This is a question I get, a lot. I am gonna break it down for you right now-straight up, no chaser. Photography is a luxury expense, not EXPENSIVE, a luxury expense.
A luxury expense is something such as a service that is provided, not necessarily needed, that brings nothing more than happiness, love, rainbows, or some other b.s. "to the table". Much like a car, diamond ring, or that handbag-LADIES- don't lie, I see y'all shoppin' for them goodies. These things all make you feel r-r-reaaaaal good but you don't NEED it. It's something you WANT- and that ain't a bad thing. Let's get started.
There are a lot of things that go into the pricing of photography. A huge bit of this is that good ol' CODB(that's cost of doing business for you, kids). What does it cost ACTUALLY cost to run a photography business? If you are photographer and you don't know this, you better find out because not knowing is the quickest way down the rabbit hole to debt.
Running a photography business is NOT cheap. Do you know the amount of money in gear the average photographer shows up with? I dare you to take a look up the average cost of photo equipment and think twice about what that photographer spends on that kit. Oh, and don't forget the cost of that extra back up equipment, in the event -knock on wood- that something were to ever happen to said camera/battery/memory card/generator/whateva.
If that's not enough, there's taking care of, replacing, tuning, and caring for that kit. That beloved tool kit. The beautiful tools used to get those amazing photographs. The tools by which the artist, by photographic medium, will use to capture those special moments in time. Those once in a lifetime shots, that this dream client KNOWS only you, specifically you, as the photographer will get. Those once in a lifetime, 1/1000th of a second, images-photographs-pieces of heaven, where time stops-and is frozen forever-blah, blah, blah. That got a little too passionate, let's move on while we still have some dignity. lol. Dignity.
What about your studio? That's not free. Don't forget about the lights, background, special fx, props, or backgrounds. Oh, and whom do you think is gonna replace that $10,000 necklace you got when the crazy aunt drunkenly spills her bev-errr-age-agini all over you. Sorry, I don't know your life, but I certainly don't have a spare 10K to "just replace it". Better hope your really expensive equipment is insured- 'cause bride-zilla ain't gonna fork it over, either. I work hard for my shet, and you best believe Im'a take care of it.
Now, the tricky part. This is where we break down what the client sees the photographer do vs. what actually goes into your photos. What the client sees: Photographer shows up, does a little set up, takes a few photos, done. EZ money right? Wrong. What you don't see the photographer do: set aside time for a consultation, always practice because photography is a skill and a craft that needs to be nurtured, research to get the client the best possible products, the photoshoot, editing and processing images, and the. printing and sometimes arguing with the lab because they didn't process the photos correctly. That's just the "job" part.
Let's not forget about all the experience your photographer has. All the time spent learning and practicing in the field so both the client and photographer know the shots wanted will be executed. Let's not forget quality of work. More than likely that $50 an hour photographer is not going to get the shots you want, is wildly inexperienced, and is most likely fresh outta high school. Which brings me to another point, education. More than likely that $600/hr photographer is highly educated, can back up their work with knowledge, and will be able to guarantee you a product that is consistent and worth the money.
Lastly, for that experienced, knowledgeable, educated, creative and consistent photographer - this is a job, not a hobby(even if we really fuxking love what we do). I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't go into your work and demand that you clock out or set aside your hourly fee because you need the exposure or the favor. No. I'm sorry, but in order for me to survive I require food, shelter, and preferably a car so I can get to your Photoshoot on time, preferably not dying of starvation or hypothermia from living on the street. This all ties back into that CODB. The client sees the photographer making $600/hr but when broken down, the average photographer is only making $15-$20/hr. Is it really THAT expensive, or does it just seem that way?
So, next time you are a in the market for a photographer, hopefully this will help to explain why you are about to "overpay that idiot" photographer, or more importantly help you to find the right "overpaid" photographer suited to your needs. If you are a photographer-hopefully this helps you build the confidence needed to explain to your client why your prices are what they are.
Until next time,