I need to pay WHAT for a photographer?

January 21, 2014  •  1 Comment


I've given this post a lot of thought, us "photographers" have all thought about this a LOT! It's the question of money. And what we charge. In this world we live in of everyone having a "decent" digital camera, anyone and everyone can be a photographer. But once you start doing photography as a business you have to start charging and what is a "correct" fee? Surely charging for the amount of work you do, your training, equipment, leased building, utility bills, insurance, transport, not to mention props (OH Esty I love you but hate you so much too). The majority of clients don't realize the real price of being a photographer, yes we stand there making your kids laugh and playing silly games, laugh and look like we are having a great time (and for the most part we are) but lots of work goes into that before your shoot. 

I personally spend a good few hours planning your shoot, making props, choosing the location, choosing backdrops, working out poses. And just thinking about your shoot, what you want, and how I can give you the best images possible.

 I think  because of places like walmart, portrait innovations, sears etc, who bombard people with flyers offering next to nothing shoots,that people don't really realize the true cost of GOOD photography, but if the truth be told it is very seldom that anyone walks away just paying that base cost. And then there is social media, every second mom who has a camera thinks she is a photographer. she does it "on the side" snaps a few shots on the camera her hubby brought her for Christmas, puts them on a disk and charges you $100. win/win right? Is it? Have you asked if the person wrapping your baby in fairy lights has any training, yes she saw this cute idea on pinterest, but are those lights safe if "little Billy" bites into them with his shinny new chompers? Or if she drops her big heavy camera on the floor is she insured?Ore better yet drops it on you or your baby. Or if your newborn, wedding, cake smash photos just "don't come out", what will be the result? Oh and what about paying taxes, is she declaring that "extra" money she makes, yes it doesn't sound like a lot a few hundreds dollars here and there, but if everyone does that???

And now HERE is THE REAL reason why we charge more...... editing! if you are a photographer or follow one you will know that most of us spend hours and hours usually in the late hours of the night editing. We often network with each other and often our posts say, " Who's still up editing with me?" We remove your spots, make all of you look like you have the best skin, white, perfect teeth, a sparkle in your eyes,that the world you are in is a perfect fantasy land. THAT is why you pay us, because we can make you look the best you ever have. We buy actions and soft wear, and special brushes, watch tutorial after tutorial, on how to do the latest looks, and then we get someone who says, "Can you remove the haze?", The very haze that cost $100 in soft wear, hours in training and lots of practice to get "just right".

Don't get me wrong, I'm a mom with camera too! I also started with my husband buying me a nice dslr. But I have art training, and I have worked HARD to learn all I can, I have been back to college, I do online courses, I read, and read, and practice and make sure I know all I can, both for my art and legally. I network constantly and ask advice. Basically I live, eat and sleep photography.


Then printing. OK cvs/costco/target have great prices on prints, but have you ever printed a photo at a professional printer and one at these places and compared them? These photos are going to adorn your walls would you not rather have something that looks exceptional than mediocre? Also professional printing is usually guaranteed against fading for 20+ years, are your cheap prints? And yes you do have them on disk and you can print them later, but remember those old floppy disks......
I am always amazed at clients who spend a fortune on outfits, haircuts, nails, for a shoot but then try cut me down on price. You should hire a professional who knows what  they are doing, who can make you look awesome in just normal clothes, who works with you, knows what you want and who would be more inclined to try do more for you if you valued them enough to pay me what  they are worth.

Professional photography is a luxury, it is, but why shouldn't you have a keepsake of someone you love, isn't good photography going to last longer that a expensive pair of shoes, or a new purse?


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Finally someone had the guts to say it out loud what almost every photographer thinks every time a price negociation discussion kicks in.
Nice said! I hope this reaches enough people so they can start thinking about what being a pro actually means!
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