{Education} Where is my money going? | A breakdown of the cost of photography


 BEFORE: Straight out of the camera

BEFORE: Straight out of the camera

 AFTER: Image ready for print Total Edit time: 3 minutes

AFTER: Image ready for print
Total Edit time: 3 minutes


"Why does photography cost so much?"

"Her prices are ridiculous!"

"It can't be that much work"

"seriously, what do you even do?"

As a client, sometimes it can be hard to understand why you have to pay seemingly ridiculous prices for someone who has a nice camera to show up and take some pictures. I mean, really - is it that much work? Don't we all have nice camera's on our phone? I know I've felt that way too!


 BEFORE: Straight out of the camera ISO: 1000 F:2.8 S: 1/250

BEFORE: Straight out of the camera
ISO: 1000 F:2.8 S: 1/250

 AFTER: Final Image delivered to client Total Edit time: 9 minutes

AFTER: Final Image delivered to client
Total Edit time: 9 minutes


I'd thought, if you don't mind, I might share some "behind the scenes" work so that you can understand just where your money is going.

If a plumber comes into your home, it makes sense how much his bill is: $XX for consult, $XXX for hourly rate of work, $XX for parts = total cost. But with photographers, 90% of the works is done far away from you so it can feel like you're getting ripped off.

So here is a basic breakdown of where your money goes: Bear with me, money can be boring. This are also approximate numbers. But if you like to understand things, this will help!

Cost of doing business. Sounds important, and it kind of is. This would be all the stuff I need to serve your well. Everything from website fees, marketing costs, insurance, equipment maintenance, membership fees, education and all manner of little things all falls in this category. This total number is the minimum amount I need to make just to pay the bills so to speak. 

For my business, that number is roughly $8000. So that means that the first $8000 I make isn't even paying ME. It's paying business costs.  Things like

- Camera Gear
- Insurance ($500/yr)
-Business Liscence
- Computer/Editing Programs
- Education (for me! so I can get better for you!)
- Internet + Cell Service
- Gallery Services (to get you your photos)
- Website hosting + maintenance
- Advertising

I divide that number up using some fancy math and break it down to an hourly rate so that a set portion of everything I shoot (wedding, family ect) goes towards this number. 

Then I want to make an hourly wage right? I mean, who doesn't!! It's not super helpful to only pay for a business and not even pay myself. And, unfortunately, I have to pay taxes. Say I want to make about $40/hour doing what I do. Awesome. But that means I have to charge $50/hour to cover taxes. 


So here is my formula for calculating what to charge you: hourly cost of business + hourly wage = Total hourly amount = approx $60

Doesn't sound too bad does it?
 


 BEFORE: Straight out of the camera ISO: 640 F: 2.8  S: 1/500

BEFORE: Straight out of the camera
ISO: 640 F: 2.8  S: 1/500

 AFTER: Final Image delivered to client Total Edit time 4 minutes

AFTER: Final Image delivered to client
Total Edit time 4 minutes


Now comes the behind the scenes (props for staying with me!)

 

Breakdown of Cost + Time:
 let's do a 10 hour wedding day

Before the day: 10 Hours

- initial meeting/coffee date,
- venue walk through/site scouting
- countless texts/emails
- engagement session (2 hours)
- culling + editing engagement (4 hours)

On the day: 11 Hours

- driving to location + shooting time

After the wedding: 32 Hours

1) Import + Culling: 3500 images down to 700-1000 2 Hours
2) Editing 1000 images: 25+/- Hours of work
3) Finishing Touches: Creating USB, Client Presentation Box, Ordering Prints ect 2 Hours
4) Writing Blog post, sharing on social media: 3 Hours
 

Total Hours Worked for a 8 Hour wedding:  52 Hours * $60 Hour = $3120
Taxes 30% =  $936
Business Expenses: $500
Take Home: $1685
Hourly Wage; $32.40
 

Surprising?
So my 10 Hour wedding package is $3000. { come get the details here}


My prices reflect a successful business practice: paying taxes, paying bills, and accounting for the time and care required to give my people the experience they deserve as well as paying myself.  It's also important to note that photography is predominantly a seasonal job (most of the work falls in May-September) and with a set number of weekends available for weddings, it also means a limited amount of money to be made. For full time photographers who depend on their income, they're calculating their expenses for the entire year and pricing so they can work enough in the summer to pay for the entire year. Just like other seasonal jobs!

Photography comes with all price tags and budgets but at the end of the day, you're going to want someone who demonstrates to you why they are worth your hard earned dollars. You get to decide how much and who.

So be kind.  Be smart. Pay your photographer what they're worth.

 

xo Christina


 


 BEFORE: Straight out of camera  ISO 640 F: 2.8 S: 1/200

BEFORE: Straight out of camera
ISO 640 F: 2.8 S: 1/200

 AFTER: Final Image delivered to client Total Edit time: 6 minutes

AFTER: Final Image delivered to client
Total Edit time: 6 minutes

 BEFORE: Straight out of Camera ISO: 640 F: 8.0 S: 1/400

BEFORE: Straight out of Camera
ISO: 640 F: 8.0 S: 1/400

 AFTER: Final Image

AFTER: Final Image