Why do you charge so much?
This is a super insulting question to ask anyone in the creative field. So just …. don’t. Instead – read this blog and share it with those who would like a better understanding of what goes into pricing with things like wedding photography or family photography.
This blog post topic is brought to you by way of inspiration from my cousin 🙂 I was not at all offended when he asked me about photography pricing and why it’s so high, because he’s family and I know his question came out of a real desire to understand. But this immediately made me thing that I should talk about it. So here we are!
What goes into pricing for photography? No. Despite what you might think, it is not just an arbitrary number we come up with. It’s not ego… well maybe a little bit is ego, but well deserved ego 😀
Here is how professional photographers build their pricing and decide what they NEED to charge in order for a session to be worth their time, effort and talent:
Factor 1: The basics.
Education. Not everyone can check this box with an actual degree, but most photographers can check this box with time and effort they have put in, and money they have spent educating themselves. Conventions, online courses, in person classes, etc. You might have a natural eye for beauty, but that doesn’t mean s-h-i-t if you don’t know how to apply it, or how to use your gear. I personally have a Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography – so for me, the education part is all encompassing. I have a degree in my field, and I continue to spend money and time furthering my education and constantly am learning new techniques, equipment, and also – what they don’t teach you in art school… HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS.
Factor 2: Overhead.
What does it cost to run a photography business? This might shock you. I don’t often share these numbers but I think it’s important. Every photographer’s overhead varies. But there are things that across the board, every professional photographer HAS to spend money on. These things include, but are not limited to: cost of equipment, cleaning/maintenance of equipment, insurance of equipment, liability insurance, contract/booking programs, editing & culling subscriptions, computer equipment, editors, back up systems, studio space, ADVERTISING, website building/design/upkeep,…. the list goes on and on. If you are a full time photographer – guess what… none of these bills stopped during Covid. So keep that in mind. With little to nothing coming in, all of these bills still had to get paid. Overhead for a full time photography business can be upwards of $50,000.00 per year…
Factor 3: Experience / Talent…. TIME.
YES – these are extremely valuable. When you hire a professional, they know exactly what they are doing. They know what lighting, timing, posing, etc. to use at the drop of a hat. I am of the belief that our time is the most valuable thing we have to give to another person… because it’s the one thing we can’t get back. Let that sink in.
Factor 4: Value.
This is probably the most important thing that people miss when trying to understand what they are getting when they hire a professional photographer. The best way I can express it is with this scenario: Your house is on fire. All people and pets are safe. What is the first thing you grab to take with you after your loved ones are safe? MOST people would say, photographs, albums, or hard drives that hold their photos. Why is that? Because those images are your legacy. They’re your life story. They are your most prized possessions because they are all you have left after the moment is gone. One day the memories will fade, but the photos help reignite them. One day your kids will look at your wedding photos and probably have them in their own home… One day your kids will be graduating high school, college… in the blink of an eye, your babies will be grown up… and all you’ll have to remember the early days, are your photos. If THAT is not value to you…. then clearly you’re not a fan of photography 😉 To me, these times, these days, these memories – are all priceless. I should charge more 😉
These four things are the majority of what goes into how we determine what we will charge. The question you have to ask yourself when making a decision to hire a professional photographer is, what will these images be worth to me 10 years from now? 20 years? What value will my children and grandchildren find in these? Divide the cost up by how many years you think you’ll cherish those images for. If it’s a lifetime… or two lifetimes… then it should be worth every penny. How many other things do you spend money on that last that long?
Here’s a look at a repeat wedding share 🙂 This gorgeous wedding at SaddleRock Ranch in Malibu is still one of my favorites.
Happy 2nd Anniversary Josh & Jaz! Two years and two babies for this power couple.
For more information on booking wedding photography, OR getting your family portraits on the calendar – visit http://www.briannacaster.com and send us a message.
Wish you were my wedding photographer!