View Full Version : Is this worth $500?

09-17-2013, 02:07 PM
Didn't exactly know where to post this.. but I've got great feedback (on my own photos) from the photography.ca critique community in the past and I really trust your collective opinion(s). I thought I would make a post about my current situation for a critique.

My wife and I recently engaged a professional photographer to help us out with some infant photos of our daughter as she turned one year old. Below is a link to what we got back.

Link deleted - see my reply below as to why I removed it

This shoot cost us $500 for a 30 minute session and the associated post-processing. My sense is that we didn't get good value for that money.. but I wanted to see if the critique community felt the same way. Maybe I'm wrong and these are professional grade. I won't influence your opinion by pointing out what I think is amiss..

Thanks in advance for any help.

09-17-2013, 02:14 PM
In my non-professional opinion:

No, they are not very good. They were taken during the wrong time of the day, they are all soft (except the B&W close-up of your daughter standing up). I would ask for a re-shoot. Show example of the out of focus images, bad composition, etc.

If you want a critique of each, I can do it.

09-17-2013, 02:29 PM
#1 - soft and WB seems off. What is this pose, "Smush the Baby"?

#2 - Just dad and daughter back lit (poorly), with harsh light on their faces

#3 - Nice shot, seems a little soft and hazy

#4 - Nice shot as well, but too much dead space up top and soft

#5 - Just not good. What did the photographer use, an Instamatic?

#6 - Soft and not evenly centered.

#7 - only good one of the bunch (IMO)

#8 - You are lost in all those huge buildings

#9 - I just don't get the pose behind the flowers with all the dead spoace behind you

#10 - Nice image but still soft

#11 - Just not digging these far away shots. You paid for portraits of you, not the city

#12 - Sun flare, too much dead space, title "What's down Momma's shirt?"

#13 - Could have worked except 60% dead space of blown out sky

#14 - Baby center frame and not level. Looks like she is sliding to the left of the image

#15 - decent, but not symmetric and soft on her face

09-18-2013, 03:16 AM
This is a tough one, and in fear of opening a Pandora’s box here on the forum, here is my take on it.

Firstly some of the shots I like (particularly the B & W) and some I am less than excited about. I don’t think they are particularly wonderful shots, and I would be reluctant to pay $500 for them. However that is irrelevant.

Your question was did you get value for money. In general any service (including photography) is worth whatever someone is prepared to pay.

I think the relevant the question should be are the photos representative of what the photographer told you you would get and are they of similar quality to their advertised portfolio shots. If so, you have got what you contracted for, and I would say it is your problem if you didn’t check the quality of their work. If different than what they represented then in my opinion you would have reason for complaint and recourse. (from the very quick look I had at their website I feel that your colour shots are not of the same quality as those on their website)

This is a topic that gets me wound up a bit. Unfortunately anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a photographer. If they get paid, they are by definition professional. It doesn’t mean they are any good. I get frustrated with the number of moms with DSLRs that think because they have a Nikon, have taken few shots of their kids and put a watermark on their photos it makes them a pro. These days more than ever you need to do your homework before hiring a photographer. Checking if they are member of a professional association is a good start but still not necessarily an indicator of quality. If people pay $100 for someone to shoot their wedding, haven’t done their homework and the shots are lousy then they get what they deserve.

I recently saw a Facebook page for “professional” photographer that was a member of the Facebook group that I followed. This photographer was advertising their wedding and baby photo business. The shots shown were [insert preferred expletive here] terrible, but they were obviously getting some work and serving a market niche I guess. After looking at the page a few times (a bit like looking at the sun – I couldn’t help myself) I noticed a post along the lines of “yippee – today I took some shots with the camera not set to automatic”. I am sure she was serious. I noted about a week later she was advertising that she was running a workshop on how to use your camera in manual mode.

Sorry this doesn’t help you much. Anyway I have had my grumpy old man rant and will shut up now.

09-18-2013, 09:49 AM
I think overall this was a decent shoot. Some shots are keepers some are not. If the photographer is only posting 15 shots...all 15 should be keepers imo..

But did you get value for this shoot... you'll have to include more information for me to offer a fuller opinion.

Did you get prints from the shoot? what did you get? high res files?

09-18-2013, 02:17 PM
I think overall this was a decent shoot. Some shots are keepers some are not. If the photographer is only posting 15 shots...all 15 should be keepers imo..

But did you get value for this shoot... you'll have to include more information for me to offer a fuller opinion.

Did you get prints from the shoot? what did you get? high res files?

Thanks for the reply Marko. Much appreciated.

We received those photos in the online portfolio, plus about 5 other lower-quality images included that didn't make the cut, at 72ppi and 300ppi in both color and black and white jpgs. No prints.

09-18-2013, 02:49 PM
So basically you received 20 digital files in high and low res., plus the 30 minute shoot itself for 5 bills.
It's expensive for what you received imo. Had all shots been keepers I would have had no issues with the price.
Had i shot this with your family, the price may have been similar but I would have shot with you for at least 1 hour and you would have also received 2-8x10's. Hope that may help

09-19-2013, 12:10 AM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. After considering the very helpful comments here - we decided to express our dissatisfaction to the photographer.

Thankfully, the photographer offered a variety of possible solutions (including partial reshoots and refunds) and I'm pretty confident we can resolve this situation. Given the gracious attitude shown by the photographer - I've since removed the link to the online portfolio from the original post above as I don't want a permanent link following her around forever.

Appreciate everyone's help with what has been an atypical critique post.

09-19-2013, 12:24 AM
Glad you got it sorted.

By way of clarification, I was not trying to infer that the photographer in question was one of those moms with a dslr that I was referring to in my previous post.