I have heard several complaints from customers about the going rates for photographers. They say, “It is so expensive for just a couple of pictures.” Do you have any idea how frustrating it is when your price lists are questioned? Most semi-professional and professional photographers have been educated by the top artists in their field or they have taken it upon themselves to spend countless dollars and endless hours studying the art that is photography in order to create the images you seek. You wouldn’t question the woman who is altering your wedding dress, would you? She’s the professional, she is the best at what she does. You wouldn’t question your doctor when he tells you that you need medicine to feel better. He went to school to be right—and think about how much HE makes.
The point is that a photographers time and experience are valuable. Do you know what goes into preparing for a shoot? We have to test all of our equipment and sometimes have to replace it. A high quality camera, specialized lenses, memory cards, digital software, tripods, umbrellas and lighting, and colorful background are professional-grade and are quite expensive. We have to go to our locations and find the best possible spots for the photographs. We have to study the lighting, the angles, we even have to recognize the traffic of said locations. And forget the time it takes for an actual shoot. Try to imagine sitting in front of a computer for days at a time, editing shot after shot. And to go further…some photographers actually print and matte the photographs.
You may think that a photographers life is easy, but we are constantly running a business. There isn’t a time we aren’t publicizing. There isn’t a second that goes by that we aren’t editing or thinking about editing. We do this for a living. If it were as simple as getting my mom’s point-and-shoot digital camera and taking a few pictures, then, yeah, I could understand ignoring fees and prices. The thing is…our job is what puts food on our tables. Each minute we spend shooting one photograph is at least fifteen in editing software. Each time we set up our tripods and we tell you to tilt you head and we are scrutinizing the light around us, we are thinking of our professional and personal livelihood.
Are some prices outrageous? Well, yeah. Aren’t some prices for certain shoes or dresses or purses outlandish? But why do we buy things if they are so expensive? It’s for (a) the quality of the product and (b) the meaning it holds for being perfectly created for consumers. But let me ask you all these questions:
Can you actually put a price on
Most of these events only happen once in our lives and you are questioning the value of them by questioning your photographer. Most of us are regular people who just have a love for capturing moments and sharing them with people. Most of us will never shoot for Vogue; most of us will never travel with National Geographic and shoot the pyramids or some random bird in the Amazon. And most professional photographers? They would pay the prices another photographer lists.
Because we want our moments to be perfectly capture, too.