Portrait Photography: Piece of paper? or a precious moment captured?

Why do Portrait Studio’s charge what they do?

I’ve been asked why professional photographers charge what they do?. In fact today I had a call from a guy creating a new website for his business who needed  a ‘simple headshot’ -  that’s code for, ‘I’ve tried pointing my iPhone at myself and it looked like crap. – but I don’t really want to pay for  a professional” He said he was surprised at the cost of  professional portrait photography (BTW, my prices are right in the middle range) – I suggested he try his iPhone (again) if quality was not important – cheap but not smart.  It ‘s a fact with business portraits;  your reputation depends on external perceptions of you based on the image you choose  to represent you. Your goal should be to put out the best possible image, one that connects with a potential or existing client and engages that viewer in that split second, a portrait that speaks about your professionalism, approachability, creativity  -  whatever qualities you are trying to convey. A professional photographer creates that for you.

Portrait Photography. How much should you pay?

Whether they are family portraits or head shots for business professionals/ corporate executives,  photography prices do vary quite significantly. However, if price alone is the criteria on which you choose a photographer then chances are the cheapest option will win the day.  Not a wise way to choose anything, frankly. Would you hire an attorney or a dentist based on the cheapest you could find?  I hope not. A professional photographer is someone who is going to capture some very important moments of you or your infants life, or create the ‘face’ of your professional career or website presence.

One phrase that pops up occasionally, “it only costs just a few dollars to make a print – so why do you charge more?”

The value is in the image, not the cost of the paper itself.  Why do people pay attorney’s hundreds of dollars for a piece of paper that costs nothing ? Again, the value is not in the paper, it’s in the expertise. Like a professional photographer, they are providing you with something of value. They are providing what you cannot do yourself. You can buy a law degree online, or the most expensive camera, but it doesn’t make you a skilled lawyer nor a professional photographer.

But it’s just the camera right?   

If clicking the shutter is essentially all a  professional photographer does, then get your 9 year old to take your business portraits  it could turn out really well. ..  or the famous uncle Bob (no offense to my real uncle Bob). Once in a while he comes up with something pretty decent.

Consider this quote from the famous photographer Ansel Adams.

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams

What Ansel Adams is saying is that it’s not about the camera. It’s about the artistic vision, creative talent and technical skills of the photographer. The skills  required to be a professional photographer have been developed and honed usually over years of hard work (in my case 20+ years). A professional photographer puts in an immense amount of time to develop a style that can produce powerful and emotional  portraits – whether they be of a corporate  business executive or a family portrait.The camera’s is just a tool, albeit an important tool. It’s  what the photographer creates with that tool that counts. That is what you are paying for and the photographers skill and aesthetic should be the criteria on which a photographer is evaluated and hired.

Discussing what makes a great portrait is a full-time debate in itself, but expression, pose, composition, lighting, catch light in the eyes, pleasing skin tones, emotion and with family portraits,  an extra ‘something’ that captures a fleeting moment in a child’s life. Good post processing and printing are also important factors when reviewing portrait photography.  Not all photographers are equally skilled or creative and styles of photographers are different so reviewing a photographers portfolio is important. Look for photography that resonates with you.  Photography that feels authentic to you. The difference in quality and style between photographers will be apparent once you really start to look. Professional photographers that produce quality work do often charge more, so hire the best you can afford.

It’s so odd to me that people will buy a print from a mall, of a beach they have never even been to and hang it on their wall. Yet often those same consumers want  bargain basement family portraits of their kids.  When did your children and family become less valuable than that weird  beach scene you paid  hundreds of dollars for?

My clients who purchase quality portrait photography have a beautiful reminder of a precious moment in time – portraits that are still hanging or on display in their homes, long after the ‘beach scene’ ended up in  the yard sale. These are portraits of genuine personal value.

How can we hold onto those fleeting moments in our lives? Hold onto the moments that otherwise evaporate into the forgotten past? Or moments that become faded and morphed into our own version of reality as they sit in the corners of our memories, losing their truth and shifting focus? The only way to hold onto these moments and share them for years to come, in all their beauty and truth and glorious imperfections, without losing accuracy is through a photograph.”  Rosanne Moreland

So how much should you pay for portrait photography ? 

My honest answer?

Hire the best you can afford. (same goes for attorneys)



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John Kerry’s first day at work as Secretary of State


John Kerry, Secretary of State photographed at Department of Diplomatic Security, US State Department, Washington DC. Event Photography by Eikon Photography

Monday was a big day for John Kerry who made the rounds of the several of the State Department offices.

It’s always a good policy to arrive somewhat earlier than planned with event photography. Otherwise I would have had to take the stairs to the 24th floor. Whoa !

Event Photography

Eikon Photography




Rassi - February 8, 2013 - 6:15 pm

I had no idea there were buildings in DC with that many floors! Cool assignment!


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Eikon Photography Washington DC Review

Eikon Photography Washington DC Review

So why am I putting this here? Basically because when my clients are kind enough to write reviews of Eikon Photography I’d like them not to be filtered out by some useless filter that just doesn’t work. This is a a real live review of Eikon Photography from a real live client.

eikon photography reviews recommendations 1444 independence ave se washington dc

Eikon Photo DC review. Client reviews of Eikon Photography Washington DC

Eikon Photography Washington DC Review


Eikon Photo DC


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Business Portraits in Washington DC by Eikon Photography

Business Portraits in Washington DC

What is the point of a business portrait or professional head shot?

It’s a good question, and there’s more than one answer.
Frequently clients schedule a business or corporate headshot or portrait having not yet thought about why or what they are looking for. They just know they need one. Now for the stunning news!!
Not all businesses are the same. What works for an international patent firm may be very different from a firm specializing in entertainment law. Likewise a medical professional will need a different approach. I work with a lot of PR professionals and their needs are completely different, not only from other areas of expertise but within their own profession. Here’s a few business portraits.

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eikon photo dc attorney portraitseikon photo revieweikon photo reviewLinkedin portraits by Karen Sayre Eikon Photography washington dc

 “Business Portraits in Washington DC”

The world is such a visual place now, it’s more important than ever to have images that truly represent not only your business but also a reflection of who you are. This is even more so with the explosion of social media and the marketing and professional opportunities that social media now provide.

When I first speak with a prospective client about their professional photography needs I usually ask a lot of questions in an effort to learn about not only what the client may know they need, but also sometimes what they don’t know they need. Of course there are occasions when we simply need to match a corporate ‘look’ for an existing group of head shots. In those cases, I study the existing images prior in order to match the ‘look’, lighting and background as closely as possible. More frequently clients are trying to convey ‘something’ My questions are designed to understand what those values are. I also encourage the client to try and take a step back and consider the questions from the standpoint of their potential viewers.
If I were to list some of those qualities I think these would rank well

Professional - Approachable - Personable  - Trustworthy -Intelligent

Regardless of what type of ‘look’ your business portrait has, there’s one element that remains true across the board – the need to connect with the viewer. There is something universal in how we connect with images of each other, and how we react to those images.

You want that viewer to feel that they would want to talk to you. And, you only have a few seconds to make that connection. It’s not about being beautiful or a ringer for Daniel Craig (although that wouldn’t hurt)- it’s about being authentic.

In Part Two, we’ll talk about how to choose clothing that optimizes your image and your message.

Eikon Photo DC is a full service photography studio with a dedicated professionally equipped studio on Capitol Hill.  However, if you prefer we can come to your offices and provide the same quality product.


If you would like to know more about Eikon Photography, Karen Sayre or our Capitol Hill Studio

If you would like directions to Eikon Photography Capitol Hill http://blog.eikonphoto.com/?page_id=376 

Business Portraits in Washington DC

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Eikon Photography Review

Eikon Photography review

Reviews on the internet: Worthless time suck or valuable?


I’ve heard the web described as the new ‘wild west’ frontier. Maybe so. With the vast quantity of internet review information available it gets increasingly difficult to get  quality meaningful information in front of the viewer. Reputation management is meaningless these days given that people can and do review you, even if they have never worked with you – and as a small business there’s nothing you can do about it. When I first read such stories I assumed it was just a few business owners bellyaching, but not so much.

You’ve probably read about small businesses being bullied by clients wanting ‘freebies or they’ll ‘dis’ you online’ Not only does it negatively impact the business, but it’s not fair to the people really seeking information about a business.  Of course it’s important to know if there’s serious issues with a prospective doctor or other professional, but what happened to trying out a restaurant for yourself? Speaking personally, I’ve never been to a newly opened restaurant that hit it’s stride in that first few weeks after opening. Yet now everyones a food critic. Not so much Sergei (you’ll have to dig deep for that little meerkat joke).  If you went into a restaurant, and some total stranger approached you and said ‘ Hey this is not your type of restaurant’ would you do what they told you? My guess is probably not (I hope). So explain to me why perfectly sensible people would read something online and take it as gospel?


Eikon Photography Review

Review Eikon Photography DC

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Hedgehog review


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Eikon, Eikon Everywhere …Eikon Photo? Eikon Photography

Eikon Photography review

Where’s Eikon Photography? Apparently everywhere! When I first started Eikon Photography back in 1992, I was careful to research the use of the name Eikon before choosing it for my business name.
I’ve been asked a thousand times (ok slight exaggeration, but only slight) what the word Eikon actually means. So, for all of you dying to know. Eikon is the Greek root of the word ‘icon’ It was adopted into latin in the mid 16th century and means : likeness, image. I chose to use the Greek spelling. I am not Greek, I’m English.

if you want to read the full monty on the meaning, try here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icon

Well back in 1992, other than a wonderful visual magazine published in Germany, there was no one using the name Eikon. Fast forward to today ….. yikes, there’s a million. I thought I would be obscure enough to remain unique. Apparently not so much. So to dispel any confusion, here are a few of the ‘Eikon’ s that I am NOT.

www.eikondevice.com Nope – not me.
Well, actually I don’t sell tattoo equipment. No surprizes there.

Ewww.eikonphotography.net Christian Based, Family Owned photography.
Definitely not me. I’m all about diversity and inclusion. I’m happy regardless of anyones religion, sexual preference, race, or shoe size.

Here’s another Eikon in Nigeria ! This is cool, but I have not gone multinational as of yet. Actually keeping up with DC is quite enough.
Welcome To Eikonworld Productions (Nigerian Based Wedding …

Nope, I’ve not established any churches recently either.
www.myeikon.com/Copyright 2013 Eikon – Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale

eikonphotography.com California here we come? Not so fast! Now this is where most confusion has arisen. Eikon Photography out in sunny CA do lovely work, and occasionally we get clients who somehow mix us up. This is even more the case since one of the owners shares the same first name with me (although spelled very differently)

And the list goes on ..
5 production companies, several in France,  a couple of wedding video companies and a few things techie that I don’t understand!

And I just discovered the Eikon spa somewhere in PA. Nice, but not me.

Here’s “Eikon Photography Washington DC”

It’s amazing what you can find when you’re not looking!
Here are the sites that do belong to me.


Eikon Photography review


Basically, if it’s not here in Washington DC, it’s probably not me!

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A Few Thoughts on Thanksgiving.

In the spirit of giving thanks, I want to share this wonderful poem with you. It’s by Max Coots. It’s maybe a little hokey but I love it. I hope you do too.

Mr. Coots died in 2009 at the age of 81.  His poem lives on.

Poem /prayer by MAX COOTS


Let us give thanks for a bounty of people
For children who are our second planting
and though they grow like weeds
and the wind too soon blows them away,
May they forgive us our cultivation
and remember fondly where their roots are.

Let us give thanks:
For generous friends, with hearts as big as hubbards
and smiles as bright as their blossoms;
For feisty friends as tart as apples;
For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers,
keep reminding us we’ve had them;
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb
and as indestructible;
For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants
and as elegant as a row of corn,
and the others, as plain as potatoes and so good for you;
For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts
and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes,
and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers
and as intricate as onions;
For friends as unpretentious as cabbages,
as subtle as summer squash,
as persistent as parsley,
as delightful as dill,
as endless as zucchini,
and who, like parsnips,
can be counted on to see you throughout the winter;
For old friends,
nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time
and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;
For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils
and hold us, despite our blights, wilts, and witherings;
And finally, for those friends now gone,
like gardens past that have been harvested,
but who fed us in their times
that we might have life thereafter;
For all these we give thanks.

– Max Coots

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