Why Do Photographers Cost So Much?

You decided it was past time for your family to have professional family portraits taken.  So, you get on social media, ask a few friends, and find a photographer.  You call said photographer to schedule an appointment and are blown away when they tell you that it is $300/hr photo session, with $50 non-refundable deposit due at time of booking.  You tell them you will call back and never do.

So, why in the world does it cost so much?  A photographer is banking, $300/hr.  Wow!  I am going to show you how photographers do not make $300/hr.  We will break down the hidden time and expenses of a photographer.  Here we go:

  A photographer makes $300/hr to just push a button.
Wrong!   A photographers job does not start and stop at the push of that little button on the top of their camera. When you factor in the hidden time and monetary investment, most photographers earn a lot less.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, photographers make between $31,710 and $40,280, that's $15.24 to $19.37/hour.

A photographer only works for one hour.
Wrong!  A photographer charges $300 for that one-hour session, however at a minimum that photographer spends at least 3 times that on your session.  The client only sees the photographer for one hour.  What the client did not see:
1)  The one-hour planning for the photoshoot.
2)  The time to travel to and from the photoshoot.
3)  The gas used to travel to and from the photoshoot.
4)  The half-hour to set up for the shoot.
5)  One hour to load and sort images.
6)  Two hours at minimum to edit images.
7)  An hour to upload images to proof gallery.
That one-hour photo session turns into eight hours.  That $300/hr now becomes $30/hr.

How much do you pay your hairdresser, tax guy, or mechanic?
Sure, you do not mind paying them because those are justifiable.  You are able to see the work that goes into their services.  With a photographer, the only work you are able to see is the one hour they spend shooting your session. 

Sure, you can visit your local JC Penny's or other department store studio for their $50 photo session.  If you read one of their ads for employment you will see it says "no photography experience needed", they want and hire people with marketing and sales experience.  So, you walk in for the $50 special and walk out spending $250 in prints and extras-SELL!!!

When you hire a professional photographer you get:
an artist who knows the ins and outs of lighting, how to pose, how to set the photos and because the photographer uses professional equipment instead of your cell phone, you can reprint onto a large canvas.  For this very reason I don't give a price list, I give an investment list.  Portraits are an investment that you will cherish for a lifetime.

Until next time,


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