Monday, September 7, 2009

Andrea Huddleston Guest Post #1: Why Photographers Charge So Much

Today, Andrea Huddleston, professional photograper, contributes her first post: Why Photographers Charge So Much!  She also has a photo taking tip for us!

"The great thing about the world we live in today is that we have choices. So many in fact that it is sometimes much easier (and more cost effective) to opt out of hiring professionals for certain services.  With more and more digital camera choices available to consumers, why do professional photographers charge so much?  Let's discuss this with a hypothetical example of a two-hour senior portrait session:

-one hour (+/-) travel time to and from the session
-two hours of shooting
-15 minutes of set-up, preparation, talking to the client, etc.
-15 minutes to load the photos on to the computer (let's use 250 images as an example)
-For editing, let's say an average of four minutes per image to look thorugh them, edit as necessary or needed, saving a copy for print, a copy for proofing as well as backing up both sets of files. This equals a little over 16 1/2 hours with the resulting images from the session.

Just under 20 hours of total time is spent on the above sentior portrait session, not including creative brainstorming.

While some photographers charge a sitting fee or a session fee, and/or other fees, for our example there are no additional fees just print packages that are offered to clients.  Let us assume that the parents of the senior we photographed above want 15 sheets of prints (Single Moments Photography --Friends and Family Print Package for $190).  The hourly wage of the photographer is now $12.67. Considering only the time that goes into the senior's (and parents') full experience, the hourly wage is now $9.50. This 'wage' does not include the cost of the equipment, education or training, software, travel expenses, professional grade printing equipment (or shipping fees if the prints are obtained from a non-local vendor) or any other costs associated with photography.

So, why do professional photographers charge SO much? A 'simple' two-hour shoot requires time spent preparing, shooting, editing, and possibly traveling.  You're paying for so much more than just someone pushing a button on a camera--talent, time, creativity, and a special experience for you and your graduating senior to enjoy.

Join me next time when I discuss the importance of hiring professionals.


TIP #1: 
Always try to shoot "into the shade."  Find a shady place rather than full sun for better results in your images.  See the examples below.

This picture was taken in full sun.

This picture was taken in full shade.

Thank You, Andrea!  We look forward to your next installment!  If you have a specific question for Andrea, please submit it! 

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