So why are professional photographers SO expensive? What are you getting that is so different? You just want a couple of photos right? I really get it, I really do, especially in today’s visual market it is so hard to understand why some photographer’s are much more expensive, while others are just cheaper.
Think of it like restaurants or stores. Why do you sometimes shop for a drive through burger with fries and run by the store, versus planning a shopping day ending at your favorite high end restaurant? The answers are simply: the experience and the quality of the product.
So I decided to break down what your actually getting when you hire a professional photographer:
They have a legitimate business and they have taken the time to do it right. This means they will do it right for you! The caveat for the pros that legitimize their business is that they have to pay taxes and at a much higher rate (almost 40%) because they are self employed. When you look at the prices posted - automatically think 40% less is their take home.
They have insurance because they care about both you and their business, which again means they are highly invested in their product therefore highly invested in you.
They invest in continuing educating to improve and fine tune the style of photography that initially attracted you. They want to get as much right in camera as possible to make the final outcome of the photo as magical as possible. They see light and learn the best ways to manipulate the light in a frame to best highlight you and/or your family.
They have taken the time to learn what products are out there and how this will best suit your needs. This includes prepping and ordering these products for you.
Most spend on average for every hour of shooting - 20 hours behind the scenes prepping for the session and working on the session afterwards. They take the time to edit and get skin tones correct, to edit any background distractions, to make sure the colors are accurate and correct.
They invest in YOU- how? They take the time to get to know you via online questionnaires, talking on the phone, researching what location will work best for your family (sometimes this involves driving around and location scouting to learn light at the time of day of shoot). All to deliver what best suits your family and create an amazing experience for you and your family.
They of course have the “nice” camera and take the time to update all the software for it and every other, technical device associated (computers, flashes, remotes, online editing, photo delivery, session scheduling, websites, monitor calibration, etc).
They take the time to BACK up their work and make sure you receive yours in more than one format to ensure the product they give you is backed up for you as well. (Pros keep backed up copies of your session via online or external hard drive storage).
So why does the professional photographer charge so much for “just the digitals”? The digitals is where the meat of the work goes (as you see above). The physical products are just the nice display in your home. You would not go to a clothing store and say “I just want the cloth” or to a restaurant and say - “I just want the food”. No you pay for the entire product and how it is presented.
Why not just order a print from anywhere? Local print places either do not know how to calibrate their printers or do not calibrate them often, which often leaves people wondering why the print looks so much different than the digital they see (skin tones look orange or green or gray, photos come out with too much contrast or too dark or too light, etc). Professional photographers take the time to get samples of their work from several pro shops to bring you the best of what matches their work style and give you the most accurate representation of the digital you have purchased. And if something goes wrong, they know how to direct the print company to correct it.
In short a professional photographer is highly invested in you and providing the best experience possible. And hey if you just want that quick shot that is totally cool, but at least now you know what you are getting when you hire a professional.
April of Running Mom Photography