Why does your Photography cost more than....?
The one complaint many professional photographers get about their services, is pricing? Too often when people shop for photography, they compare the boutique photographer to a big name portrait studio like Sears, and wonder why there is such a difference in cost. Not only with the shoot itself, but also for product .The answer to this question is not that simple, and I am here to break down this complicated long drawn out answer to you reason by reason, as simply as I can.
Number 1 - Time:
All boutique photographers are in business for themselves and they do not collect a paycheck at the end of each pay period. Therefore, in order to make any money we need to price our services based on the time it will take to not only shoot the session, but additionally provide consultations, and process the final images. Depending on the photographer, their time can be broken down in various ways, however I will use myself as the example. Below is how I do a shoot from first contact to providing the product for a typical family session.
Family Session Package 1: $195.00
If we go to the lowest possible time for each of these steps we are at 11 hours and 30 minutes. Break down my session fee of $195.00 and we are looking at $16.95 an hour. This may seem like a lot to some people but when you take into account that I pay my own taxes, have to purchase the package products, and pay for my liability, and equipment insurance, we are looking more at $12.50 an hour. If we add that up to years salary based on 40 hours, that's about $26,000.00 a year. This leads into the next part - cost.
Number 2 - Cost:
You know the old saying, "it cost's money to make money," it's true. However, if you spend more money than you make that defeats the purpose. Just as any business, a Photographer must pay their expenses to run their business. Below is some of the expenses a typical photographer has.
Number 3 - Artistry & Skill
Just as with any art form, artistry and skill is very important. First photographers have to be skilled in not only knowing composition and how to place their subjects within a image but they need to know how their equipment works. Many studios like Sears hire people at $7.00 to $10.00 an hour and basically have the lighting and camera equipment set to go. If they need to change something it may just be one or two settings. However, boutique photographers need to know their camera, lenses, and environment very well. We need to know which settings to use for different skin tones, lighting, effect, and color balance. Although we do retouch and edit photos, our goal is to get as close to perfect in the camera as possible. This is especially true when doing outdoor shoots. The sun can change in a second and if the photographer is not paying attention the pictures can be too washed out or too dark to save in any editing program.
Another aspect people look for in Boutique Photography is our artistry. Each photographer has his or her own way of creating beautiful images. Of course not every photographer's style will be the same or appeal to every client, so when looking at price you need to take that into consideration. Never pick a photographer based on price alone. If you don't like their images they most likely will not be able to get the look you saw in another photographer's portfolio.
Here are some things to consider when looking for a photographer.
Additionally, keep in mind that pricing doesn't always guarantee you will get a great photographer. Sometimes a cheaper photographer may be better and are only cheaper because they are new to the market or don't need the money; while a expensive photographer is overcharging because they think they can make a quick buck. I have noticed that sometimes experience matters while other times it doesn't. Photography is not something that anyone can do but everyone can learn. The trick is to know why you are seeking out a particular photographer, and that reason should be because you like their work.