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Why does a professional photo session cost so much?

Frissítve: 2023. jan. 6.

There are plenty of photo opportunities every day. Wedding photographers, family photographers, pet or nature photographers, they are all available these days. Once we have the idea of using such a service, the first thing we ask ourselves is how much it costs. Everyone wants to get the cheapest, best service possible, so we can be in for quite a few surprises with this genre.

But what exactly is the price of a portfolio? What does it cost for a wedding photo series?

I'm sure you've ever thought about how nice it would be to go to a professional photographer and have some pictures taken of your family, yourself or Fifi. However, when you received the quotes from the photographers, you were blown away by the fact that it doesn't cost a few dollars for 1 photo session, but up to several hundred dollars. But what could be the reason? That's what we tried to answer.

First of all, in order to become a professional photographer in America today, you have to go to a school that gives you a diploma. These schools cost from $1000 to several tens of thousands of dollars.

This only gives you a basic qualification, and you have to keep your knowledge up to date, because trends and techniques are constantly changing and you have to adapt.

But let's move on. You've done your schooling, you've got your papers, and? Most photographers don't find work as employees. It's a creative job. Unless you're a photojournalist or a police photographer (although the former is probably more entrepreneurial, while the latter isn't, but you don't need much creativity), chances are you'll need to do a business to be able to work officially and legally.

Starting a business, even in its simplest form, will net you at least $50-$500 per month. This includes all taxes, chamber fees, insurance. So you can give an invoice for the price of your pictures.

But you will have to keep accounts of your income and expenses, which if you are not an accountant, you should hire a specialist to do it for you, at a cost of around $150 per month.

There is also a monthly charge for image processing software. Adobe has a super package for photographers where Lr and Ps are about $10 a month.

So so far that works out to say $300 a month in regular expenses, even though you haven't done a minute's work. And you need tools to do your work. Not cheap tools.

The equipment and tools of a truly professional studio can cost up to $35,000 (!!!). Studio rental, cameras, lenses, lighting, computer... etc, etc...

Of course, these will need to be replaced or upgraded as time goes by and trends change, so even if we have all this, we can't rest easy because they will create ongoing expenses for us.

These are not usually monthly expenses, but it's worth putting a certain amount of money aside for them each month, because the devil never sleeps and you're bound to get a crash when you least expect it... The amount of this also varies, but is in the region of $2,000.

Okay. We can take photos, we can give bills, but we haven't eaten, we haven't drunk and we haven't lived. Since photography is our job, it gives us a salary, which we also have to add to our expenses. Let's say it's $4,000. It's not the best salary, but let's take it into account. Now we're at say $6,000, which you have to earn.

As a photographer, and as an entrepreneur, you work when and as much as you want, or as much as the job requires. But let's say 5 days a week, 8 hours a week. That's 160 hours per month. Divide your monthly expenses by that number of hours and you have $38/hour. So you can't earn less than that. And then that's just net time. It doesn't include the time to find the location, the travel, the time for meetings, negotiations, any equipment rentals, the assistance, the promo stuff, the fact that most people want to shoot on weekends, the time to develop the photos, the time to keep in touch, the time to study, ... etc. All of these are activities that you actually do for free, and most of them are free, but they still take time. And then you only have a monthly salary of $4000, and let's face it, for that kind of money, all that hustle is not really worth it, so of course you add a few hundred bucks on top of that , and of course you end up with a price tag that seems like a lot at first, but after the above, maybe not so much.

What do you think?

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