Why is the cost of custom photography so much higher than Sears or Walmart?
- Cost of running a business – camera equipment ($10,000 – $30,000), lighting ($5,000), props, blankets, flower headbands, hats, baskets, buckets, flashes, lenses($5,000), batteries, computer and calibration monitor ($4000), software ($2000), hard drives, pen tablets($600), packaging, and most of the photographer’s time!
- Years of experience…the more experience a photographer has, the more you will pay
- You are paying for the knowledge of the photographer, it takes years to master Photoshop skills and lighting in order to take beautiful images. Technology is always improving and your photographer needs to stay up on the latest and greatest equipment and software available to them. This might mean traveling to the USA to go to Photoshop conferences or taking other photographer workshops to learn and master the trade.
- The cost of the print….walmart only cost $1.99, why is the photographer charging $60.00 for a custom photography print. Well, the photographer takes every image and retouched any blemishes, artifacts, adjusting the finish of every image to match the artistic vision of the photographer. This all take TIME, taking the photo is the easy part! All the work happens when you go home and wait patiently to see your images! In order to do business, the cost of those prints needs to cover all the costs of doing business.
How much time does a photographer spend on a 1 hour photo shoot?
Here is a an estimate of how much time a photographer will put into your shoot:
- 30 minutes –inquiry emails, deciding on location, what to wear, type of shoot, finding a time that works, etc.
- 30 minutes –booking time, take the deposit, process the deposit, complete the contract form, update calendars
- 30 minutes to 1 hour– Ensure camera’s battery is charged, flashes have new batteries, lenses are clean, backup equipment is ready to go in case something happens, set up of newborn blankets, props, baskets, coordinating the flowers/headband colors, hats, wraps etc.
- 1 hr – if travel is required to go to and from the photo shoot
- 1 hr – 4 hr –with client photographing subject(s)
- 30-45 minutes to upload the images from memory cards to computer and back up the images
- 30 minutes to go through and choose the top 30 images for the gallery
- 2-5 hours editing time in camera raw/lightroom and then in photoshop
- 30 minutes loading the gallery on the internet
- 30 minutes to post images on facebook and blog posts
- 30 minutes to process your order of prints and checking it over
- 30 minutes-1 hour to go through weekly orders, and package them
- 30 minutes to make up the disc for the package
- 15 minutes for delivery or pick up of orders
- any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues
Approximate hours for one shoot: 16 hours
If the photographer wanted to make $25.00 per hour that would be $400.00 and they have not factored in the costs of doing business yet.
The most important and by far the reason you are investing in a custom photographer is for their reputation, expertise, and knowledge.
It is not easy to work with children or newborns, and if your photographer has never had their own children, I can assure you that it is not a easy task. I am not saying it’s impossible, but I am saying it is very difficult if you have not experienced raising children yourself. When you need beautiful wall art quality photographs, them you should expect to pay extra for the experience your photographer has to get those images for you! Photography has grown into a business where everyone feels if they have a digital SLR camera they can be a photographer. Just think if you were to hire that person and give them a film camera…would you still do it? Do you trust them to know their camera well enough without seeing the images on the back display? If your photographer is not charging the average rate for your session, that is probably because they are in the early stages of their business and have not built up enough experience and feels comfortable charging more. As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for”:)