Updated: Jun 24, 2020
If you've ever planned a wedding, special event, or some type of celebratory moment and wanted to have pictures to commemorate that moment, you've probably looked into hiring a photographer and been sticker shocked at some of the prices. Well, don't worry, I also experienced the same thing. Prior to becoming a Photographer myself, I use to complain at how much photography services cost. It's especially something that baffles the mind when trying to plan a self-paid for wedding on a small budget. But oh how my eyes have been opened and how I truly understand there is so much more behind those prices. And I want to help you understand that as well.
The first thing that I did not understand was that, just because you are paying $1000+ dollars does not mean the Photographer is paid that amount. Let that sink in for a second. The fact that being a freelance Photographer is a business, one must remember that Photography is a equipment and technology heavy industry, and the purchase and upkeep of that material can come with LARGE costs. Technology is constantly evolving and also breaking down. Which means neccessary upgrades and/or maintenance bills. This includes laptops, desktops, various camera lenses, storage cards, storage fees, editing software fees....the list could go on....but I think you get the point.
Then you have the time factor. It's easy to think, you are only paying for the time you spend with your photographer shooting the actual pictures, but the time it takes for client calls, creating and revising quotes, contracts, and invoices, planning sessions, reviewing the captured images, editing, and preparing to present your images often gets forgotten and overlooked. Some times the post processing of images can take hours just depending on the capacity of the equipment and software available/used by the photographer (refer to point #1). You like to get paid for your time at work right? Same concept.
And what about props, travel time, location fees... all self explanatory right?
Then the actual products. In order for you to receive your prints, albums, canvases et cetera, those have to be paid for somehow. Not to mention the quality of material used to manufacture these products.
And most importantly- the livelihood of the photographers. Many photographers have to use what's left over after all the expenses above are deducted to pay their bills... to pay taxes...to live and/or support their families.
The breakdown of a Photographer's financial obligations is not meant to make you feel sorry for Photographers or anything of that nature. It's simply just a way to help you understand that Photography as a business has more layers than one may see with the naked eye. So the next time you are Photographer shopping and feel yourself starting to become discouraged at the prices, stop and think about all the things mentioned above. And also remember that what you are paying for are not just images of you, but they are images captured in a creative, professional manner, and an investment in your visual heritage. So how much is your heritage worth?
Let's be friends! I want to help you understand all things portrait, event and branding photography. Even the super tech stuff like portrait preservation and using your images as home decor! If you haven't done so already, sign up for my email list. And if you have, contact me sometime. I'd love to chat about some of your ideas!