So this just happened...
Please read or at least skim the article above before reading this educational (I hope) rant. This news story and what happened to this poor mother should be a big eye opener for the photography world and those seeking photos. I don't want to seem like a snooty b word or anything, but owning your own legitimate business costs money. Real money...A legitimate photographer most likely has a website, liability insurance to protect both you and them, a business license, has most likely paid for some sort of training or mentor-ship to perfect their niche, has a big ol' expensive camera anywhere from $500 - $5000 ish not even including lenses which ALSO cost about $200 - $2000, ETC ETC ETC. Gas to get to photo shoots, babysitters, props, dresses for maternity shoots, outfits for newborn shoots, printing costs, maintaining camera costs, lighting, thank you gifts...Seriously the list goes on and on! This is why photographers COST MONEY. We have invested countless dollars and hours into our trade and giving you the best experience we can. Hiring a professional photographer is an investment.
This girl in the news was offering free newborn photos to build her portfolio. I can't lie, this is not uncommon. Us newbie photographers need to show potential clients our skills and in order to do that we need a portfolio. I have been doing this myself. I always try to do it somewhere public while building my portfolio or with people I know won't murder me. My favorite podcast is "My Favorite Murder" and I am a big fan of staying alive. Photography is a luxury service that is not needed or necessary in your life. It is something you are purchasing because you value memories and quality art. I wanted to write this blog post as a way to show potential clients what goes into just their one photo shoot. Every photo shoot has a life cycle.
- Marketing. Great you found me! But it was almost for sure not on accident. I have been tirelessly researching how to make this website and how to set it up best and how to work my SEO. Marketing is probably a full time job all by itself with how much crap and jargon there is to learn.
- Consultation - Most photographers will message you or call after you have reached out in regards to their service. Your consultation is a way to get to know one another before your photoshoot. As a photographer, I use this time to get to know what it is you are looking for. What sort of things do you like? Have you seen my work on my website? How did you find out about me? What is your vision for this photoshoot? It does not matter if you reach out to me for a wedding, a newborn, a family lifesyle shoot, a posed shoot, senior photos...anything! I will want to have a consultation to put us both on the same page moving forward.
- Have you noticed that photographers know all the COOLEST spots to shoot? I can tell you I personally try to scout new locations every day. I have a few faves and have a huge list of places I want to go check out. Almost every time I ask a potential client where they would like to take their photos they have no idea. Well that's ok friend, let me suggest some spots!
- The photoshoot itself. Most photographers shoot at a rate of about $325 OR MORE per hour. Seems amazing right? Boy we must just be rolling in the dough. Ha. This price includes EVERYTHING else we are talking about because in the photographer world we don't itemize things and charge you for every minute we invest in you such as a lawyer would. There are no "consultation fees" or editing fees etc. Depending on the particular photographer's Cost of Doing Business (which we STRESS OVER ALL THE TIME by the way) your session fee that you pay can be all inclusive or they will offer a la carte items or packages.
- This one takes us the longest. Editing. People underestimate how much time is put into an image all the time. We don't just sit at a desk and play with sliders tweaking things. Editing involves going through all of your images and getting rid of the duds. Some photographers will edit the skin in photos to make you look your best if you have a zit or something that day. Colors need to be enhanced or corrected. We will have your photos available to you in different sizes and resolutions depending on your package. We back up your photos for a certain amount of time too which requires external hard drives and storage space. Editing photos seriously takes SO LONG. It is one of my favorite parts of the whole process but I know many of my photog friends hate it.
- Another thing that comes into play as we photogs sit there pulling our hair out wondering what in the world to charge people. That is experience. I am a newbie so my pricing reflects that in a way. I plan on giving myself a raise whenever I take a new course or make it another year in business. You get raises at your job right? So if you're hiring a veteran photographer with 20 years in the business expect to pay for that knowledge and expertise. This is the same in literally every other job.
- Follow up with clients and or potential clients probably takes up more time than anything else. This is time that I am working and putting into my business. Answering emails and Facebook messages, sending client galleries, posting on my social media to attract attention. This all takes up time during my day and is time invested into my business.
- As mentioned earlier in this blog post we pay a lot of fees. Taxes and licensing fees are built into every session as well. This is done in every form of business.
- Education costs money. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor's of Web Development and Design and I also take many courses pertaining to photography through online learning. These courses cost money and add to my personal Cost of Doing Business.
- Accountants cost money man. I can't ask them to do my taxes for the great exposure they will get for working with me. Dang.
If you are still with me congratulations and thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. This is why when you reach out to a photographer and ask us to work for free any legitimate and legal tax paying photographer is most likely going to decline. We put a ton of effort and heart and soul into running a high quality and legal business. Free photographers don't pay for ANY of this. One of my friends went to a free photo shoot and the chick showed up with an iPhone 8 Plus. You get what you pay for when you pay for a photographer. I am so SO appreciative of every one of my clients. Many become have friends.