“What? $1500.00 to hire a photographer? It’s just a picture. Anyone with a phone can do this. Tell you what, I’m willing to shell out 200 bucks. Tops. Better yet, I’ll get my cousin Andrea to take it. She took a photography course a few years back…”
So here’s the deal… A professional photographer is more than someone you hire for a few hours who simply clicks a shutter button and then hands you some photos. We’re way outside of “Cousin Andrea” territory.
You’re not only paying for those hours you spend together, you’re paying for their expertise, their creative eye, their years of experience and the heart they put into the time you spend together.
It’s not an easy thing to try and capture the essence of what a client wants – whether that’s wedding photos, baby photos, corporate photos – you name it.
These days there’s a lot of confusion and uncertainty that comes when searching for a photographer. Especially in 2016 when pretty much everyone who can hold a camera makes a Tumblr and an artsy Instagram account and calls themselves a photographer. But if you want a professional photographer who’s going to give you great results, you need to do the research.
That means checking out and comparing websites, pricing, packages, talking with the photographer over email or phone and even meeting up with them before the event. That way you can get a real feel for the person before working with them. If you don’t click right off the bat chances are it may not work out. Oh, and that’s a two-way street: while you’re interviewing them, they’re interviewing you.
So let’s take a look at everything a photographer has paid for in order to perfectly capture and immortalize your big moment.
Many people don’t believe this should be considered when thinking about your photographer but it has to be factored in. Think of it this way; you’re paying them back for the hundreds of hours of schooling and education that they’ve put in to get this good.
The list and the prices are endless when considering how much equipment your photographer could be using for your shoot alone! This could include: camera bodies (most photographers have two), lenses, flash, lighting equipment, battery packs, chargers, camera bags, lens filters, stabilizers…To name but a few!
Camera insurance. It’s a nightmare and a savior. Your photographer will most likely be paying either a monthly or yearly fee to protect their equipment; and the prices of insurance vary immensely depending on the amount of gear they own.
Let’s not forget about business insurance. Those costs are even higher if your photographer has a studio of their own.
Most photographers charge per hour for editing time after the shoot. Which can vary depending on how long the shoot took, and which type of editing needs to be applied. Editing time can range from one hour to 16 hours of editing. If not more!
Photographers pay through the nose for Adobe software, it’s an expense that comes into consideration on your invoice. Usually this is included under editing time.
Plus let’s not forget about that big magical device that allows your photographer to do all of this: their computer.
Mileage and Transportation:
If a photographer is going out of town during any part of your work relationship, they will charge you for their gas or just bill you their mileage.
And if it’s far enough away, you will need to start thinking about hotel and per diem expenses during their trip.
Studios and Locations:
Whether it’s the photographer’s personal studio or if they’re renting it out for your shoot, studios are not cheap.
A fee will also be charged if you want your photographer to plan and scout locations.
Receiving the Photos:
Some photographers give back photos on a thumb drive or CD. Others use mail programs like Dropbox, WeTransfer, Flickr, etc. All of which can cost a fee for the photographer.
Photography is never an easy job. Each shoot is different and a lot has to be taken into account to make your vision come true.
The truth is that bad photography is ultimately more expensive than good photography. If you wind up with photos you don’t like, all you’ve done is waste your money. And if those photos are of a birthday or wedding, well… yikes! But one thing you’ll never regret are beautifully rendered, high quality photographs that you can display and treasure for the rest of your life. Remember, you’re paying for a moment in time to be captured forever.
So next time you’re in search for a photographer… Remember that you are paying for quality. If a photographer is charging $200 for some big glamorous shoot, it’s likely $200 for a reason. Be smart when looking for your photographer. Don’t pick the first one that pops up on your search engine. Don’t pick a photographer because he or she is the cousin of a friend of your co-worker. Pick them because you like who they are, you’re impressed with their previous work, and you think they would do the best job in capturing your vision.
Let’s not forget about the most generous gift your photographer gives you: Deleting the terrible photos of you!