This June marks the 10th anniversary of Mandy Charlton Photography, it's been a rollercoaster of a ride but at the end of the day I love what I do. I've been through recessions and turbulent economic times, I've seen the decline of the wedding photography industry and the days where photographers could charge thousands are almost certainly over although I'm sure the rockstars will be along any minute to tell me that I'm wrong.
Whilst it's true that photography will always be a recession proof industry because people continue to get married and have babies, I do believe that the marketplace has suffered due to saturation and the worldwide economic decline that we've ultimately seen.
In 2007 when I started my business I was charging a little less than I do now and in 2008 I charged more per wedding than I do now, except now I have 10 years of experience and this goes for portraits as much as it does for weddings.
Someone wise once told me that if you compete on price alone then you will always lose because there's always someone out there who's cheaper than you and I still agree with this statement, except...
For every time when I have had to go away and readdress my pricing structure and I've wobbled in my business thinking that I couldn't stay afloat and be bringing in enough of an income to support the kids and me, I have had to use special offers to draw people back in again. This is not because I'm not good enough but simply because it's a buyers marketplace and those buyers are also having to watch their purse strings.
I genuinely love my clients, many of them have been with me for years and I've watched their children flourish and grow up, it's one of the things I am so thankful for. I love that my clients have supported me through difficult times and that no one questions how brilliant I am at what I do just because I'm an active advocate for someone who lives with bipolar, incidentally, I'm sitting here feeling poorly, I rescheduled a client this morning due to being ill, full of cold ill, it's the first time I've had to do that for about 2 years, I take what I do so very seriously.
So, lately I have been at a precipice of my business not knowing which way to turn, I now share my days with a freelance writing career which is still in its infancy, I want to continue to photograph kids and families but I had to make a decision, stay afloat and come up with an offer so competitive it can't be beaten or watch my business die and risk losing everything.
I genuinely believe that you will not get a better quality of mini session with the edited digital images for £100, I usually offer all-inclusive portrait sessions for £250 and for my level of skill and expertise it's probably still not enough however, I'm not too proud to eat humble pie and if people can only afford £100 then I want them to have the best damn photographs on the planet.
Even at £100, there are still photographers out there who are cheaper but I honestly don't know if they're better. Being a children and family photographer it's not all about the photography, there are so many skills you need to have and I will do whatever I need to get those shots, each and every child who's ever been photographed by me has gone away having had fun because that's what it's all about, it's about fun and it's about not feeling rushed and with only 30 minutes per family it could feel that way.
So for now, I am shooting £100 instead of £250 all inclusive mini sessions on selected dates and at selected locations around the North East of England and if you would like to book one you just need to message me, some upcoming dates and places where I have remaining availability are -
2 April - Jesmond Dene 12, 12.30, 1.30
23 April - Tynemouth Longsands 12, 12.30, 1, 1.30, 3, 3.30, 4, 4.30
30 April - Saltwell Park - 1, 1.30pm
6th May - Jesmond Dene 9, 9.30, 10.30, 11
There may be other dates as whenever I've announced them I've sold out so if you would like one for your family please email me.