I’m often asked what is included in the photoshoot packages that I offer. When I get inquiries, I usually send out my brochure that details everything, so my potential clients know exactly what they are getting. Transparency is very important to me. However, what’s not transparent is all the things that go on “behind the scenes” of these packages that are not listed in the brochure. To my clients, they only see what they’re getting, ie. total cost, photoshoot duration, number of people, number of images, personal online gallery, online downloads, etc. But what they are paying covers so much more than they are aware of. The price they pay goes way beyond the “one hour” that they spend with me.

In this blog entry I’d like to do a break-down of all the involved costs that are in all my portrait collections, even the ones that my clients do not see. Hopefully by the end of this entry you will have a better understanding, and hopefully appreciation, of the amount of work and resources that get poured into this “one hour” photoshoot.

Let’s take a look at a sample one-hour photoshoot package I offer:

  • 60 minutes shooting time
  • Unlimited outfit changes
  • Same-day sneak peek
  • 30 beautifully edited digital images
  • Personalized gallery for 60 days
  • Up to 6 individuals, $10/add’l person

What goes on behind that scenes that you do not see in the brochure:

  • Driving time to and from shoot location, anywhere from 1 to 2 hours
  • Cost of gas
  • Adding mileage to my vehicle
  • Using my professional gear (body + lens) which cost over five thousand dollars
  • My experience, artistic vision, maneuvering light and composition
  • Saving session photo files to my top notch quality hard drive – the more photos taken, the more space they take up, the faster I run out of disk space, the more hard drives I’d have to purchase.
  • At least 5-6 hours in post-production work, which involves:
  • Going over every single image to select the best ones for delivery
  • Editing and perfecting each photo, making adjustments to exposure, color, cropping, to name a few
  • All this post-production work is done on:
  • my top notch iMac computer that cost me over two thousand dollars
  • Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop which require a monthly subscription fee to use
  • Exporting and uploading files to a web gallery
  • Web gallery hosting requires a monthly subscription fee in order to give you the space needed to host your images.
  • Uploading full resolution image files (they are gigantic) to yet another hosting platform requiring a monthly subscription fee in order for you to download your photos

As the expression goes, “Time is money.” To me, time is possibly more important than money. There’s always money to be made in some way, but once time is spent you cannot get it back. The entire photoshoot process – from shooting to delivery – is very time-consuming and resource-heavy. So when I hear someone say “You charge $350 just for the hour?” it sort of breaks my heart. They only see me as the photographer that just shows up, shoots, and leaves, and that’s that. My hope is that this “shoot and leave” mentality will change and that all photographers’ hard work, time, and resources will get the recognition and consideration they need when they get booked.