Boudoir Marathon is on!

I am very happy to announce that I (AE Pictures Inc.) will be holding a Boudoir Marathon November 18-20th right here in Petaluma! Perfect timing for holiday gifts for that special someone or just for yourself - and before the holiday feasting begins too! Boudoir is an excellent way to lift your self confidence and build intimacy with your partner. Always tasteful and fun, Boudoir is the most expensive photoshoot I offer because of the desirable hotels and styling. This is a great opportunity to have it all for a fraction of the cost.

Included in the package:
*Boutique hotel
*1.5 hour photoshoot
*Professional make-up
*Flowing champagne
*Private online gallery
*20% off all albums

and as many wardrobe changes as you'd like though I recommend three. Space is very limited, so please reserve a spot today!

Why Does Photography Cost So Much?

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?
This article has been very well received by the photography community, and is published in the December 2009 edition of Professional Photographer Magazine.

In this digital age where everyone has cameras, scanners, and home "photo printers," we hear this all the time: How do professional (or personal) photographers charge $X for an 8x10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drugstore? Simply put, the customer is not just paying for the actual photograph; they're paying for time and expertise.

The average one-hour portrait session

First, let's look at the actual work involved:

Travel to the session
Setup, preparation, talking to the client, etc.
Shoot the photos
Travel from the session
Load images onto a computer
Back up the files on an external drive
2 - 4 hours of Adobe® Photoshop® time, including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, and backing up edited photographs. Proof photos are also ordered.
2 - 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment, and ship.
Possibly meet clients at the studio to review photos and place order. Meeting and travel time average 2 hours.
You can see how a one-hour session easily turns into an eight-hour day or more from start to finish. So when you see a personal photographer charging a $200 session fee for a one-hour photo shoot, the client is NOT paying them $200 per hour.

The eight-hour wedding

A wedding photographer typically meets with the bride and groom several times before and after the wedding. And it’s not uncommon to end up with 1,000 - 2,000 photos, much more than a portrait session. Many photographers spend 40-60 hours working on one eight-hour wedding if you look at the time that is truly involved. Again, when a wedding photographer charges $4,000 for eight hours of coverage, clients are NOT paying them $500 an hour!

(Don’t forget that the photographer runs the wedding day to some extent. A comfortable, confident wedding photographer can make a wedding day go more smoothly.)

The expertise and cost of doing business

Shooting professional photography is a skill acquired through years of experience. Even though a DSLR now costs under $1,000, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.

Most personal photographers take years to go from buying their first camera to making money with photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera, there is a mountain of other equipment and software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website, etc. And don’t forget backdrops, props, rent, utilities, insurance, etc!

In addition to the financial investment, photographers actually have to have people skills to make subjects comfortable in front of the camera. Posing people to look their best is a skill by itself. You could argue that posing is a more important skill than actually knowing how to use the camera. A poorly exposed photo can be saved, but a badly posed photo cannot.

The chain store photo studio

Chain stores do have their place. For a very cheap price you can run in, shoot some quick photos, and be done with it. But you get what you pay for.

Consider the time and effort that a personal photographer puts into photographs, compared to a chain store. Store sessions last just a few minutes, while a personal photographer takes the time to get to know the people, makes them comfortable, makes them laugh. If a baby is crying at a chain store, they often don’t have the time (or the patience) to wait because everyone is in a hurry.

The truth is that many chain store studios lose money. In fact, Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios in 2007 because of the financial drain. What the chain stores bank on is a client coming in for quick, cheap photos…and while there, spending $200 on other items. They are there to get you in the door.

The real deal

Professional, personal photographers are just that—professionals. No different than a mechanic, dentist, doctor, or electrician. But a personal photographer often becomes a friend, someone who documents a family for generations with professional, personal photographs of cherished memories.

Maybe we need to help clients look at it this way: A pair of scissors costs $1.50 at the drugstore. Still, most people will gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional hair dresser to cut their hair.

The added attention and quality that a personal photographer gives is worth every penny.


We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs, created by a Personal Photographer are so expensive.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Shawn, Pamela and Gavin Richter -

Our website - Caught on Film Photography

Our photography fourm - Learning Digital Photography Together

Featured on Engaged and Inspired!!

Jenn and Paul's e-session

This e-session is very special because the bride to be is my long time friend. When Jenn told me she was engaged, I couldn't believe it! After photographing her and fiance Paul, I saw how in love they are and feel so privileged to have captured them at this time in their life together. Enjoy!

Things I Love

Medicinal and organic still life elements

From the top left 1. Maemae Paperie 2-4. Anthropologie 5. Unknown

I Like What Grey Likes

& monochromatic Tinsel Tassel Garlands ...

Sparkly things in tackle boxes...

...accessories that look edible...

A Day at Aqus Cafe

Last Friday, I spent an hour and a half taking portraits of willing patrons at Aqus Cafe in Petaluma. The project went on all day with different photographers filling different time slots. In the beginning of July, the owner (John) will put up all of the photographs taken that day in chronological order. This is just one of the many ways Aqus continues to be a place of community and art. Here are a few of my portraits from Friday.

Master and Exterior

Work and Play

A playroom with a nod to treehouse architecture and a DIY closet office..

New Boudoir Promo!

Hair and make up by the talented Mandy Maher
Lovely models Sarah, Sass, Caitlin, Veronica and Betsy

Kitchen & Bath

All images copyright AE Pictures Inc. Design by Urban Cowgirl.

Living Space - Interior Continued

Branches in the entry way, children's art hanged by clothespins and railroad nails, quirky decorative elements like a stuffed pig and mini "Shakespeare," this is a living space full of creativity from Urban Cowgirl! Photos copyright me:)

Out of This World

The second room in the Urban Cowgirl project provides a blanket of stars over 2 sleeping boys...

Stella's Room

I am over the moon for this fun and cheerful little girl's bedroom. It is part of an interior design project I am working on with Urban Cowgirl that I just couldn't wait to post! Who wouldn't want to be a kid again with a room like this one!?

It inspires me so much to see how everyday items like hairbrushes can be displayed in a decorative way. Beautiful ribbons can be enjoyed everyday as window coverings and not just fleeting moments of celebration. I hope you enjoy this room and more to come for "think outside of the box" inspiration:)

Senior Portraits 2012

With graduation just weeks away, it is time for a new class of Seniors and a Summer Promo from AE Pictures. This is your time to shine! Book your session now through August to receive 50 Complimentary Rep Cards and 1 8x 10 of your best shot, your choice. The session fee is due at the time of booking to qualify for the promo.

Sessions are 1-2 hours and you may do as many wardrobe changes as you like. (See our "production" link if you need help with wardrobe or props!) And we love friend shots! Book with your friends on the same day and get a group shot for no extra charge. Hurry!


Have you seen April's issue of Photo District News? One of my favorite pictures got in for Wedding Details, AND made the contest gallery cover!!!