Why is professional photography so expensive?

Thinking about investing in a professional photography session?

Sometimes people wonder why photographers charge what they do for sessions. Each photographer has to decide based on their own CODB – expenses need to be more than expenses out to make a profit. Just like a grocery store, or a chain restaurant, etc.

I wanted to share a little insight into specifically my overhead and how there is a lot more that goes into the session than the physical time spent with me. 🙂

For starters, I receive many inquiries throughout the day/week that I take my time responding to whether it is questions about booking times, locations, weather, outfits, or inquiries about booking and what my packages and pricing include.

During the session, there is the pre-setup time if it’s a newborn or indoor child session, the actual session – and the time will vary based on what the needs are of the child or baby, and then the post-session clean up (smash cake set, newborn session laundry, and sanitizing of the area).

For a newborn session specifically – the session could be pretty straightforward if the baby is relaxed and easily posable, or it could include a lot of time soothing, positioning, and feeding the baby. It’s really hit or miss and my experience helps me to work with each unique baby. Each child session and especially the newborn posed session includes many props that I’ve invested in – headbands, outfits, wraps, backdrops, prop baskets/buckets/etc, floral/greenery, holiday-themed items, newborn safety equipment, studio lighting equipment and so on,.

Outdoor sessions involve travel time to/from, the session time and creativity, and all of my various props for kids – I have so many seats and blankets that I’ve collected over the years that I bring to sessions to help kids get comfortable and interested in the session.

Outside of the time spent with clients, there is also the editing time involved – I go through each image (for some sessions, this could be 500 plus photos) and cull down the best to share. After that, each image is hand-edited.

In addition to the above, there is just the simple fact that it is 24/7 when you are running your own business. You get phone calls at various times, emails and maybe you are doing sessions on holidays, you need to be responsive, quick, efficient, detailed, personable, willing to give 110%, be able to juggle non-business things like family/kids and your business effectively and do it all knowing the customer is always right!

I’ve had clients come to me and share that they have had bad experiences with other photographers – 6 months to get newborn photos back edited, last-minute cancelations from the photographer, photographers disappearing and never responding again, photographers that don’t listen to clients, and so on.

With a professional photographer who properly runs their business and respects and values their clients – you will not get that type of service.

Photography Gear:
I’ve invested in a variety of items over the years and here is just a sampling:

  • Nikon D750 and Nikon D650 – you always need a backup camera –
  • Various lenses – 50mm, 35 mm Sigma Art, 70-200mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, and a few others ranging in $250 – $2,500
  • Memory cards – they are about $25 each, and I have hundreds
  • Batteries
  • Tripods, reflectors, additional flash equipment, and lighting supplies

Education and behind-the-scenes:
In addition, there are miscellaneous expenses such as website hosting and upkeep, Dropbox professional account, Pixieset account, CRM, workshops (I attended Rachel Vanoven’s Pittsburgh newborn photography workshop in 2020), the latest trends and styles, computer, storage space, and Adobe Products for editing, upkeep of social media postings, and blogging – which I don’t have time to do. 😉
Professional photographers work to perfect the lighting, angles, and camera settings – safety is important especially if photographing infants and children.

Lastly, and most importantly, insurance, taxes, an accountant, contracts, and other related business expenses that allow me to professionally run my small business!

Thanks for taking the time to read – I hope to see you for a future session. Our small businesses appreciate the support!

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Stephanie Laura Photography services Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas including:

Cranberry Township | Wexford | Zelienople | Mars | Gibsonia | Evans City | Butler | Beaver County | Ross Township | McCandless

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(email is best way to get in touch with me)