I’ve been asked the question time and time again, why are some photographers more expensive than others? I have answered this countless times, so I decided it would be wise to write a post and clear it up.
There are two different types of “photographers” in the world. There are the kind that look at a photograph that somebody else has done and think “I could do that”. They check out how much that photographer charged, immediately see ££££ signs and head out to the shops. They pick up a camera, try and copy the props, make sure they have the same outfit on the baby, and they click the button. These “photographers” generally charge you a low fee and will give you the images on a disk to do as you please. There is a reason I have written photographer in quotation marks. Simply because, although they do have a camera in their hands, I don’t believe they’re photographers.
A photographer is somebody who has talent. They don’t need to copy anybody else. This photographer will take one look at your child (or whatever else they are photographing) and immediately know how to create something spectacular. They are not taking a picture, they are creating an image. Sure, they may look at somebody else’s work and take inspiration from it, but they will then create something unique. In fact, they thrive on being different. They master their talent and put their heart and soul into their work. They have no doubt put blood, sweat and tears into building their company. They have talent, and to put a price on talent, is near impossible. As strange as it is, this photographer is more than likely still not charging enough for the work they put into the photo shoot.
Many won’t realise exactly what goes into a photography session. You may have had a “photographer” turn up at your house with their camera, a piece of fabric for a backdrop and taken the pictures for you. Then they popped them into their laptop, messed around in photo shop and gave you a disk with everything on to do as you please. The majority of these images will be out of focus, over burnt or black and white to hide the mess they made actually taking the image. However, in a real photo session, much more goes in to it.
You will turn up at a studio which is spotless. This is because your photographer has spent the last hour making sure it’s clean for your session. The heating will be on and nice and warm so your baby will be comfortable. This same photographer turned up two hours before you were even due to arrive, just to put the heating on for you. You will be offered drinks and snacks, that the photographer went out to the store and picked up for your session, or prehaps even baked for you last night. The studio will be full of props, every single one hand picked. They will be unique, they will be special and they will be things that other “photographers” simply won’t find. Usually because they have been commissioned, and are one off pieces. All props have been washed and dried to make sure they were clean for your newborn. Those lights that are on, the same photographer invested thousands in. That camera he/ she is holding, again, cost money. Your photographer will spend the next 3/4 hours sweating, just so that your newborn is warm. He/ she will work with your baby when they are upset. They will be patient and calm down your baby. When all the pictures are taken, and you leave to go home, the photographer will spend the next hour cleaning up after the session. All before it starts again. Hours will then be spent, individually editing every single image so that it’s perfect before you see it. When you chose your images, they are edited individually again just to make sure they’re perfect, before ordering your prints. If the prints aren’t perfect, they are sent back and ordered again. All of this for one client.
This is why some photographers charge a lot more than others.
I have had emails from people (not clients, I must add), explaining to me that they would like a photo shoot and want all images on disk. When I do refuse, 9 times out of 10, I will get a reply along the lines of “I know the images will just be on your laptop and its easy to burn them to disk”.
I am fully aware how simple it is to burn images to a disk, however as always, this is not something I offer. If you want that kind of service, you have come to the wrong kind of photographer. My work is too valuable to me. Luckily, my clients realise my value and are happy with the service and products I offer.