Why are photographers so expensive is a question that comes up time and time again. Every professional photographer has at some point has heard at least one of these responses to their price list:
- You charge how much?!?
- What exactly do I get for that?
- Seems a lot for a 2 hour shoot.
- I can get a 8×10 print at Boots for £1.25
- But you just push a button?
- Editing doesn’t take long, you just put a filter on them all.
- Why aren’t all the digitals included?
To add insult to injury, for some reason the public treat going to a studio very differently to environmental photography too. People expect to buy prints and wall art from a studio but not so much for those of us who shoot outside. Strange isn’t it? The truth is you are right, professional photography is very expensive but it is also very expensive for your photographer too. Let’s have a little look at what things cost, this breakdown is of my own costs and time, not every photographer will be the same of course.
Why are photographers so expensive?
1. The Essential Kit
Without these bits and pieces I have no business. I cannot operate without them:
I carry around £10,000 worth of photography equipment with me on each shoot. This includes my 61 mega pixel Sony camera bodies, Sigma Art and Sony lenses, memory cards, tripods and filters. Obviously this kit needs to be insured, as do I, as I am working with the public. I have one million pounds public liability insurance to keep us covered. I need to run a car to get to your location and of course the fuel. Then there is the editing. You may think that this is just my time time but unfortunately professional editing software does not come cheap. The programs I use, including Adobe Creative Suite, Topaz and more come to over £1000 per year. Then there is the MAC. None of this can happen without my super supped up computer that can handle masking hair on a 61 mega pixel file. The MAC is a beast.
2. The Photoshoot
When you hire a professional photographer, you hire an artist. From the way they shoot, the composition they favour, to how they edit. You choose your artist based on their skills in all these areas, this is why you like the work they produce. So, the question is what do you get for your £199.00 photoshoot fee?
- Correspondence and admin to organise the shoot
- Travel to and from the location of your choice (average distance is 40 miles, 80miles round trip), parking
- Professional photography gear
- The Shoot – up to 2 hours
- Image selection – minimum 2 hours Lightroom
- 20 years experience in Adobe Photoshop
- Post production 2.5 hours per image (average 5 images) – For composites of more than one subject add one hour per subject
- Online Gallery or person Gallery 1 hour
- Matted Fine Art Print
Direct costs for the shoot for me are fuel, does 0.40p per mile sound fair? Also there is my editing software (we’ll ignore the kit). The average time for everything including driving is 20 hours per photoshoot.
3. Prints and digitals
My print prices come out in the lower-middle of what most professionals photographers (that use decent UK print houses) charge. For us professional photographers, high res digitals will always be the most expensive product offered. Once those have been released there are no more opportunities for the photographer to make any money from prints or wall art. Prints are produced using the finest quality materials that suit my style of photography best. Wall art is hand made to order, again using the finest quality materials and wall fixings with a lifetime guarantee. Pricing cannot be compared with mass produced ‘art’ you can buy in large outlets. The quality is second to none and your one off piece will have your pet front and centre.
4. Running a Business
I am not going to go into much detail on this but you guys know the deal, broadband, phone, computers, electric, association memberships, insurance, web hosting, bank charges all that stuff. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I am also a web designer/digital marketing consultant. I do my own website, SEO and marketing so I don’t have to pay a company (woohoo) but it does mean I need to do them myself (boooooo).
There are lots of us to choose from, make someones day
Obviously not every photographer post processes their work like I do. My style is a bit of a cross over between digital art and photography. Here, you can have a look at my before and after editing gallery to see the amount of work that goes into post production for my particular style of work.
I know lots of photographers offer a more ‘event style photography package’ where basic edits are done in Lightroom and a preset is added to all of the files to create the final look. These guys can offer a more competitive package as the post production is minimal. Maybe you like a more natural style? Or maybe you adore a magic edit? There are plenty of us to choose from, pick your favourite and make a small business owners day.
I hope this goes some way to explaining exactly why are photographers so expensive from a very pragmatic sense. This doesn’t even cover the memories captured of our beloved furry best friends. The tangible keepsake that you will be able to look at fondly, long after they have departed. A time capsule expertly crafted to display your pet at their very best and the one off piece of artwork you can display proudly in your house/office.
If you have any questions at all about any of the services I offer, please let me know. I would love to hear from you and discuss your Pet Photography Experience.