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Why Your Photographer Charges Their Prices

Newborn wrapped in orange fabric sleeps on stomach with head resting on hands

A Look Into Photographer Pricing

Have you ever wondered how your photographer chooses their pricing and what's included in the cost of your session? A commonly asked question that I get from clients is what they can expect to get out of their session with me, and I don't blame them for asking! Just like you, I want to be sure that you're getting a final result that exceeds your expectations because I take your family memories seriously.

In this blog post, I'll dive into some of the costs that go into running a photography business and factor into photography pricing so you aren't left wondering what your dollars can buy you.

Prep, Session, and Editing Time

Prior to any photography session, your photographer likely does preparation for the session itself. This can look like:

  • Communicating with you to ensure they know your vision for the session

  • Location research for outdoor sessions

  • Purchasing any props, backdrops, or outfits that you specifically want (that they don't already own)

  • Sharing resources with you to make your session go smoothly (like preferred vendors for hair, makeup, nails, and smash cakes, answers to your questions, etc.)

  • Drawing up a photography contract that protects both you and your photographer

On the day of your session, your photographer factors in their pricing for their time actually spent at the photoshoot. This can be anywhere from a 15-30 minute mini session to (in some photographers' cases) a multiple day wedding shoot, so their pricing for each type of session can vary drastically. For example, if your photographer is traveling out of state for your wedding, they will likely charge a premium compared to if you were to travel to their home studio for a 1 hour maternity session.

Following your shoot, your photographer likely also factors in the time they spend editing your photos to perfection. Depending on the number of photos, this can take anywhere from 4 - 24 hours of editing time and requires special skills and programs to do. Here's more info on what you can expect after your session with me.

High Quality Equipment and Lighting

Photography equipment varies depending on the photographer and their needs, but one thing is pretty consistent–it's expensive to purchase and maintain. Your photographer likely factors in a small fee to help maintain their equipment over time or eventually upgrade their equipment when something breaks or as new technology becomes available. Some of the equipment your photographer may use include:

  • A variety of different cameras (most photographers have at least one backup camera in case their primary camera malfunctions on photoshoot day!)

  • A variety of lenses

  • Flashes

  • Lighting & light boxes

  • Backdrop stands

  • Memory cards

  • A computer

  • Editing software

  • Tripods

Years of Experience

Like with any profession, your photographer likely factors in their years of experience to their pricing. This is why you might see some newer photographers charging less than someone who has been in the business for 10+ years.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a photographer who is newer to the profession, there are also certain things you can expect to get when you hire someone who is a seasoned veteran. For example, the longer someone has been in any profession, the more likely they are to have seen certain issues arise in the past and learned how to manage them. Additionally, the longer someone has been a photographer, the more likely you are to see that reflected in their work. That experience and quality will likely be reflected in your photographer's pricing.

Newborn boy wrapped in blue fabric sleeps on his side

Updated Props, Backdrops, and Outfits for Client Use

Many photographers have at least a minimal collection of props, backdrops, and outfits that are available to their clients. These items can take a long time and are quite costly to curate, so it's possible that your photographer has factored the cost and maintenance of such items into their pricing. Some examples of what you might find in your photographer's collection include:

  • Neutral & themed backdrops

  • Newborns props (like bowls, miniature beds, silk flowers, bolsters, etc.)

  • Newborn headbands & hats

  • Newborn fabric sets (like matching table/bolster covers and baby wraps, etc.)

  • Newborn outfits

  • Gowns for engagement or maternity photos

  • Props for product photography (candles, florals, textured fillers like sand, stones, etc., fabrics, and more)

Staying Up-To-Date On Education and Certifications

And finally, your photographer likely accounts for the time and money they spend in continuing education courses to better themselves as a photographer. If you have a newborn photographer, you'll want them to be up-to-date on their certification and in the know of any changes to safety protocols. If your photographer specializes in adventure elopements, it's also probably a good idea for them to be up-to-date on mountaineering safety and Leave No Trace guidelines.

In addition to the safety aspects of photography, there are a million different ways your photographer can better themselves, whether through editing courses, lighting courses, posing courses, or something else. As with any profession, there is always an opportunity to get better and grow in your work. Your photographer likely takes this into consideration when they set their prices.

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