Why Do Photographers Charge So Much?

Ever wondered why professional photographers cost so much money? It’s a lot more than just buying a camera and taking some pictures. Here is a list of some of the expenses that photographers, and many other small business owners, have to deal with.

Material Costs

  • Business startup and LLC filing fees
  • Contracts
  • Equipment insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Camera equipment
  • Camera upgrades/ repairs
  • Website hosting
  • Editing software subscriptions/ upgrades
  • Computer/ upgrades/ repairs
  • Sales tax
  • Advertising online- Google, social media, Craigslist, etc
  • Marketing material- cards, brochures, flyers, etc
  • Studio / office rent
  • Lawyer / Accountant fees
  • Bank, PayPal, and credit card fees
  • Prints, wall hangings, and album costs
  • Phone, internet, and utilities
  • Membership and organization dues
  • Auto expenses and fuel
  • Backgrounds, furniture, and props

Time Costs

  • Researching products, looking for session locations, etc
  • Education and learning new information or techniques
  • Emailing clients and setting up schedules
  • Emailing/marketing for new clients
  • Posting on social media and engaging with potential clients
  • Advertising online- website, Craigslist, all the social media, etc
  • Travel time to and from locations
  • Session time on-site with clients
  • Editing photos, creating backups, uploading galleries onto the website
  • Years of experience, training, and lots of practice!

Misc Info About Small Businesses

  • There is no salary, no benefits, no insurance, no weekends and vacations, and no sick days off.
  • Social media DOES NOT support small businesses. I have to work ten times as hard to reach just a fraction of my followers. I can’t even get new followers without paying something.
  • Small business loans are not for small businesses.
  • I usually can’t afford to hire help, and if I do, it’s not for very much money.
  • The expectations of some clients are overwhelming, and they’re quick to point out my flaws.
  • Work is almost 365 days a year, whether it’s marketing, emailing, sessions with clients, learning new information, or just editing more photos.
  • There are always going to be people and organizations that want my time and services as a donation or in exchange for “exposure”. Sorry, I don’t have the luxury to work for free.

Written by Nikki Kellogg and Jason Howard