If only the saying “The best things in life are free” was applicable to photographers. As like every other profession, we spend hours, days and even weeks on projects, from a simple 1 hour session to a full day wedding. Prospective clients often drop an email with pricing for a certain package, and when they see the cost, they freak. Maybe just a little bit, but they freak nonetheless.
Why on earth do we charge so much? Here’s why.
Let’s say you’ve looked at a session – it entails 2 hours of shooting, perhaps 2 or 2 wardrobe changes. No makeup, no stylist. And it costs a pretty penny. For you, as a model, it only lasts 2 hours. For the photographer it lasts more, and therefore, it costs more.
Firstly, photographers don’t just grab their kit and leave the studio. We need to ensure all our kit is working, batteries charged, memory cards at the ready. Everything has to be checked – what if we didn’t check, and nothing worked when we got there? This definitely takes more than a few minutes. Then the photographer will more than likely have to travel from home to the location – we all know fuel isn’t what it used to be! They need to get there early in order to scout for locations and work out how to carefully co-ordinate the shoot so that you look your best in each shot. That’s probably an hour or so, maybe less. Once you arrive, the session begins – 2 full hours of being as creative and possible, pushing every boundary we know to get incredible shots for you. If we didn’t plan and didn’t put in any effort, chances are your final images wouldn’t have that ‘wow’ factor to them. Once the session is complete, the kit is packed up, and we head back to the studio. For you, it’s time to unwind after your session. For us, we get straight back into work.
Images need to be downloaded, selected, and edited. Editing is the most time consuming part, even if the shot is almost perfect straight from the camera. Every detail is checked and perfected, colours corrected, straightened, and more. Some photographers will give you a same-day or next-day preview of the photos, which means we do a quick edit on a few shots, and then upload them to a blog, website or social media. Then we continue with more intense editing.
Once editing is complete, images are saved, put onto a disc – or printed – and backed up. And lastly, they are delivered to you, and a final post somewhere on the web is put up with your images. Now, if you add a makeup artist and stylist to this, you’ll need to pay them for their time and expertise too.
1 hour of travelling + 3 hours on set + 2 hours quick edit + roughly 12 hours editing + 30 minutes saving and putting onto a disc + 1 hour travelling for delivery + 2 hours blogging = 21.5 hours in total. For a 3 hour shoot? Yes.
Now, if you divide that package price by the number of hours we’ve worked, it’ll seem like a rather small amount. But that’s what we do, and we do it because we love it, and not for the money. But we too have bills to pay, to ensure our gear is service and working, to buy new gear when it gets old, to eat and drink, and so much more! We understand that it seems like a lot at first, but now you realise why we charge what we do. But we work incredibly hard when you do hire us, and that’s why it’s always worth it in the end.