"Why do photographers charges SO much?"
"If you charge more than $100 for Minis, you're crazy!"
These are two real comments(not directed towards me) that I've heard in the past few weeks as we gear up for fall/holiday photos. Everyone is looking for a photographer and everyone is looking for a great deal.
I get it. My family lives on one income, supplemented by my photography. We live on a budget. Shout out to the man, Dave Ramsey, we live debt free. And photography is a luxury item. It is not a need, for sure. But why is it SO expensive? I'm writing this post in hopes of shedding some light on the subject. This is not something I understood before I got into the world of photography and started my own business.
It is called the "CODB" or cost of doing business. And it varies tremendously for each photographer related to the size and scale of his/her business. But the cost of doing business might include:
- Taxes (self employment, income, sales, preparation, state registration)
- Equipment (cameras, lenses, computer, lighting, gear)
- Software (editing software, presets, actions, overlays)
- Storage (external hard drive, back up, memory cards, internal storage)
- Web Subscriptions (online viewing gallery, website membership and hosting, scheduling management system)
- Advertising (sponsored posts, digital and print ads, SEO marketing)
- Financial (transaction fees, bank fees, invoicing systems)
- Continuing Education (workshops, trainings, webinars)
- Location Expenses (studio rentals, location photography fees)
- Props (furniture, backdrops, costumes, gowns, newborn props, cute extras)
- Support (assistants, second shooters, editing/culling, hair and make up, lawyers, accountants, insurance)
Time and Travel also has to be valued. It includes gas, time away from family, time spent editing, and childcare. They arehuge factors for all of us as we set our prices and step out the door for your session.
Especially in the higher end market, the following might impact pricing: expertise, customer service, unique/tailored images, one one one consultations, and product hard costs, packaging, and delivery.
We take these costs into consideration, we judge our own photos against our past photos and those of others in our same price point, we look for trends in our recent sessions/sales, and we consider the market and our clientele. What is the value of what we provide you? How many images? How much time? Products? Print releases? Session fees? It is no simple equation. Pricing is a very personal and an ever-changing element of doing business.
I will have to post another day about my feelings on the value of family photos and affordability. For now, I just encourage you to find YOUR photographer. "There is a client for everyone" reverses to "There is a photographer for everyone." Know your family's budget and be straight forward about it, ask for what you're looking for, and if it's not the right fit, then ask for a referral.