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  • Jess

How much is a photographer?

Photography pricing can vary pretty widely. With so many pricing models and scales, how do you even begin to make sense of it?


To understand photography pricing, you must have a basic understanding of the process.


Photographers spend time advertising and trying to get leads. Planning social media posts is time-consuming and can be exhausting. A photographer must decide which platforms will work best to reach their clientele. They then have to determine what kind of content to generate, how to format it, and when and where to post it. They have to select, set up, and maintain a service for studio management - this may be a series of services to manage clients, vendors, projects, scheduling, image storage, and client galleries.


They also have to review their contracts, pricing, and business health on a regular basis. They have to file taxes, keep up with their bookkeeping and accounting, and do all the other tedious work required to run a business.


Once they get a lead, many photographers hold a consultation to determine their client's needs, evaluate the potential for the working relationship, and build rapport. This is done prior to any contracts being drafted or signed or before any payment has been made.


Photographers who have a physical studio location have the costs associated with maintaining a studio. Photographers who travel spend time on scouting locations, have varying commute times and put more wear and tear on their vehicles.


Factoring in the equipment cost, maintenance, and software needs adds up fast.


Come the day of your session, your photographer will spend however much time you're booked for photographing you and your party. More people (and animals!) means more complex dynamics and planning.


After the session is done, your photographer has to sort through all the images captured and cull them. They will spend hours editing and uploading images.


You might spend 90 minutes between session time and consultation with your photographer, but they will spend way more time working for you.


Independent photographers don't have sick time or paid time off. They don't receive paid training from an employer. They don't have a guaranteed paycheck that a typical 9-5 would provide. They give about 30% of their sales to taxes. At the end of it all, there's not much left to provide a wage, but photographers gotta eat!


Given all of these factors at play, many photographers are not charging enough for their work. They want to make their art accessible and sometimes even feel guilt for charging what they do. The pricing is warranted, though, if they want to be able to continue to offer photography services to their clients.

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