Welcome to Dragon and the Butterfly!
Hey there everyone. Today, the first blog entry of this website, I’m just going to tell you a little bit about my business model. A lot of people don’t understand what I do, why I do it and I would love to explain that in an informal sort of way.
First of all, I’m Ali. I was a struggling college student driving a school bus while trying to get my teaching degree in Kansas City. That has since changed. I am now a struggling college student who is taking a semester off to focus on my career change before I change my majors completely. But, on top of all of that, I am a business owner. I am a photographer who also is an aspiring novelist. Everything else is typically secondary to the fact that I am a photographer.
Ok, so what is the point of Dragon and the Butterfly? The point is to provide an affordable, high quality option to those of us who are, well, struggling. Are you seeing my theme here? See, I grew up watching my mother stress about family pictures. We went years without them simply because they cost way too much for us to obtain. There were a couple of years close together that we were able to pull it off, but we didn’t like a lot about how the pictures turned out, simply because what we could afford was an amateur who barely knew what they were doing. This is not meant offensively to amateurs. I mean, we all start somewhere after all. But at the time we just didn’t enjoy what we received. Then in high school, I knew this kid who couldn’t participate in a lot of the projects we were having to do at the time, because his house caught fire when he was a kid, losing all their family pictures. After that, they never had the money to be able to afford to have new ones done. Last story: I was driving my school bus and I had a lot of underprivileged students on my bus. It was the day that pictures went home to be ordered from picture day and they were all sort of depressed. Why, you may ask? Because more than half of them already knew they couldn’t afford them.
See, by the time of the last story, I had already been starting my business. I was still in my ‘do everything for free so I can build my portfolio’ stage (which, if you’re a photographer and you skipped this stage, I envy you) and I was trying to figure out pricing so that I could start charging for my work. I met these kids and I saw what they were going through. Between them and the other 2 stories I shared with you, it ultimately led me to want to be a sort of budget friendly option. An option for people who needed or wanted pictures done but couldn’t afford conventional pricing.
You see, conventional pricing is based off many factors, including (but by no means exclusively this list): the session pricing, picture editing, package products (if you’re looking at a package), and many other things that allow that photographer to pay bills, business insurance, or permits for the locations that you used for you shoot. There are many, many things that go into how a photographer prices their work, but mostly it’s based on how much they value their time.
Now, if you look at my prices and compare them to just about any other photographer in the city who is just as good as me or has just as much experience, you’re probably thinking that I’m full of it or I don’t value my time. The truth, though, is simple. They value their time more. See, I love what I do, and that’s not an exaggeration. And I know that they love what they are doin g too. But I also understand and appreciate what it is to feel/ be financially poor and if I could afford to do this for free, I would. That’s why I offer photography for as low as I can justify before it starts dipping into my own strained financials.
Simply put, I just really, really, really want to be an option for people like me. I want quality but I cannot afford what other photographers charge. And if I cant afford them, then I know there is an entire group of people just like me looking for someone who can accommodate the financial burden they are already enduring. So, I am a quality photographer at an affordable price who just wants to tell your uniquely wonderful story, just as you deserve.
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