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Why Is Custom Photography So Expensive?

Many clients ask the question why is it so expensive to hire Photographers for special events or the big day, or sometimes even just for some more simple portrait work. The thing is many of those prospective clients have no idea how much work really goes into a professional shoot. When they hear $100-$200 or more they assume its just for the 1-2 hours of shooting time and can call us out for overcharging. Truth of the matter is even if it was just 1-2 hours for a skilled trade, that is still a fair rate. However there is so much more work and time that is dedicated to the project by the Photographer and at the end of this article I have included an example of the pricing breakdown and how many of us determine the pricing for a project.

The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and ability to control various factors during the image taking and making process. Photographers, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur all benefit from this ability to manipulate pixels. However, with flexibility comes a price. Digital camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into creating a work of photographic art. We all know that you can go to the local Walgreen’s and pay a $1.99 for a print – as a client you may wonder why you may pay upwards of $50, $70, $90 for 10 to 15 "edited" pictures. Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time, equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer not to mention expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.

The cost of TIME approaching it from a time standpoint, let’s imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love. This photographer is traveling to your destination to photograph your session.

Here is an example of a time break down:

· Booking time ( 30 mins -1 hour )

· Pre-session prep time (30 mins – 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks)

· Travel time TO session

· 15-30 minutes prep time

· 60 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subject

· Travel time FROM session

· Uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer

· Backing up the original images

· Editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images

· Time with client ordering images

· Sorting through and checking order

· Shipping and delivery (if applicable)

· Any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

The time spent per client can range dependent on the photographer’s level of service. This is time dedicated only to ONE session. When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for to complete your session.

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