Before I became a photographer, I never knew or expected how misunderstood the profession would be. I’ve never had to explain my corporate jobs to anyone before. The most I’ve ever had to tell people was simply my title and main task. But with photography, I’ve found myself explaining at length what my job entails in order to justify my rate. And even then, I’m not entirely sure if the client completely understands.
When you pay a professional photographer to photograph you and your loved ones, you are not just paying us to pick up the camera and click, for the hours you’ve hired us. You are paying for a whole lot more that you don’t see:
- reserving a spot just for you so we can’t book anyone else in that time slot, risking potential loss of business if you cancel
- our in-person consultation time
- driving to and from your desired location (we wish gas & vehicle maintenance were free)
- our shooting time
- our creative photographic talent (ie. posing, lighting, composition, etc.)
- our time spent processing (editing) the images after the shoot which could take days
- resources we use to capture and deliver the final perfect photos that you can treasure forever:
- costly professional-level camera equipment
- costly computer equipment
- expensive editing software
- professional-grade memory cards
- large hard drives for file storage
- file & web hosting for online galleries
- other products we use to deliver your photos, ie. branded presentation boxes & USBs, packaging materials, shipping & handling, etc.
- other business expenses such as equipment & liability insurance
It’s never just the total amount of time spent with you, as there is so much post-production work and related costs that go unnoticed and unaccounted for to the client. Our job is never done once we leave your location. Think of it like a teacher. She spends 8 hours at the school teaching your children. But her job doesn’t end there. She takes home her students’ homework assignments and spends countless more hours at home on her own time grading them. Not to mention creating lesson plans, tracking student evaluations, purchasing materials with her own money, etc.
Every professional photographer has a legitimate business that has so many business costs which get factored into the rates they offer. Understanding all this will make it easier to acknowledge a photographer’s job and what you are really paying.
photo credit: consumerreports.org