Yes, I’m a designer. I’ve been told repeatedly that I have impressive skills with it too, so I feel I am at a good position to talk about this. I’ve also done a lot of photography, so I know what goes into it, how much things cost, and how difficult it is to shoot live events.
For one, if you do a search for most overpaid jobs in the states, Wedding Photographer comes up on a couple different lists. And I was seeing that a couple years ago. Usually low on the list, but out of top 10 and top 15, that’s still pretty good.
Graphic designers don’t get paid $200 an hour.
These prices were much more fair when there was film, photo paper, chemicals, darkrooms… Developing took forever, it takes a lot of work, mistakes, waste… money. Now, it’s all digital. You upload, batch some files, click to crop… so quick. Yet the prices never really dropped to reflect the lack of costs these repeating and very high-dollar materials. Funny.
You can’t count gas. You can’t count house rent. You can’t count car insurance. These are all costs we all have.
I can totally understand when you spend 40+ hours with shooting AND editing, uploading, sorting… etc. But NOT when I’m asking you to do a 6 hour shoot, fully and willing to sign a contract so I don’t tell people it was your finished work, and so I don’t sue you.
I’d like someone to please explain to me how $200-$500 is justifiable to charge people for a talent that didn’t even cost money to get (like, say, a doctorates degree?). I really would like to know the details of the repeated costs. Startup doesn’t count.
Sure, we’re artists. I’m also annoyed with how hubristic many artists are about this. “We do it for the art. We’re artists. lalala” No. We use a skill for money. We’re fortunate enough to get to do what we at least somewhat like and get paid for it, because
we have a skill. It doesn’t save lives, it doesn’t make any huge difference in society, but it’s nice to have around.
Also, the skills we have as “artists”? Not so rare. Pretty freaking common actually. Common enough that we shouldn’t be so snotty about it. Just not everyone uses it to provide a service; it’s called a hobby. Artists shouldn’t be so brazen as to think they’re special, because we’re not, and what we do is common, and doesn’t even involve much intelligence! We’re fortunate enough to have an eye. We’re not solving quantum physics, yet a lot of us act like we are and charge like we are, because we can get away with it, because sometimes people need photos, or advertising.
We’re also running businesses. Our skill is technically free. How cocky we want to be and how much money we want is what costs our clients. We can up it for skill, sure. But there’s a point that it’s just gouging. We’re not just making pictures and putting them on sale for any passerby. THAT is an artist. We’re businesspeople. We provide a service in exchange for money. We’re artists only second to that, because we obviously will not do it for free.
I’m going to say this again later… contracts. You don’t want your name associated with unfinished work. Yeah, neither do I, but as I will say later, I’d rather take $1,000 for 6 hours of work that is unfinished, and have them sign a contract that covers things like not using my name or associating me with the work… A non-disclosure… and also that they can’t come back and sue me for being unhappy with it. Pretty simple.
If you work on wedding photography for 30 or 40 hours, then yes, you can charge $3,000. Even 4k. But not when I’m asking you to not do any extra work.
Also… haven’t come across a photographer who won’t charge me about $500 an hour. When I asked for NO editing with this one place, for example… they took $60 off for five hours. They expect me to believe they spend 5 hours editing, and then only charge $60 for it? Which meant, their $3,100 dollar fee was literally just for the shooting of the wedding for 6 hours. $200 an hour would be $1,200… right about what I’m paying my photographer for just wedding coverage. That’s fine.
I’ve had more than a couple photographers agree to not edit, yet they still want to charge me approximately 3k. That’s $500 an hour, if they do 6 hours of work. Don’t count commute; it’s not fair. I don’t get paid for my drive to work.
Maybe the photographers around here just suck then. I don’t know.
Although… laywers get paid around $200ish an hour in a private firm.
EXACTLY. You can’t compare artists to doctors! In that vein, if I can’t compare artists in our field to doctors, then we shouldn’t charge clients like they’re patients of doctors. Yet, $200-$500 an hour says “I have a doctorate” in pretty much every profession except art. Most of us don’t even need or bother with anything above a B.A.!
Uhh… wait…. you consider shooting the event the grunt work, and the PS the actual work? If so, that is no photographer. That’s a digital artist, at best. The actual shooting should do most of the work. If a photographer relies THAT heavily on the editing, clearly they aren’t doing what they need to be doing correctly. Framing, composition, shapes, textures, etc. Which means, the photographs themselves. When I did photography, my mentality was to use as little PS as possible.
Yes, photographers have bills. And I’m sick of seeing that. Guess what, I have bills too. For my work, I don’t charge my clients for my traveling, I don’t require them to feed me meals during my work time, I also don’t require them to pay for my Adobe upgrade or my new laptop. I commute to work, and don’t get paid for my commute or gas. I pay for my meals; my work does not pay me for my meals.
Any photographer who would fit my budget for the “full job” would suck. Because they charge 3k+ around here. And because I can’t drop 30k on a wedding and 3k on a photographer doesn’t mean I should be punished by not having a half decent photographer, when they could simply be happy for doing 6 hours of work for $1,000.
I’d be THRILLED if I got paid 6 hours for unfinished work! Why? We’re running a business. And you know what I’d do? Have them sign a contract. That’s what those are for. As I mentioned earlier, non-disclosures. Contracts cover your butt in case they want to sue for not being happy with the product. It’d also cover not to use my name in reference to the unfinished images. So I’m happy because I got paid $1,000 for some crazy creative but unfinished shapes I made in Illustrator for 6 hours, my brand doesn’t get bashed for potentially unfinished looking “finished” work because nobody will know I did it, and the client is happy because all they wanted was some really fancy shapes that they could edit themselves. I don’t understand the problem.
Yeah… again, contracts cover that problem. That’s why we have clients sign them. Also, any client could turn around and do that with any job. Unedited photos or not.
Costs. Can you break this down for me please? I honestly don’t know what insurance you’re speaking of. And I think it’s unfair to charge people for startup costs like gear, unless it’s something that needs to be replaced consistently. Like I don’t charge clients for a new laptop, printer, scanner, Adobe suite, etc., but I would charge them for prints, of course.
I know small business fees and the like, but I don’t know of the “insurance” you mentioned?
To all of you:
Guys… I’m sorry. I don’t mean to come across as a jerk, but really, when any artist charges $200 an hour for work (and that is THE cheapest hourly price I’ve been quoted), that really is unfair. Unless their skill is amazingly rare (which it’s not)… and without the film costs of the old days… it’s really not justified anymore.
Can you guys tell me what you charge per hour, and explain to me the break down? Maybe I’d see it differently. Maybe I’m missing something.
And if a person asked you to shoot and provide them with unedited images, as long as they signed a contract with a non-disclosure, why wouldn’t you do it as an exception? Because I know MOST people want/need editing, so it’s not like you wouldn’t get credit most of the time. And I know editing properly on hundreds of photos can take 30 or 40 hours, which explains your average of $3,000 per wedding. But I don’t understand why they still want to charge me $2,500-$4,000 for just a wedding shoot. Especially on a weeknight, when they have no other events?
I’ve had photographer’s try to defend their work, but nobody has given me a break down and explanation of these prices, or explained why several photographers have averaged at $400-$500 per hour. They insist that there are costs, but they’ve only listed costs that everyone has. I have yet to have someone tell me that they rent a space, have a staff, etc. That would be MUCH more understandable. But most of these people just work from their home… so… why so much?