Why are Professional Photographers expensive?
This article has been published in “Professional Photographer Magazine” and is a very informative read that I would like to share it with you.
In this digital age where everyone has cameras, scanners, and home “photo printers,” we hear this all the time: How do professional photographers charge £25or much more for an 8×10 when they cost just much less online or from a local store? Simply put, the customer is not just paying for the actual photograph; they’re paying for time, expertise and investment that photographer has put into their business.
The average one-hour portrait session.
First, let’s look at the actual work involved:
– Travel to the session
– Setup, preparation, talking to the client, etc.
– Shoot the photos
– Travel from the session
– Load images onto a computer
– Back up the files on an external drive
– 2 – 4 hours of Adobe® Photoshop® time, including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, and backing up edited photographs. Proof photos are also ordered.
– 2 – 3 hours to talk to the client to create session plans, answer questions, receive order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule deliveries, and post.
– Possibly meet clients at the studio to review photos and place order. Meeting and travel time average 2 hours.
– You can see how a one-hour session easily turns into an eight-hour day or more from start to finish. So when you see a personal photographer charging a £25-£50 session fee for a one-hour photo shoot, the client is not paying them £150 per hour.
Offering a professional photography service is a skill acquired through years of experience. Even though a DSLR now costs under £500 a professional camera is a lot more, but taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.
Most professional on-location or studio 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 and print photographs, run a website, etc. And don’t forget backdrops, props, training / personal development, rent, utilities, insurance, etc.
In addition to the financial investment, photographers actually have to have people skills to make subjects comfortable in front of the camera. Posing people to look their best is a skill by itself. You could argue that posing is a more important skill than actually knowing how to use the camera. A poorly exposed photo can be saved, but a badly posed photo cannot.
Chain stores do have their place. For a very cheap price you can run in, shoot some quick photos, and be done with it. But you get what you pay for.
Consider the time and effort that a professional on-location photographer puts into photographs, compared to a chain store. Store sessions last just a few minutes, while a personal photographer takes the time to get to know the people, makes them comfortable, makes them laugh. If a baby is crying at a chain store, they often don’t have the time (or the patience) to wait because everyone is in a hurry.
Professional Photographers are just that— professional. A personal photographer often becomes a friend, someone who documents a family for generations with professional, personal photographs of cherished memories.
Maybe we need to help clients look at it this way: A pair of scissors costs £1.50 at the supermarket. Still, most people will gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional hair dresser to cut their hair. The added attention and quality that a personal photographer gives is worth every penny.