Wondering why most photographers charge what they charge?

I promise you, we cannot pay our bills, or buy groceries for our families with your arms and legs! Haha...just a little humor before I dive into this topic!

I do see this topic get brought up a lot in local Facebook groups, and conversations amongst friends and family of mine. As a photographer that charges what I HAVE to, to pay myself more than minimum wage and pay for all my business expenses and taxes, it does sadden me that people really do think we charge what we charge because we are "greedy" or "money hungry". I can tell you that is SO far from the truth.

I myself have to budget, and when I go to make a large purchase I weigh where this purchase falls on the importance scale. This scale is different for everyone, some people put photography up near the top, and some put it at the very bottom. I personally know both types of people, and that is okay!

But let's dive into the things we have to take into account when calculating what we charge.

I'm gonna make a list so it's easier to visualize

  • 30% gets put aside for taxes
  • Business license renewals (county & towns we shoot in)
  • Camera body (Canon R6) & and any back up body's in the possibility your main body malfunctions
  • Lenses for the camera (most professionals have several for different purposes)
  • SD cards (soooo many sd cards)
  • External harddrives (several)
  • Computer (one that can operate our many editing softwares)
  • Education courses & classes we take
  • Editing software (many)
  • Website host
  • CRM (a place we can schedule, send contracts, take payment, send files..etc.)
  • Processing fees
  • Advertisement
  • Business phone
  • Insurance
  • Office supplies
  • Gas
  • Domain fee
  • Lighting equipment
  • Props
  • Client closets
  • Tripods
  • Camera bags & cases
  • Renting studio spaces for short periods of time from another photographer/personal photography studio rent

Then take into the time we take to do the following:

  • Book keeping
  • All the little behind the scenes things you do running your own business
  • Emailing
  • Scheduling and booking
  • Planning
  • Time traveling to and from sessions
  • Time at the session
  • Uploading/exporting images
  • Culling (going through all the images we took at the session & narrowing them down, which is super time consuming!)
  • Soft proofing images
  • Final editing of images
  • Time planning/scheduling social media posts
  • Location scouting
  • Time writing blogs (me now lol)

I am sure I'm missing something on that list, but you get the idea!

And I am not making this blog to make anyone feel bad if they have ever said something a little out of the way, or voiced how surprised they were by how much legal photography businesses cost these days. Like I said, I don't blame someone looking to stay within a certain budget, I just ask that you don't bash those of us who want to pay ourselves more than minimum wage from our own business.

Business owners that I know have a very hard time turning off work. We mentally are always thinking of something that needs our attention, then add a family on top of that and we are busy stressed out people! Haha JK!!...not really.

Anyways, thanks for coming to my ted talk..catch you later with a different topic!