The Big Question
Updated: Nov 28, 2018
Before we dive in I must put this disclaimer: I'm not the best when it comes to grammar :)
Here we go...
I always hear people talk about how expensive it is to hire a professional photographer. People always ask the question, why is it so expensive?
So I am going to answer that question for you.
First let's talk about the biggest reason, equipment. Your photographer has to rent or buy their own equipment. This typically consists of a camera body, a lens or two (but probably more than that,) a flash, software to edit your images, and of course a device to edit your images on.
First off, let's talk about rentals. All I need to say is it would easily be well over $1000 to rent camera equipment (if you go to Roberts, granted you do get that money back if the equipment is not damaged.) Now that we have that out of the way, what if you were buying your own equipment?
Let's start with the camera body. If you are buying a brand new camera you will spend anywhere between $1200-$7000 roughly and many professional photographers have a backup camera body (so $1200-$7000 X2). Next up you need a lens because you can't take pictures with just a camera body. Your lens will be between $125-$16,000 EACH (you're reading that number right $16000 which is a pretty decent car, and yes, I said EACH.) Obviously, it depends on what type of lens is needed. Now you need an exterior flash if you are shooting indoors. A decent little flash is roughly 3 or 4 hundred dollars. Up next, software, good software is $10-$82 a month but this can vary depending on the software that you choose to purchase. Lastly, we have a device to edit pictures on, yes I'm referring to a computer. most professional photographers that I know use Mac devices. A Mac laptop starts at $2000 an iMac (desktop) starts at just about the same price.
Let's not forget extra's, I won't list out prices but you can imagine how it could all add up. Camera strap, cleaning kit, a website, insurance on all of your equipment and your building if you own a studio, props, backdrops, light boxes, and the list goes on.
If you purchase the absolute bare minimum you would spend a little over $2500, but if you are a professional photographer you want to give your clients the best. Odds are you will be spending much much more.
You can click the links below to check out most of the equipment needed for a photographer:
(Prices may have changed due to being the week of Cyber Monday)
. Editing Software: https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html?promoid=PC1PQQ5T&mv=other
. Computers & More: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/apple/mac/pcmcat378600050017.c?id=pcmcat378600050017
. Camera's/Lenses/lighting/backdrops: https://robertscamera.com/cameras-lenses/cameras/dslrs
-Now let's talk about time-
Not only do photographers have to buy equipment but they are putting in a lot of time. Granted they are usually doing something that they love, but never the less it is time spent away from their families (just like any other job). A photo shoot can last anywhere between 30 minutes to literally all day long (9am-11pm). If you have an all-day session that means a lot of photos to edit. The editing process is very time consuming, It usually takes AT LEAST an hour but usually more; definitely more if you had an all-day photo session. An all-day session could take a couple of days or maybe even weeks to edit depending on how busy you are with sessions. (Please always keep in mind that you probably aren't your photographers only client, they do this for a living, odds are they have multiple sessions to edit)
I was going to attach a time-lapse video of a session that I worked on not too long ago, but the file was too big for me to add so I'll just tell you about it. The photoshoot itself lasted roughly an hour and a half and the editing process took me 2 days. The editing process would have taken me longer if I would have worked on the photos throughout the week, however; I was able to work on them during the weekend while my husband was home to take care of our son. So again I will say, its time spent away from our families. Also, I will add that this session was not done during my busy season. This means that I really didn't have any other sessions that I was working on so the process didn't take me as long.
There you have it, I hope that you understand that typically your photographer is not charging you a large amount out of greed. Photographers have a lot of time and money invested in their business (just like any other business) and just like you, they have bills to pay and families to take care of.
I hope my grammar wasn't too bad for you :)
Thanks for reading!