Why Do Photographers Charge So Much?

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“I mean, don’t you just have a nice camera that takes nice picture? Can’t anyone pick up a nice camera and get the same quality of photos as you? Aren’t you just ripping people off with your fees? $395 for 1.5 hours of work? I mean, that’s the length of the session, you get paid more than some lawyers!”

Believe me, I’ve heard most of these comments from various people in my time in this industry. It’s discouraging, and it requires some educating of our clients to let them know exactly what their getting. So, why do photographer charge what we do? Let’s talk about it!

  1. Gear: Most of our gear costs several thousand dollars. For instance, in my case, I’m currently sitting on $4200 dollars of gear investment and I’m on the VERY LOW end of what most photographers have invested. We invest in this equipment because it provides our clients with exceptional quality in their images. We use high end gear so that you can enjoy high end, beautiful images of your most precious memories. It’s definitely not about having the most expensive equipment, I firmly believe that it’s more about our eye for creativity and beauty that make an image awesome, but having quality gear goes a long way to furthering that creativity and beauty. We also don’t want our gear to fail in the middle of a wedding, so keeping this upgraded and serviced helps make that horror never become a reality.
     
  2. TAXES!: Yes, we pay them and they are expensive! Small business taxes are no joke and they take a big chunk of our earnings. 15-30%!
     
  3. Education: The photography industry is constantly changing so we invest a lot of money into our education, from seminars, to classes, to contracts, workshops etc. All to provide, YOU, our clients, with the best of the best in vision and creativity. We’re artists, we see the world through different lens’ (no pun intended) and we work really hard to hone those skills into beautiful assets that our clients benefit from. We, those of use who consider ourselves professional photographers, take this seriously and are dedicated
     
  4. Subscriptions: In order to produce our images, most of us have to subscribe to several different platforms in order to do our post production and provide you with your amazing art. Lightroom, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Squarespace, Honey Book, Pic-time just to name a FEW of our monthly expenses! These are necessary expenses we use so that we can create art for you, build a website and sustain it so you can find us in order to book us to create your art, give you easy access to your contracts, invoices and galleries. Without these expenses, we wouldn’t be able to edit your images, give you a convenient way to view your images, make it super easy to communicate with you etc.
     
  5. A Living Wage: When it comes down to it, when I subtract my expenses from a senior session which lasts 2 hours, plus my 30 minute drive there and 30 minutes drive back, the 2 hours of scouting I did earlier in the week for your session to make it one of a kind, and the 3-4 hours of editing (most of the time more) I do after the session that you never see; I’m coming away with about $12-15 dollars an hour. I have a family, a husband in grad school and bills to pay, and we rely on this income! It’s not just a “hobby”. I take it seriously and pour a lot of time into it! And I love what I do!

Ok, we’ve covered a lot, and maybe you have more questions! Send them my way! I’d love to dialogue about this if it’s ever been something you wondered about! I haven’t even covered insurance, computers, legal fees, accountant fees or anything like that! It’s crazy to think about how much goes into this industry, but it’s so worth it, and really is the best job.

We get to be there for our client’s happiest moments. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Stephenie Masat