Photography By Two Women | Why Are Professional Photographers So Expensive?

Why Are Professional Photographers So Expensive?

January 16, 2016  •  1 Comment

It's a question I get a lot... I mean A LOT!

I've read other photographers' blogs and I agree with the reasoning:

  • Professional Gear (times two for quality backup equipment)
  • Expenses,  taxes and insurance for running a business
  • More time invested in a photo project than the client actually sees (up to three or four times the hours the client THINKS we spend)
  • Photo Assistants, Second Shooters
  • Continuing Education
  • Blah, blah, blah

and yet I see NO ONE mention that we are truly artists AND have the knowledge and expertise to do a job right.  We have a vision for your wedding, engagement or other event, based on what you shared with us during prior consultations (time that you never considered when we spent it with you).

Please compare the following:

  DIY Professional
Nails $2.50 for bottle of polish $45.00 for manicure
Hair $1.50 for a pair of scissors $65.00 for a salon job
Car maintenance $20 for 5 quarts of oil $40.00 for oil change (a real bargain, considering)
Clothing $20 for 4 yards of fabric $250 for an outfit


Just yesterday, a woman called me to inquire about a business portrait. When I quoted her a price and a one hour timeframe, she wanted to know why she needed an hour and why it was so expensive.  She thanked me and said she would continue to look around for someone who could be in and out of her house in 10 minutes and charge her commensurately (one-sixth of my price). She never considered the travel time (to and from), set up, metering, test shots, tear down, nor the editing time of the images. To her, it was ten minutes of her time. That's all it took and that's all she wanted to spend.

We understand lighting, exposure, color balance, composition and artistry. We spend years learning our art and months investigating constantly changing new technology. We have to - people pay us for our eye and our product. So I just don't understand why someone would seek out a professional photographer and then not expect to pay for a professional photographer.

So now, tell me again why you think your wedding photography shouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars.  If you still think that way, go out and grab your iPhone and selfie stick and snap away.  Be my guest.


Nadia Reckmann(non-registered)
Good points! And how about comments like "I can get an 8×10 at Walmart for $1.50!"? People don't actually realize how much time and effort (and investment!) goes into one photography session. I like the breakdown of what pro photographers actually earn here:
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