Why are Professional Photographers perceived to be so expensive?
In this digital age where everyone has digital cameras, scanners and home “photo printers”, when people upload their photos to a local website or go into a shop and pick them up a few hours later, we hear this all the time – How in the world do Professional Photographers charge £40 for an 12 x 8 when they cost just and few pounds at boots?
Simply put, you’re not just paying for the actual photograph, you’re paying for time and expertise in creating the image itself.
“Why choose Professional photography?”
Historically, photographs were always custom-made. The photos we look at of our ancestors have survived the test of time because they were made with quality. This custom quality is why so many heirloom photos are still in existence for us to enjoy today. Many digital prints made at local chain stores do not use the same premium materials that will ensure they last beyond our own lifetimes.
Today’s custom photography, however, provides you with those quality photos that will last a lifetime and beyond. Think about what you’re after. Is it a small picture you can carry in your wallet or pocketbook, or is it a 30×40 canvas on your wall at which you will be looking every day? Custom photography can provide you with both and everything in between. Your pictures will look great in your wallet or “Album” and like high-class art as a canvas on your wall.
“What does Professional photography involve?”
A great deal of time is involved in creating high end custom photography for a client. You get the luxury of great service, better choices, and a superb end product. The results of all this are heirloom quality images—memories which are frozen in time and images which will last for generations. Since we don’t have the opportunity of time travel (yet) you can never get back these precious moments.
In addition, there are far more choices for those who opt to have a custom photographer. Photos will be taken to fit you and your ideals. Unlike the local chain store, it won’t be about simply selecting a backdrop. You can choose from having your photos taken on location, in a studio, or a mix of the two. The beauty of custom photography is in the choices and the luxury of those options.
“So why is Professional photography such a great investment?”
First, let’s look at the actual time involved
The time invested at the photo shoot is only a small portion of the time involved in your session. While every photographer works differently, I have broken it down below to help you understand what I do for each of my clients. Each session for a client consists of approximately 40 to 60 hours of work.
* 30 minutes to 1 hour – When making contact with a photographer, booking forms need to be completed and diaries planned. When a session is booked, time is also spent talking to the client about their photo shoot. What are the objectives of the photo shoot? What exactly does the client want? How many people are involved? Is there a specific theme? We also spend time discussing possible locations and props and what the client may need to bring with them (clothing changes, etc).
* 30 minutes to 1 hour – Cameras, flashes, vehicles, and all back up equipment have to be inspected to ensure that no time is wasted.
* 1 hour – Time to set up the studio or drive to the agreed location.
* 15-30 minutes – Preparation time at the start of the session where all the creases are ironed out regarding what is going to happen and when.
* 2 to 4 hours - Depending on the type of photo shoot, this is the actual photo session. A normal shoot will take about two hours; however, a newborn session is likely to take nearer to four.
* 1 hour – Travel time back from the location or the time it takes to clean the studio.
* 30-45 minutes – Uploading the photos from the camera to a computer.
* 30-45 minutes – All images need to be backed up before any work can be done to them. This is necessary in case something were to go wrong.
* 20+ hours – Yes, you did read that right – 20 plus hours is spent editing a diverse gallery of images to present to the customer.
* 1 hour – Resizing and uploading the gallery online for the client to view.
* 1 hour – Setting up for viewing order session.
* 2-3 Hours- In person viewing and order session.
* 1 hour – Sorting through the order from the client and converting the chosen images to versions which are suitable for printing. Also included is uploading them all for printing.
* 1 hour – Checking the final photos and sorting through them to ensure that everything is perfect.
* 30 minutes to 1 hour – packaging and sorting through final products before collection.
* There may be additional phone time or time needed for add-on ordering, shipment issues, and quality issues.
Now for the expertise.
Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though our camera’s average £2,200 + for just the body, and most of our lens are in the £1,000 category, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.
Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc.
Then there is all the insurances fundamental to being a photographer, Studio overheads, Tax and on going training to ensure you are pushing yourself to be the best you can be for your clients.
When you come into my studio there is in access of £40,000 used to create your shoot. From equipment to studio decor and props.
Think of it this way – the next time you pay in excess of £100 to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs £2 . Your builder just charged you £2,000 to put up your garden fencing but the wood cost 200 from B&Q. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional to actually do the job. Next time you pay for a latte in a coffee shop, just think how many cups you could make yourself with the jar of coffee you have at home that cost the same!
Taking everything into consideration, yes, of course you could pay a lot less by going to one of those chain stores; however, by choosing a custom photographer, you are choosing a way of preserving the present for your future and future generations. Wouldn’t it be great to know that one day your great-, great-grandchildren could be looking at a photo of you?