Several years ago, after my now husband and I had gotten engaged, I was looking for a wedding photographer. We were having a very small wedding (we planned it in 2 weeks!), it was going to only last 2 hours, and I simply wanted someone to stand there and hold a camera while simultaneously pressing the button. I could not believe the prices these photographers were charging! The audacity!
Fast forward a few years later. I picked up a camera and made a business out of it. I would charge a little here, a little there. Then I decided to crunch some numbers to see what I had been making. There’s tons of free things online that’ll help you see what your costs are, so I looked one up for photographers and was shocked that I couldn’t put numbers into certain categories, because I hadn’t taken into account those extra costs.
editing program updates
automated email subscription
These are just to name a few. Ultimately, I was LOSING MONEY! Those things have to be paid for. The money has to come out of somewhere, and if you haven’t built the cost of running a business into your pricing, then you’re going to be paying for that out of pocket.
That doesn’t even include my time. My time that I took away from my family to drive to the location, to photograph the location, to drive back, to sit down at my computer for countless hours to cull images and edit them, to load galleries, to deliver the images, to return emails. Not even to mention the cost of my talent and expertise in the business. I finally began to understand that photographers aren’t a human tripod that just clicks a button.
Now if you’re still reading at this point, huge virtual high five to you because people don’t care about all that business crap. They don’t care why I charge what I do, they only care that it’s not the number (or is!) that they’re willing to spend to get pictures. It’s that final number that they care about. And that’s ok! We all have our priorities. Some people spend money on vacations, some on shoes, some spend small fortunes on going out to eat, makeup, or expensive cars. And some people spend their money on portraits. Those are my kind of people.
The people that see my work as art. The people that want to capture a special time in their lives in an emotional way. The people that believe that years and years down the road, they’re going to look back at their images and smile. Those are the kind of people I work with, and they’re amazing.
Every year I go over my costs. I go over what I need to pay for as a business and figure out how many clients I can take per month. This determines what I charge people. It’s not some number that I’ve pulled out of my butt. It’s a mathematical calculation. This coming year, I’ve decided to try and take on more work which allows some wiggle room for my pricing. Some of my fellow photographers would probably shake their finger at me. Tell me to work smarter not harder and keep my prices the same. But it’s my business, I can do what I want. So, as of 2018, my prices will slightly decrease! Now, it won’t be by a huge amount. I’m still a business and have expenses to pay to keep my business alive, however I feel that it’ll be enough that those who couldn’t afford me before will now be able to work with me.
I’m excited about this change and I hope you are too! Send me an email RIGHT HERE and let’s make pretty pictures together!