I am a Wedding, Engagement, Elopement, and Senior Photographer, based in Humboldt County, California. Here on my blog, you'll find gorgeous imagery featuring my amazing clients, as well as helpful tips and insight for your wedding day or portrait session!
Pricing to me, is the most difficult aspect of running a photography business. I grew up without money, so I send out pricing lists with a know it my stomach, but I know if I dont charge the right amount, I will run myself right out of business. At some point in every professional photographers career they have heard at least one of these responses to their price list:
Wow, you charge how much a session?!?
What exactly do I get for that much?
I can go to Walgreens and print out copies for a much cheaper price!
There is no doubt that photography is expensive. But, photography is expensive on both ends. The $350 session that generally lasts about an hour or two, give or take, of actual shooting is much more than the push of a button. When you break down the hidden time frame and necessary investments it takes to be a successful photographer, most dont earn much.
So then, why is photography so expensive? Well, here is the break down on what you are really getting when you invest in a professional photographer and what you miss out on, when you dont
Hidden Hours come with every photography session. The charge for a $350 one hour session isnt actually $350 an hour. Professional photographers typically spend much more time than that on a session.
Although the client may only see the photographer for an hour, most likely there was:
over an hour of planning for the shoot
time traveling to the shoot (especially in Humboldt county where the area is very rural and spread out)
time spent preparing and setting up equipment (charging batteries, cleaning lenses, formatting SD cards, flash and umbrella set up.)
the actual hour or two spent shooting
time traveling back from the shoot
at least an hour (usually more) to load and choose only the best images
another two hours minimum to edit the images- usually around 6
an hour to load the images online
an hour to order and deliver the prints
If you factor in the list above, that $350 session, then, becomes roughly $30 an hour, excluding expenses.
Photography gear is extremely expensive. After the break down of a $350 an hour session including the hidden hours, one would think an hour is actually only about $30, right? Hold on a minute, what about the photography equipment? Many parts and pieces to a camera are necessary to have in order to create the final images you receive from your photo session!
Just some of the basic pieces required are:
the actual camera itself (minimum cost of purchase is $3,000)
a second camera body in case of emergencies (another $2,000 to $3,000)
a camera lens or a mix of prime lenses and zoom lenses (ranging from $500 to $6,000)
the camera flash (most photographers have more than one and average cost for a good flash is around $600)
memory cards ($25-$400)
filters (anywhere from $30-$320)
camera bag (around $200)
computer equipment (hard drives to back up photos and to edit, spending roughly $3,000)
Remember that different types of photography also require different gear (and different time commitments). There are also others costs to a photography business such as website fees, social media planning, design, client management systems, lightroom, and photoshop memberships, quickbooks subscriptions and other entities which all incur a monthly fee.
A professional photographer has most likely spent quite a bit of money honing their craft through professional development,whether that be online courses or attending in person workshops, all of which require a hefty fee.
Everyone should take photos, whether its of their own children growing up, the places they travel to, or the memories they are creating from the experiences they are having! But, there is a significant difference between a casual snapshot and a professional image.
When you hire a professional photographer, you are hiring an artist. That artist then knows how to:
light each shot
set up the photo
pay attention to detail
By hiring a professional photographer, the images created can be reprinted onto a large canvas, which is something a smart phone camera has more difficulty in doing.
When you hire a professional photographer, you get an artist that has the talent to see beyond the lens and can capture an array of images that are like no other! Each image created, tells the story of an experience that is uniquely your own. Good photography is expensive. Capturing the perfect moment in an image that tells an unforgettable story however, is simply priceless
Let's create once-in-a-lifetime photos.
I will send you additional information in the next 48 hours!