(Closed) Why are Professional Photographers so Expensive…..

posted 8 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

so true….Chuck Arlund made that article popular on his website, one of my favorite portrait photographers

Post # 5
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

@atomic:  Actually Maria didn’t write that, an unknown author did, and she gives credit to that in her post.

Post # 6
Member
739 posts
Busy bee

It’s a nice article but it only touches on the overall expenses it takes to run a sound photography business for the long run.

Post # 7
Member
3049 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

Yea… my photographer costs an arm and a leg… but she’s a-mazing! I’ve been following her work for over two years! She’s an acquaintance of mine–so I thought, yea discount! Baha, no, no discount. But it’s STILL worth it. I absolutely refuse to have anyone else do it and I understand all the work and time it takes for her to produce those beautiful photos. My fiance thinks I’m crazy, perhaps I should show him the article ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 8
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

The truth is the general public can’t afford to pay a photographer what they really need to earn to make a really really good living, which is why most of the best photographers leverage their income with books, workshops, dvd’s, and other things.

Post # 9
Member
98 posts
Worker bee

there are cheap “pro” photographers… Not everyone is expensive.

But as with everything in life, if you want quality, you have to pay the price. You get what you pay for. Most wonder why good photographers are expensive, yet then cry after hiring a $500 uncle bob and complain that their photo sucks. Really? Do you really need to ask why?

Post # 10
Member
2313 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I’m kind of surprised anyone would WONDER why they’re expensive. They’re expensive for the same reason high end clothing and shoe designers are expensive- they use good materials, produce products of good quality, and invest a lot of time in their work. 

Post # 11
Member
1000 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

@wanderer: Just had to LOL at this. Down with uncle bob! I also agree that the general public can’t afford to pay us what we really need to make to make a GOOD living. As a general rule, anyone charging less than starting price 3k is living quite modestly, provided photography is his or her full time job.

Post # 12
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

@PassionatePhotoLady:  Yeah, I see it all the time, the lowballers, work on volume cause they are cheap and then burn out………it’s usually those people that cant’ get images back less than 6 months…..

A guy on a photo forum I browse posted this…..ouch!!!

“Just got off the phone with a client I just sent the contract off too and she said…”Oh I am so sorry but my niece wants to shoot the wedding with her new professional camera….but thanks for all your help.””

Post # 13
Member
2313 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@USER876:

That will probably be her loss. Having a nice camera does NOT equal being a good photographer, which is why I think it’s funny anyone with a DSLR and Photoshop advertises themselves as a ‘photographer’ these days. There IS a skill and talent involved in true photography that your niece with her NEW camera just doesn’t have.

Post # 14
Member
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Respectfully, I beg to differ.  I think photographers are overpriced.  And please, ladies and pro-photographers, set me straight if needed – I am a college professor, and know next to nothing about photography.  So I could be off-base, but here is the way I see it with my situation….Again, I type this with respect…hopefully you can see my POV and I can then see yours.

Travel Fees: We recently started to seriously look for a photographer for our wedding next year.  First – most people we are looking are based in Miami, and our wedding will be ~2.5 hours south in the middle of the Keys.  They are all quoting me a “travel fee” of ~$300 on top of their fees…..which comes out to me paying them more than $50/hour to drive.  I can understand a travel fee, but $50/hour to drive?  That seems a bit steep to me.  Gas prices are bad, but they aren’t that bad.  And shouldn’t the cost of maintaing the company vehicle (the photog would use to travel with) be covered under the company overhead?  

Before and after meetings….well, all of our contact will be over email.  We may meet with our photographer once before the wedding, but that is it.  So, really, maybe a 1-hour meeting, but probably just emails.

Touch-ups….we really don’t care for “touch-ups,” B/W photos, etc.  I have photoshop and illustrator, I can do that on my own if I want to.  I really just want a competent person to take the pictures.

Prints….again, don’t want/need the prints.  We can do that ourselves.  Sure, it would be nice to have a book of prints, but we are on a budget.

So, I want someone to take pictures for the day..getting ready, ceremony, after-pics, and the beginning of the reception….probably 7 – 8 hours.  Our budget is $1200.  This seems reasonable to me.  I am thinking the photographer shoots one wedding per week.  So. I figure all the “extra time” the photographer spends on us (answering emails, maybe meeting with us, and downloading the pictures onto a CD), coupled with the 8 hours of work on that day, would round out his/her workweek.   So he/she is making $1200/week (if I could find a photographer in my budget).  Which would be a pretty sweet paycheck.

So, what am I missing?  I have yet to see where the +$3K is going…..

Post # 15
Member
245 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

@Rock Hugger:  I can see where you’re coming from, but in some cases, a hotel room is necessary plus the gas to drive.  Hotels=expensive!

Also, I don’t think it’s fair to assume $1200 (or $3000/wk).  Although I’m not a photographer, I know that there is definitely a busy season where they’re working nearly every weekend, but that’s probably 6-7 months of the year.  Perhaps in Florida, there isn’t as much of a lull in the wedding season, but in Cincinnati, OH, they aren’t getting much work from Nov-May.  If they’re truly only charging $1200 * 30 weddings per year, that’s $36K minus taxes and business expenses. 

Post # 16
Member
284 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Rock Hugger:

The travel fees are usually fairly set and include things like their time. Remember that actual wedding days are really long for photographers, often 8+ hours of straight shooting plus travel time, and usually start the night before by getting all the equipment ready, charging batteries, lining up extra CF cards, making sure everything works correctly, etc. Actually their job has started much earlier, with the initial meeting times, whether it’s via email, Skype, telephone, or in person, and time spent scouting the location if they haven’t shot there before. 

The actual day-of shooting is not the majority of the work they will do. While it’s nice that you feel like you can edit their photos, they most likely do not. It is their name attached to that work, and their livelihood. As a professor, I think you’d understand this – if you’re publishing a journal article, would you trust an editor to change whatever they wanted and attach your name to it? 

The hours that go into culling, basic edits, and fine art edits are long in most cases. Sure, many pros have it down to a system, but it takes years to develop that flow. The initial cost to go into photography is huge – not only do pros need their basic kit of a pro-grade body ($2400+) and at least 2-3 lenses ($1500+ each) and a pro flash ($400+) but they also need backups of everything (a backup body, lens, flash, memory cards, batteries, etc) and often have to pay an assistant to lug this all around. I’m sure you wouldn’t be happy if their camera crapped out and you got 0 photos! 

There are also insurance costs (liability) and costs associated with running that website you see. On top of that, they need to make a living and pay their own health insurance, etc. 

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