Monday, July 29, 2013

So what are you really paying for? - Why photography is so "expensive"

When looking for a photographer, session prices may seem expensive. When you divide the session price by the number of hours the session is, it may seem like a rip-off, am I right? I don’t ever want my customers to feel that way, so I’ve provided this more in-depth description of why a “session fee” appears to be so expensive. After all, I too appreciate knowing where my money is going when I pay for a service. So what are you really paying for? The cost of professional, personal photography falls into three main categories.

Time: The first thing that comes to mind when trying to figure out what you’re paying for is time. Most people just think about the actual session time, but I put much more time in preparing and planning your session before-hand, as well as time spent processing your images after the session, and ensuring quality delivery to you. Here is a detailed breakdown of how my time is spent on your session:
  • Setup, location preparation/planning, e-mailing/phone calls, etc. – 2 to 3 hours
  • Travel to your session location – 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Actual session time with you taking photos – 1 to 2 hours
  • Travel from your session location – 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Loading your images onto my computer – 30 minutes
  • Backing up your images on an external drive – 30 minutes
  • Processing your images so they look their absolute best, including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, and backing up edited images.  – 2 to 4 hours
  • Packaging your images – 1 hour
  • Shipping your images to you – 1 hour
Total time: approximately 9 to 14 hours per "1-hour" session.

Expertise: Shooting professional photography is a skill acquired through years of experience. Even though a DSLR camera now costs under $1,000, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera [1].

Most personal photographers take years to go from buying their first camera to making money with photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera, there is a mountain of other equipment and software programs used to edit images and run a website, plus props, rent, utilities, etc [2].

Putting it in to perspective: Professional, personal photographers are just that—professionals. We’re no different than a mechanic, dentist, doctor, or electrician. But a personal photographer often becomes a friend, someone who documents a family for generations with professional, personal photographs of cherished memories [3].

Look at it this way: A pair of scissors costs $1.50 at the drugstore. Still, most people will gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional hairdresser to cut their hair [4].

The added attention and quality that a personal photographer gives is worth every penny

Reference [1-4] – Caught on Film Photography

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