WHY ARE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS SO EXPENSIVE!?
One day, the famous artist Pablo Picasso was sitting at a table outside a Paris cafe. A woman recognized him and asked if he would draw something for her on a napkin. He complied, doodling as only he could. After he quickly finished he requested the French equivalent of $5,000. Shocked, the woman protested, “But, it only took you two minutes!” To which Picasso smiled and replied, “No Madam, it took me my whole life.”
Pricing is one of the toughest topics a creative must tackle. I am sure many of you feel the same way…I just want to create!!! The reality is that the bulk of your time as a creative is not spent creating. You are running a business. My advice would be to accept that fact immediately. In fact, to be successful, embrace it. (I still struggle with that)
I spend 70% of my time in front of a computer either editing, managing email or managing various social media platforms. 10% in meetings. 10% studying and finally 10% shooting. Not at all what I expected when I starting shooting.
So why do I charge what I charge?
Because I give a shit!!
I genuinely care about the end result of each and every shoot, whether the world sees them or they are kept private.
Let’s break down a 2 hour shoot: Session fee $300
- Correspondence, talking with client, set up, planning, location hunting, props, coming up with some sort of original concept (I spend a lot of time thinking about you and your shoot before we even meet)
- Travel to the shoot
- 2 hours or more shooting
- Travel from the session
- Load the photos on computer and back them up on external drives
- Review and select the best to edit based on your work and mine ;)
- Editing. I do not use filters and custom edit each and every photo. For 5-10 photos I work between 2-4 hours minimum.
- Resize photos, upload to private gallery
- Take additional orders and edit them
- Burn to disk
- Meet and deliver the photos
- Get naked in my porsche and have models throw money at me
- Wake up!!
You can see how a one/two hour session easily turns into an eight-hour day or more from start to finish. So when you see a personal photographer charging a $300 session fee for a photo shoot, the client is NOT paying them $300 per hour.
MY SKILL AND THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS
We can all agree, based of the mountain of photography business’ that have erupted recently, that having a DSLR does not make you a professional photographer.
I have spent countless sleepless nights honing my skills. I study relentlessly. My study is not limited to shutter speeds and lighting. People…I study people and how they move, how to make them comfortable and most importantly, how to get the best out of them. This is not something learned in a book or a tutorial. This takes time.
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, rent, utilities, cd’s, lenses etc!
Professional, personal photographers are just that—professionals. No different than a mechanic, dentist, doctor, or electrician. But 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 drugstore. 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.
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