Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?
(This article has been very well received by the photography community, and is now referred to by many Photography websites across the country)
In this digital age where everyone has digital cameras, scanners and home "photo printers", when people upload their photos to a local drug store website and pick them up a few hours later, we hear this all the time - How in the world do Professional Photographers charge $55 for an 8x10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drug store?
Simply put, you're not just paying for the actual photograph, you're paying for time and expertise. First, let's look at the actual time involved. If you don't read this entire page, at least read this first part.
For a two hour portrait session:
- one hour of travel to and from the session
- two hours of shooting
- 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.
- 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer (2 - 4 Gb of data)
- 30 minutes to back up the files on an external drive
- 3 - 4 hours of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs
- 2 - 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment and drop package off at Fed Ex.
- For local customers, we also print a set of all of their photos, and meet them at our studio to review the photos and place their order. Meeting and travel time averages 2 hours.
You can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than ten hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour.
For an eight hour wedding:
- I won't bore you with the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least two to three full 40 hour work weeks worth of time. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour.
Now for the expertise.
Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though a quality camera now costs under $2,000 taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.
Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc.
And let's not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera - and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself.
Think of it this way - the next time you pay $X to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional.
What about the cheap studios at the mall?
Please don't compare us to the chain store studios. But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won't come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for.
The truth is, most of the mall and chain store studios lose money. In fact, in 2007 Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios because of the financial drain they were putting on the company. What the chain stores bet on is that you'll come in for some quick and cheap photos, and while you're there, you'll also spend $200 on other things. They don't have to make money, they are just there to get you in the door.
We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the ones that you get from your local drug store.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Shawn, Pamela & Gavin Richter
Caught on Film Photography
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wow! I couldn't have said it better myself. Actually I wouldn't have said it at all, but am very glad someone else did!
Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?
Posted by Sandy at 6:43 PM
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I'm overwhelmed by all of my clients generous referrals, and must give you something back!!!
Specifically: When someone you referred completes their session with me, you are entitled to either a free 11x14 or a free new session! Just my way of saying thanks to all of my loyal clients.
Onto other business, I had a great session today with the "M" family! (no pictures posted at their request) Thank you guys for allowing me into your home and I feel like into your lives. I drove away feeling a little nostalgic for when my family was just starting out. I wouldn't trade where I am for anything, but those day's of 1 child under 1 are very special and go by very fast. I felt a lot of very special love within these 3 people, wish I could show you because it really shows in the photos!
Well, I can't very well post without a photo so up above is something new I'm offering. They are mini storyboards with a simple definition at the bottom that hopefully pulls at your heartstrings a little.
(The writing is showing up too small to read here so this is what it say's:)
Best friend, tough as nails, someone to share childhood memories, jump in puddles and build forts with.
Posted by Sandy at 3:56 PM
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Ok guys! Here is how I work! I just got an e-mail from the people who do my gallery wrap canvas that for 1 week Canvas's are 20% off so... that means you get 20% off to. This offer is only good on orders placed with me by January 25th. It's a great opportunity to get your favorite shot made into a piece of art. Act quickly if interested. I know I'm getting a few canvases for myself and my family.
Posted by Sandy at 2:42 PM
Monday, January 7, 2008
Had a wonderful, much needed vacation in the sun with my family! The best part is I got some great shots of my own kids and my niece and nephew!!! I have neglected taking pictures of my own family in this busy season and I have them all so well trained it's a pleasure. I barely have to bribe them anymore. Even my nephew humored me with a photo session. Here's a few of my favorites from the trip. I have lots more of scenery and tons of monkeys but they don't excite me quite the same way that children do. Enjoy my family!
Posted by Sandy at 3:06 PM