Do a Google search of photographer prices and you will find everything from $50 for a session with all images on a CD up to $25,000 for the creative fees only. It causes a lot of confusion for consumers and photographers alike. Let’s shed some light on these variances.
An Experience You Can Trust
There’s a lot to say about paying for the level of experience you will be receiving when you hire a professional. You would likely have more trust in a 10-year experienced surgeon or 25 year construction company over a part-time professional with less than one year experience. Professionals with more time in business have worked through challenges and have succeeded in sustaining a full-time practice for many years. It goes to reason then that while a photographer is building his/her portfolio, s/he is willing to work for less than somebody with experience.
Part time vs Full Time Photographer
Operating a full-time business is expensive, no matter the industry. You have your equipment costs (which runs about $15,000), staff, operational costs, business costs, taxes and your salary. That’s right, at the end of it all, if you aren’t making an income, it’s like being asked out to dinner and no food is served…you’ll starve! You wouldn’t work for free and full-time photographers can’t either. Part time or semi-professional photographers typically work another job to support themselves – that’s their salary. The income generated from the business likely covers everything but their own salary. At some point, something will have to give – their rates will have to be increased to support a wage or eventually working two jobs on the salary of one leads to burnout and the business eventually gets dissolved.
When comparing a part time and full time photographer, a variance in rates is likely not the only difference. The photographer’s availability, turnaround time and time to invest in each client is a factor. If you are hiring a professional, you want him or her to take their time to understand what you want. More importantly, you need to be able to trust that s/he will deliver it to you. What is that worth to you?
In 2014, a road test was completed between the Jaguar F-Type V8S and the Cheverolet Corvette Stingray Z51. The Jaguar was a rather pricey vehicle (aimed at a more exclusive audience) versus the other car (considered a bargain-priced blue collar sports car for the masses). Despite being miles apart on paper, the overall performance, comfort and technology were very closely stacked. Is the Jaguar worth the $36k+ difference in pricing? You’d have to be the judge of that. Just as you’d select a photographer based on his or her creative style, business practices, pricing, personality and quality of products. Some consumers want (and can afford) the Jaguar while others’ are happy with the more economical Honda Accord.
Get What You Pay For
You’ve heard the phrases “You get what you pay for” and “If it seems to good to be true, then it probably is. ” As a consumer, its always a good idea to do your research before you hire a professional photographer. It’s important to ask yourself “What am I looking for?” Ask yourself why you want that and why that’s important to you. Your photographer should be asking those same questions of you and you should feel confident in his/her ability to deliver what you want. Don’t feel like you have to settle for a photographer who is “cheaper” – ask the photographer you want to work with for financing options. You can’t stop time and you don’t want to waste your time, so capture those moment correctly the first time around.
Consumers will place their own values on the purchases they make. For example, one buyer will spend more on a nice home that they can enjoy day to day, while another will opt for a smaller home so they can save their money to travel the world. In the photography world, some people consider photography a commodity (just use any camera to capture a photo), while others view it as an art form and trust the photographer’s technical knowledge of lighting, camera equipment and post-production software. In the end, if you are looking for a professional photographer, expect to pay for a professional.