Monday, September 1, 2014

Why Professional Photographers Cost So Much!

It's been more than a year that I am doing professional photography. With that being said, I've encountered a lot of clients with different positive and negative reactions regarding the rates of our packages.


But nonetheless, Lampara Studio is still doing great with monthly bookings and lots of events being covered each month. Thanks be to God for all of the blessings.


But I wanted to share this write up I came along reading while browsing online.

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?

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 8×10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drug store?

Here’s why.

Simply put, you’re not just paying for the actual photograph, you’re paying for time and expertise in creating the image itself. 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 multiple external drives plus DVD’s

– 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 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 $300 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 one 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. In addition, all of the little “things” you want in the package, the album, the proofing, the prints, the parent albums, are not only expensive for the photographer to buy, but also require a lot of time by the studio to handle and produce.

Now for the expertise.

Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though our camera’s average $4,000-$5,000 for just the body, and most of our lens are in the $2,000 category, 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 $100 to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional to actually do the job.

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.

Conclusion

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.

29 comments:

Yvonne Roga said...

You get what you pay for. A professional photographer gets the rates they do because of all the expertise and time. I have seen when people cut corners and didn't get a professional photographer for weddings and learned to regret it.

Nolie said...

OMG one should never compare professional photographers to wal-mart photographers. Their photographers SUCK and barely know a thing about taking pictures or how to handle kids in a photo shoot. I like your comparison to getting your hair done at a salon.

Samantha Angell said...

This is a great post and gave me some good insight. When I paid my wedding photographer I did think of "oh, its this much an hour" without really thinking about the time before and after the wedding that he would put into my photos.

Mamalicious RAOM said...

YOu bring up some very important facts that I had never considered before. I guess like all other things, you get what you pay for.

Catherine Sargent said...

Thanks for breaking it all down. I never thought about all the extra time of driving, setting up and stuff.

Liz Mays said...

There are some moments in life that need to be captured and captured perfectly. Professional photographers know what they're doing and deserve their fees.

loveforlacquer said...

Thanks for breaking it all down! Pro Photographers are wonderful and should always be used!

Elizabeth Copeland said...

Professional photographers do take quality photos, and the quality of the inks and paper has far exceeded that of other commercial outlets, in my experience.

GabbyLynn Reviews said...

This is a great post. This is why friends should not ask their photo-friends to do free shots for them.

Bonnie Gowen said...

I totally get why they charge what they do. If you want good photos it's worth the price.

Marie Moody said...

Whoa, I know nothing about professional photography, but if you say that's the way it is then I'm with you. Love the shot with the couple too too cute! Thanks for sharing.

Sandy Olsen said...

I think professional photographers put in so much personal care and attention to their clients. They go above and beyond to take perfect pictures!

Erica Brooks said...

I'm not a photographer but I totally understand how hard it is to get people to understand the importance of and the value of a professional. I would much rather pay a professional to capture my life's special moments, especially a wedding.

Ben Butler said...

Great post. I see this all the time at the vet where I work. People wonder why it's so expensive. While there is the issue of supplies and overhead, there's also the fact that you're getting a quality product. Sure, you could find it for less, but you DEFINITELY get what you pay for.

Mrs. Mashed Up said...

Great piece! Mr. Mashed Up should write an article about why professional DJs and bands cost so much. People always try to haggle him dow because they have a friend with a iTunes account. *eye roll*

mail4rosey said...

Professional photography is worth every penny charged and more. I love my lifetime memories of my kids captured by a real photographer. I love my home photos too, but in a different way.

Patranila Jefferson said...

Being able to buy the tools does not make one a craftsman or an artist. The proliferation of point-and-shoot cameras as well as relatively inexpensive DSLRs make many people think they can do it themselves. Not so much!

Rebecca Swenor said...

We are having a old family friend who does photography do my sons grad pictures. She does awesome photos and even did my grad pictures years ago. There is no comparing in my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

Sharon Ruggieri said...

I have four friends who do this for a living and people just don't get how hard it is. Love this post

PinkPaisley Creative Design said...

My sister is a professional photographer, and I have really grown to appreciate freelance so much better!

MaryJane Tauyan said...

very true! i know how it feels! just recently i decided to pay much more than my hair would actually cost to fix because i know people are professionals an they give advice that you can use in the future. like in photography, you cannot just ignore the photographers experience through the years.

Marielle Altenor said...

I think if someone has the money to spend on professional photographers then why not! I've been wanting to get some professional pictures done but I'm always scared on how much it will cost lol Never really looked into the prices and such. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand where the cost comes in.

Mama Miller said...

I love photography and feel good pics are a good investment. We do professional family photos every year!

Andrea Kruse said...

Photography is really something where you get what you pay for! There is a lot of experience, tech and equipment that goes into being a professional and being able to ask for a higher salary. Having friends snap a few photos or hitting a bargain photo booth at the mall will never create the same product as a professional photographer.

Melissa said...

This makes me so glad that I have a friend who is a photographer. She charges very reasonably, does the shoot & edits the photos onto a disc. Then you have the option to print however many of whatever size you'd like.

Ann B said...

I have a few friends that are professional photographers. You are so right. There is so much more work that goes on behind the scenes. Good points.

Paulina @ Color Me Brave said...

You really do get what you pay for. I would never mind paying for a photo session if I were to get amazing results.

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

I have an artist friend who says: You are not paying me for what I do, you pay me for what I know. :)

Eliz Frank said...

I hear you! Being a professional photographer is a challenging job. I have friends in the business and they would say exactly what you shared.