So you are paying for two people to take care of you and create images for you. If we did nothing else, the session fee would be a good deal. But we do a lot more.

After you leave, we download all the images and go through them one at a time to select the best images to show you. We tweak white balance, adjust color and density, and crop all of the images. Some of the images we choose to show you in black and white, sepia, or one of our custom color styles. We pick a few images and fully rework them so you can see just how profound a difference there is between images straight from the camera and final images. All of this takes time and skill. The session fee is paying for part of that.

Once the images are prepared for your premier (the viewing and ordering session), they are brought to the premier room and set up for you. Your premier lasts about an hour, during which time you are given expert guidance to determine the best prints and products to purchase. The person who is conducting your premier is not a volunteer. Part of your session fee is going to pay them for their time.

If you think about the amount of care, skill, and time you are getting for your session fee, you are really getting a good deal even though the session fee has not purchased a single image. The session fee has put you in a position to purchase images; it has brought about the images that you may purchase. We at Studio Mark Emile take a lot of pride in providing a top notch experience from the first phone call to the final delivery, not to mention the care and skill that we bring to the creation of the images that you will enjoy for the rest of your life.

What the session fee does not do is purchase any rights to use any of the images created in any way. That is what the print prices are for. And in this digital age, the file prices and licensing terms for those files. This is what copyright is all about. When you create an original work, you get to decide under what conditions it may be replicated, if at all. When you purchase a file, you are essentially purchasing a copy of the file and a limited license to make use of that file. We do this on purpose to keep the cost as reasonable as possible. By strictly limiting the uses of the images, we are preventing people with lesser needs from subsidizing those with larger needs. Do you think you should pay the same to use your headshot on business cards as someone who plans on putting a headshot on hundreds of thousands of boxes of hair color? Neither do we, so we license usage and you pay according to how many rights and how much usage you need.

We hope we have given a little insight into what you are getting for your session fee, and why we need to charge it in the first place.

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