After a recent conversation with a friend on Facebook, I was inspired to write a blog about it. This can be a very touchy subject, on both sides of the coin, but hopefully this will help shed some light on the issue.
Photography, like any other art form, it’s hard to get the general public to value it. In this day and age, everything is disposable. This has created a “cheaper is better” mindset for everything. Cheaper razors, cheaper food, cheaper cars. Unfortunately, this is sentiment is also attached to photography.
In a recent poll, the average photography consumer thinks that $100 for a photo session is a fair price and anything more is just the photographer’s greed. Also, most people expect at least 20 photos. But when you take into consideration that it takes a minimum of 3 hours to plan a session (poses, location, lighting/gear plan and prep, booking and communication, etc), then another 2 hours minimum in actual time to get the photos taken, if everything goes smoothly. After that, then it’s another hour-ish (minimum) to cull the images, picking "the ones", then another 30 min in editing each of them and go from RAW to JPG. At only 10 photos delivered, that amounts to a minimum of 16 hours invested by the photographer. At $100 that is a wage of $6.25 per hour to the photographer…and, remember, that was for only 10 images.
That analysis doesn't even take into consideration the cost to the photographer of buying equipment, props, editing software, advertising, website and site management and education (nearly $65,000 in my case), batteries, sometimes hiring an assistant (or just buying him food bc mine will work for food, lol), the order processing time, travel if on location, or any of the other minutia that takes time. A true professional will invest 20 hours or more.
What does this mean to you and how does it help, you may ask. Honestly, I guess my biggest hope is education. So, when you see a “photographer” advertising for $100 for 50 images, you will have to ask yourself questions like “Does he or she value themselves and, if not, why should I“ and “If they are willing to work for free, can they really create the quality of work that my family deserves”?