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Why does photography cost so much?

A lot of people wonder why a simple, short photoshoot may cost a lot of money. Most people tend to think about the time spent only taking the photos, instead of the time after editing, not to mention everything else that goes into it. So I'll briefly break some of it down for you. I'm not just speaking for myself, but for all types of photographers.


1. Insurance

This is huge if you are a wedding photographer, and insurance is not cheap!


2. Editing

Editing your photos take time. Not to mention we probably have 20 other sessions to edit, while trying to post sneak peaks of all of them here and there. For me, summer and fall are definitely when I am busiest. But I also have a full time job, so time is crunched for me! Don't be surprised if you have to wait weeks to receive your photos. Hours upon hours go into it that you don't know about! Most photographers learn ways to become more efficient, but we are also very detailed and want to make sure every photo is perfect, or close to it.


3. Equipment

Batteries, CF cards, lighting equipment, external speedlite flash, back up camera, lenses, external hard drives, new computer, upgrading equipment for the latest and greatest, bags, straps, tripods, lens protectors, cleaning kits, and so much more! All of this equals up to thousandsssss of dollars, and depending on the quality of your equipment and how much you have, it can be a while until all of it becomes paid off from your photography.


4. Learning

As like in any job, you want to always learn and stay up to date with the latest trends and how to's. This could be attending seminars and work shops or even watching tutorial videos. There's so much to learn about what these cameras can do, and even more to learn about the endless possibilities in Photoshop and Lightroom.


5. Maintenance

Just like a car, sometimes parts need replacing and a good cleaning. Which requires spending money, obviously.


6. Adobe Subscription

Let me say, Adobe isn't cheap and it sure adds up every month, but we literally can't live without this program.


7. Websites

A lot of photographers deliver photos digitally. I use Pixieset, and some other fan faves are ShootProof, SmugMug, Zenfolio, and Shutterbug, to name a few. Yes, all of these cost money for either site use or storage. Some are even super expensive! And with these, I'm just talking about how clients receive and order their photos. My website domain is a whole other story, site, and expense.


8. Social Media

This is silly, but as photographers we rely heavily on word of mouth and social media. Sometimes to reach new people, we have to promote our page and posts, which costs a few bucks. But doing a few a week or month, seriously adds up! Not to mention business cards, newspaper ads, and any other forms of advertising photographers use!


9. Travel Fees & Parking

If you live in a city, most likely your photographer will have to pay for the few bucks for parking or tolls. We have a lot of beaches around here that cost about $10 to get in. Not to mention those that drive far for shoots or even hop on an airplane just to take photos of you! Wow, dedicated!


10. Studio

Some photographers own a studio, which opens up a whole new door of expenses. Rent, utilities, taxes, security, who knows what else! Imagine having to pour all of that in your studio space to make it cozy and comfortable for clients!


11. Time

Need I say more? I work full time. I Shipt shop. I'm apart of multiple organizations through Grand Valley. I have a busy life! I balance everything pretty well and have excellent time management! Life is all about trades and opportunity cost. If I get asked to do an hour session for a discount...is it really worth my time and effort that will go into it? For example, say I do a discounted session for $100. Taking photos take about an hour, and then lets say I spend 4 hours culling and editing. Say thats about 5 hours (at least) into your session for $100. For 5 hours worth of Shipt shopping, I could easily make $110-$140 doing that with my time instead. But, because I love what I do, I choose photography over Shipt shopping, but it's got to be worth my efforts and time! Time is money, honey!


Phew! I'm sure there is so much more that I missed, but I think you get the idea. Always remember, when choosing a photographer, you get what you pay for. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make your photoshoot happen. It is an investment and for the price, a good one! Memories last a lifetime!


A lot of people are shocked once they see the price of a session. They think, "wow, $200 for an hour session for 50 photos?" It's not just that, I promise! Sure, if you're friends, you may get a slight discount. I've even had people negotiate between the different types of sessions that I offer. At some point though, you want to just take it for what it is, because I promise it is worth it! Asking for a cheaper deal is like saying you don't really value their time, work, and efforts. By accepting the price they tell you, it shows you see the value in our work, time, and skills. It's such a better feeling! Sometimes, you'll see a price jump mid year! That could be due to multiple factors! I will do an increase soon, just not sure when and how much. It can be due to competition, cost of living, and how much you are wanted!



If you ever have any questions about anything, feel free to ask!



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