I agree, photographers these days are "expensive". Here's an insight as to why...

Ever wonder why photographers are "so darn expensive"? Here's a fun little insight on how we create our pricing structure. This will help you see that most photographers are not ripping you off. In fact, many of them are being ripped off themselves. The photographers who have been in the game for 5-10 years usually charge more, not necessarily because they're the best photographers in the world, but because they understand their cost of business. They've come to the point where they're tired of loosing money doing what they love, and they're ready to actually make a living and enjoy life getting paid for doing great work. That pricing structure has helped them STAY in the photography business for those 5-10 years.

These are a few of the factors we HAVE to consider when pricing our photography work for clients. These are some of the factors that determine what we can invest in our photography business to continue learning, continue growing, and continue doing the best we can possibly do for our clients.

Before diving in, understand that most professional photographers (much like dentists & doctors) maintain very expensive equipment. This equipment does not last forever. It's not a one time purchase. DSLRS become outdated, lenses stop working, batteries die, etc. Most photographers want to continue maintaining the best of the best equipment to ensure getting the best possible results in their photography. That being said, on average, photographers may only have the opportunity to work with said equipment for about 3 years before having to replace and/or add on costs of repairs to said equipment.

There's no one amount of money each photographer spends on their equipment, but being completely transparent here, I personally have over $8,500 worth of investments in equipment and accessories over the past 5 years. That's baby stuff you guys... Many photographers have much, much more invested into their gear.

Now that we have a gauge of the idea that photographers work with very expensive gear, let's dive into a typical structure into how photographers may determine their cost of business and charge clients accordingly.

Factors to consider before determining our pricing for our photography:

1)  How much we have invested personally in our camera equipment and accessories?  (add it all up and divide by 3 -- *remember, we will replace our equipment appx once in 3 years)
2)  How much have we invested in our computer equipment and software? (add it all up and divide by 3 -- These things will not last forever either)
3)  Assuming we work from home, is there any percentage of our home we dedicate to our business?  What's the annual $ value based on all of our house expenses (don't forget utilities) for this percentage? Do we rent an office or studio? If so, what is the annual cost of rent and or utilities here to maintain this space?
4)  What does our business liability insurance cost us per year?
5)  What do we spend on marketing our business each year? This include business cards, usbs, discs, thank you cards or anything with our name on it to use as our branding?
6)  Our PPA and PPA affiliate dues per year? (Professional Photographers of America) What other groups are we a part of to learn from others and what costs are those per year?
7)  Travel, tuition, lodging for learning workshops, classes and conventions each year?
8)  Auto expenses related to maintaining our vehicle in order to travel for shoots?
9)  Other expenses related to our business each year?
10)  Finally how much do we want to pay ourselves each year?

We can then add all of these costs up and divide by the # of shoots we average each year. If we shoot weddings, we can consider that factor in as well for coming up with our package pricing for weddings and portraitures.

These factors alone cannot determine our exact pricing, but they can help us gauge what our cost of business is and how we can actually make money and not loose money doing photography. All in all, the work must speak for itself. Our pricing must also reflect our quality of work, no matter how much we invest in our business.

As I always say, learning & growing is the best thing you can do for your work -- I am honest with myself in knowing that I have lightyears worth of learning ahead of me but I also have what seems like lightyears worth of learning behind me.

Hopefully this helps the client and the photographer get a new perspective on why photographers are "so darn expensive" ;) and why the great ones are worth every single penny they are charging.


Annie & Travis | Pensacola, FL | Beach Wedding | Wedding Photographer | Pensacola Wedding Photographer

Annie & Travis. They compliment each other like crazy. While Annie & I were planning out the schedule of the day via phone months before the wedding, I already had a great feeling about being a part of their day. Annie shared with me some of her excitement for the wedding, finding her dress, and that being around a small group of friends and family was just enough for her & Travis.

The church venue: beautiful. Their sunset beach walk: beautiful. Capturing their laughter and love brought so much joy to my heart! I have to share one example of their giving/loving spirits… For the first time EVER, the bride offered to make me a plate of food during the reception. My jaw was on the floor. How could the BRIDE during her wedding day even think about making her photographer's plate?! Her sweet humble spirit literally floored me. Of course, I quickly made/ate my own and we continued on with the festivities, but that gesture is something I will never forget! 

Wishing you two a lifetime of love, happiness, & health. To Annie & Travis!