Why Your Photographer Charges "So Much" | Denver, Colorado Family Photographer
Now, I know if you've reached this page, you're expecting that maybe this is going to be a mean post or I'm just another photographer that is "whining" about clients not seeing our worth. However, I hope that you read this and take away more from this post than that. I hope you leave, feeling like you were educated or learned something new.
I get on Facebook everyday and while I'm scrolling through my newsfeed, I see posts in almost every yard sale group/page at least a few times a day, asking about a local photographer. Here are some of the similiar post:
"I'm looking for a family photographer who is amazing but inexpensive because my budget is $50..."
"I'm looking for a wedding photographer and my budget is: $250.."
"I'm looking for a birth photographer who can photograph my last baby's birth for really cheap...."
"I do not want to spend more than $100 on a newborn session...."
Now, do not get me wrong. I totally get trying to make a dollar stretch. I also know that there is a "photographer" for everyone out there and that means there will be different prices & packages from every photographer.
Of course there will be photographers that are just starting out and needing to build their portfolios. For the inexpensive rate that you're looking for, ask for someone who is building their portfolio to help you! That's totally fine and that's what a "portfolio" building price should look like. However, for your experienced photographer who runs a business to support their family, do not devalue them or their time/talent. To run a business, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that a photographer needs to pay for. This photographer isn't going to be able to do sessions under $100 and successfully make a living. That would be taking away money from THEIR family at that point.
Do you know what all goes into photography? I'm sure a lot of people just think that your photographer shows up with this nice camera, takes photos for fun and then edits them and sends them back. However, think about the C O S T S that goes into a photography business.
Let's add up, just a few things that go into what your typical photographer is paying for. Let's start with their camera. A great quality camera, isn't going to cost $200.. It's going to be well into the thousands. This is just the camera body with no lenses. These great quality lenses that are going to leave your photos flawless, are going to cost anywhere from $700+. A newborn photographer in studio, is going to be paying for PROPS to supply for your little ones. That cost a lot of money! Then you have your wedding photographers and birth photographers who need to make sure they have a back up camera at your big day, because well those moments, are priceless. There is no "DO OVER"!
Now, let's add in the costs of the editing software and galleries. If you're going to edit a gallery extensively to do face swaps, edit blemishes or bruises, etc then you're going to need to at least have lightroom & photoshop! However, many photographers including myself also have "presets" that we use and presets are not cheap. They usually run for $75+ for a pack of 6 and if you're like me, you have purchased quite a few sets. These help with the editing process! With that being said, it still take H O U R S to edit images on both LR & PS and going back and forth to fix minor details to create the best images. To deliver these images, most photographers use online galleries. Those galleries cost us money monthly/yearly and those USBs aren't free either. We do not get any stock in them because we're photographers. Oh, those custom albums that are included in the price, those cost a pretty penny too.
Now, one of the biggest things that clients forget or didn't know we had to pay for is TAXES! Oh those are no fun, but guess what? When you run a licensed business, you have to pay taxes! We do not get to "do business under the table". Each session, you can expect your photographer to put at least 30-40% away in just taxes if not more! That's taking almost HALF of their session cost for just taxes!
Now there are little things also like apps or those cute contracts, that you get that cost money. There are mama photographers, like myself who has a babysitter I have to pay, to watch my little one when I leave for a session so I can focus on you. There's gas and travel, especially when your photographer is driving to all kinds of sessions! Those little things along with editing and new gear, are business expenses. You can expect your photographer to put away 30-40% away for just business expenses as well!
So, in the long run... can you tell me how much your photographer is ACTUALLY making to bring home to their family?
Now, I get it. Not everyone can afford "more expensive" photographers even though you value the art and what goes on behind the scenes. However, note that most photographers allow payment plans. We're not asking you to come out and pay $1000 for births or $2000 for weddings without blinking an eye. We're telling you, that we know it's not "cheap" but VALUE the art and save up. Monthly payments really aren't as bad as you think ;)
We're just asking that you take the time to educate yourself about what all goes on and how much we do, that isn't seen. We ask that you note that our prices aren't just made up numbers because we want to "rip you off", we have a family to take care of too. Please know that you're helping us provide for our families and pay our bills and for this, we are so THANKFUL. We appreciate you and your family coming and supporting a small business!
We also, do not want you to COMPARE photographers based off their prices. Each photographer is going to have their own cost of doing business. Each photographer is going to have their own style that is based off that photographers personality!
So, when you're looking for your photographer, get to know them. Get to know how their personality is and make sure you're comfortable with them! Look at how they interact with their potential clients! Take your time to choose wisely and not based off of what the number on the sticker is! <3