September 3, 2021

Why are photographers so expensive?

So thanks to this charming “lady” who felt the need to write this very eloquently put comment on a public post of mine in a local group I thought for my first blog post I’d delve into exactly why it is that photography is more expensive than you may think.

I’ll admit, before I got into the photography business I couldn't quite understand the prices people were charging myself. I thought ‘I can do that for so much cheaper!’ but now I'm over 2 years in, those people I thought were expensive I now see as very reasonable.

Let me explain:

I’ll start off easy with equipment, you all know I need the basics but the total cost of it all will probably surprise you. 

The main camera I shoot with costs £2,000

The 2 main lenses I use for this camera total £1,500

2 high capacity SD cards come to around £100

BUT as I shoot weddings I also need a second back up camera - this cost me £1,500 

And an extra 2 SD cards at another £100

So that’s over £5,000 just on camera equipment. 

Now lets add on computer equipment:

If you know me then you know I am not a fan of Apple! So I edit on a high spec laptop which costs £2,000

Next storage- imagine I lost your images, how horrific would that be? So I need a minimum of 2 back up drives at £100 a time so £200

Next let’s think of the studio:

My main flash is £200

The stand and diffuser are another £200 

My filler box lights are £50 each and I have 3 so £150

Transmitter to sync to my camera to the lights is another £100

Each backdrop I buy costs a MINIMUM of £70 

So a basic studio set up costs me over £700

So that’s the ‘one off’ costs but don’t forget all of my equipment needs servicing, insurance and eventually replacement. 

It’s a lot isn’t it?

Now let’s look at extras depending on shoot:

Maternity - Each dress I buy costs a minimum of £90 with my most expensive being £400

Newborn - Props, fabrics, outfits, hairbands not to mention safety courses - none of these come cheap 

Cake smash - decorations, sitter props, cake stand - these all add up

I need to factor all of the above into my prices to continue buying new and changing things up!

So that’s everything for the actual shoots covered, now lets look at other costs

Photoshop subscription - £10pm

Website hosting - £15pm

Gallery site hosting - £15pm

Booking site - £15pm

Insurance - £20pm

Training - In the last year I have spent over £1,500 on training courses to improve my skills

So that’s all the tangible items with a price attached to it but none of this takes into account my time

How much do you get paid by the hour? £10, £12, £15? Let’s say I’m at least worth minimum wage which is £8.91.

So obviously there's the actual shoot time - lets say 1 hour shoot

My maternity photos take an average of 1 hour per photo to hand edit, some longer, some less so in a gallery of 10 images being conservative lets say 7 hours 

BUT on top of that is also the time I spend dealing with your enquiry, scheduling your appointment, planning your shoot and creating your gallery - lets say this takes 2 hours 

So for every 1 hour photoshoot this takes up around 10 hours of my time which at minimum wage is £89.10

Add on top of this the 20% tax and 9% student loan and NI I need to pay on all of my earnings you can see how it would all add up.

The point of this post is just to show you that there is a whole lot more that goes into a photography business than buying a nice camera and pressing a button. It’s a very expensive business to run and that means prices need to reflect that. 

No one is looking to rip anyone off or make a fortune in this business. We do it because we love it. It can be incredibly frustrating to constantly be questioned on our pricing and told we’re too expensive. Quality work and a high level of service do not come cheap. 

Good work isn’t cheap and cheap work isn’t good.