Pricing…something that each and every photographer struggles to establish within their own business. Every photographer prices their sessions differently, they offer different time allotments, types of sessions, products, and more.
As of late, I have noticed many times in my news feed from buy/sell/trade sites, people looking for a photographer. And it never fails that there are over thirty different names mentioned. Going back to a previous post, I encourage you to make sure that the photographer you choose is legitimate and registered! 50% of the time, the photographers mentioned in these threads are not legitimate…they aren’t registered with the state, don’t pay taxes, and it is usually a hobby.
This is where the confusion, and frustration, comes for many. Often times I receive inquiries on session pricing, what comes with the sessions, etc. I am proud and happy to give all information to perspective clients and it always excites me that there is the possibility to get to know a new family or couple and be able to capture a very important moment in their life! But, many times the response I receive to my pricing is this, “Why are you so much more expensive than XXX Photography? They only charge $20 for an hour session and all digitals are included.” To this there is no simple answer, but one I felt I should share with all of you! 🙂
Professional Photographers base their session pricing on many things. Equipment costs(camera bodies, lenses, memory cards, hard drives, lighting, and more), equipment upkeep, software, computers, the amount of time for each session, post processing time to perfect your session, session delivery, print ordering, accounting time, length of time in business, talent, and location. Pro photographers also have to take into account taxes and other bills, from sales tax and licensing fees, to social security payments and insurance costs. Being a professional business is very expensive and those costs are often reflected in your session costs. Every photographer’s list of what makes up their session pricing will be different, but these are many of the most common you will hear talked about among photographers.
One way that I keep my session costs lower is by not including the digital files. Some photographers want nothing to do with ordering prints for clients, so they bump up their session costs to include the digital files. Others like myself, love to order client prints/products and so I do not include that cost in my session pricing. I want to make sure that my clients receive the best print/product possible and I trust my professional printers to do this for me. I personally like to set session pricing, allow my clients to build their own print/product package, and if digitals are wanted, then ala cart pricing will be discussed.
As one’s business grows and the years pass by, you will see prices rise, this is due to the continuous equipment costs/upkeep that photographers encounter as well as their talent and client base evolving. My prices are no longer what they were three years ago, but most photographers will say the same thing, as they grow, so do their session prices.
A little something to keep in mind…the next time a photographer is offering cheap sessions and great perks, ask them if they are legitimate…are they registered with the state, pay taxes yearly, pay sales tax, pay social security, and follow government guidelines? If the answer is no to any of those questions, there is a reason why their sessions are so much less. Pro photographers aren’t doing this as a hobby, it is their love, their life, they are very dedicated to their craft, it’s what pays the bills, and supports their family.
On behalf of all professional photographers, thank you for choosing us to capture your important life moments, we love what we do, and seeing your smiles in our images is priceless!