I recently did a poll on my business page on Facebook and asked, “What are some fears when hiring a photographer and what are you worried about???” 76% of the people who voted said it was money, it was costs. The next one that others were really worried about was time. Its hard when you have a family and you work and then the kids have extra activities to get together and make everyone smile! Just know though that it can be done and I try so hard to make every photo session enjoyable and fun! Back to the money part…..
Photography sessions can be really REALLY expensive. Alot of people don’t understand (I didn’t either) why it cost so much for someone to go out and snap a few pictures for 30 minutes to an hour and then charge $350.00. I really would like to break down cost and time that you don’t see and give you a little visual of what the photography world looks like, well at least mine.
Right now, I work full time at a job that provides a paycheck that my family can live on and gives me insurance and also retirement. It definitely isn’t my dream job, but under my circumstances right now in my life, I am grateful that I have it, but I also know that it wont be my forever job. I have mentioned before in previous blog post how I got started, but right now I am fully trying to make my business be successful. With that being said, Photography is my part time job that I do in the evenings and on the weekends. With me I’m honestly not even as expensive as my local photographers charge, in which I want to reach that goal one day!
Gear (camera, lenses, etc.): I am not close to having what I need and what I want to have for my business, but a camera cost alot of money and I’m not talking about the $300-$500 small DSLR camera that takes good pictures, I’m talking about a few thousand dollars of a camera. That’s just including the camera body, so now you need buy lenses. Each lens does different things and gives you different looks,bokeh, distance, etc. and depending on the camera you have and what brand determines how much a lens cost. The lens I want right now, honestly is almost the same amount as I spent on the camera body.
Accessories: This will include, straps for you to carry your camera, memory cards, flashes, lights, bags, cases, batteries, etc. Honestly, with this, the list could go on depending on the style of photographer you are. With me, I slowly buy props for my customers depending on future sessions or goals that I want to reach and those cost money.
Time: Lets talk about a basic portrait session. I will talk to my client, make sure that both times and dates are good for both of us to set up a session. Also depending on which package you have the 15 minutes to an hour and a half session, then I go home, load the pictures up, go thru the bad and the good, and I edit each and every picture for you to have. I load them up into my computer and then I load them into your gallery. I know this time don’t seem time consuming, but depending on how many pictures were in the session it can take up to 5 hours. Also most photographers start off, including me doing free sessions to build their portfolio, so we arn’t making money, we just are trying to get better,
Knowledge: Being a professional photographer takes time, its a trial and error business. You go on the internet and find AMAZING photographers and want to duplicate what they did, but they have skill and also their own style. Each Photographer has to go and find their style and learn, learn, learn. I didn’t know my style a few months ago and I have to say that I’m still tweaking it a bit, but honestly that’s what makes photography so much fun. One big costs that I have encountered also is that I have taken professional classes online to help better my skill and constantly in contact with other photographers.
Business: Like I mentioned before every photographer is different and works not the same way as the next. I pay monthly for my website, which by the way it took me a solid month to build, then I pay for 2 editing softwares each and every month. I bought business cards, logos and numerous office supplies to help be successful and more professional. When I meet with my client, I let them sign a waiver, that took time and money, I also pay taxes on any and all business that I do.
I know there is so much more that I have left out, but I kind of wanted to show you a little bit of the world that we live in. Its not hunky dory all the time and every day I come in and sit at my desk and update everything business wise, EVERY SINGLE DAY! I love it!! I wouldn’t change it for the world and this isn’t me venting or complaining or a “look at me”. A photographer or any business owner truly puts time, sweat, blood and tears into it. Also failure is a big factor, not being good enough or not being able to succeed. With any business there’s competition and sometimes its trying to get more creative to stand out a little bit more.
Before I make this into a super long blog, this is just a little bit into the cost, time, energy that a photographer does to be successful. I truly do understand that its hard to pay for professional pictures when they are a few hundred dollars, but just know that you are paying for the art, craft, time, energy, and skill of the photographer. A good photographer will want to have a relationship with you and also make the experience memorable and also want to deliver pictures that will last a lifetime, that my friend is what you are truly paying for.