Thursday, May 11, 2023

Why Do Some Photographers Charge So Much? Why hiring an experience photographer is worth the extra money

With cameras on everyone's phone, many people wonder why photographers charge "so much" for their services. So let's break it down and see if I can help you understand. 

1. Let's start with the basics. Photography is how they make their living and support their families. Consider what you do for a living, do you expect to get paid well for what you do? And even more so, if you have received education specific to your job, have years of experience and give 110% every time you show up for work?

2. One shoot takes hours of work including answering questions, scheduling, invoicing, bookkeeping, driving to and from the location, the actual shoot, downloading and culling the images, preparing a sneak peek, loading galleries, editing orders (not just slapping on a filter) and delivery those orders in a timely manner. 

3. Additional time is also spent, scouting locations, keeping up with permit requirements and ever changing resale tax laws, maintaining a social media presence (any idea how long it takes to make one reel with 20 different images?), adding new and fresh content on the website, maintaining an active blog so that search engines treat you well and making sure the image you want to put out to the public is articulated in everything you do, post and email. 

Let me share an example of time spent before the shoot is even booked. Recently, after dinner,  I went outside to soak up some much needed fresh air and chat with my husband for a minutes. I got a call from a potential client, who was looking for a shoot on one specific morning for 15 people. (You have to take the call, even if it is after business hours, because often times, people book the first person they get ahold of.) As an experienced photographer, I knew that a morning shoot in May was going to prove challenging with the sun already high in the sky and getting higher by the moment. In addition, she had a family member with limited mobility and she hoped to stay in a particular area. I asked for sometime to think it through and told her that I would email her back with my suggestions. I spent the next hour and half pouring through my locations to find something that would photograph well that time of day, have adequate space for that number of people and have easy access. I went through years of blog posts finding examples of photos taken in those locations at that time of day, so she would know exactly what to expect. I even calculated the distance from the car to the spot I was thinking of and described the terrain. I already have well over an hour invested in this one client and no guarantee that she will book with me. She might find someone who is less expensive and decide to book with them. I can only hope that she will recognize the value of my experience, but unfortunately,  often times it simple comes down to price.  

4. Then, of course, there is the cost of doing business. Cameras are only as good as the photographer using them, but cameras with full-frames, good resolution, pin-point focus, and easy access settings for manual shooters to create images than can be blown up and hung on wall without losing quality cost a lot of money. Lens that can capture details in low light are also quite pricey. Computers, editing software, showcase software, back-up drives, and cloud storage all add up.  Oh... an insurance! And blankets, baskets, hats and all sorts of other props for newborn and kid's photography. 

Being a good photographer is so much more than just taking a photo. 

- It's spending hours learning to use your equipment and understanding how light, aperture and shutter speed affect the final image.

- It's investing in continued education to learn the latest editing software and techniques. 

- It's spending your whole day watching the weather and trying to make the right call when you have NO IDEA what is going to happen.

- It's being patient with kids (and dad's) that just want to have a snack and go home. 

- It's helping a nervous high-school senior feel comfortable and be themselves.


- It's understanding the best way to help someone who is feeling self-conscience or insecure feel confident and beautiful. 


- It's finding a way to turn a timid child into your best friend.

- It's being able to troubleshoot on the fly when unforeseen things (weather, meltdowns, clothing mishaps, location issues etc.) happen. 

- It's being able to make perfect strangers feel like your old friends. 

Photography isn't simply a hobby or something I just do in my spare time, It's a career. I spend hours everyday researching ways to improve my technique and give my clients the best possible experience and outcome. 

Photography is also my passion and I truly love the families that trust me with their photos year after year.

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