Guys, this post is less about client business and more about what it's like from the photographer's perspective on pricing and cost but simplified. It's honestly a post written because I hear WAY TOO MUCH that I'm overcharging (your face says it all even if the words aren't verbal). I hear it from strangers, friends, and family. So here's my thoughts on everything because honestly, I feel attacked half the time in this all.
#1- What I charge
I technically should be charging more, I've been told by numerous other photographers, including the woman who has taught me everything I know. I'm half of what I should be, to be exact, by my own calculations as well as what my mentor tells me. Because this is a business and not a charity and I've struggled with this a lot because I'm a very giving person and have low self esteem. So rather than charging what I should be, I'm charging what I'm comfortable doing (ignoring the business aspect of it all, which isn't the best idea but eh). When a photographer figures out what to charge, they should be calculating their bills, taxes, cost of doing business, desired profit, etc then dividing it by how many sessions they're aiming at in a year. Those are the cold hard statistical facts of it all.
No, it doesn't matter that I'm in a small town because statistically speaking, the average family drives an hour for their photography session. Also, once I'm comfortable enough to raise my prices to what they should be, I'll be driving up to an hour away and this will be included in the price.
Guys, I've worked my butt off to learn everything from running a business to posing to editing to prompting to camera settings to understanding lighting to different photography styles...8 courses to be exact and one subscription learning site with multiple courses taken under that. I'm continuously researching and sometimes finding new courses to take if I feel I'll actually learn anything from it at this point, it's difficult to find courses not aimed at beginners.
I've spent thousands of dollars on gear in addition to education to ensure that I can capture your moments in low light settings (such as a reception hall).
You see $250 when you should be seeing $12.50. Sounds weird, but let me explain. In a full lifestyle session, you pay $250 and are guaranteed a minimum of 20 images. That's $12.50 per image. Now take into consideration that 20 is just the minimum and my average gallery actually gets 50 images...that's $5 per image. You're also not just paying for my time clicking a button nor my education...you're paying for hours of editing...for a guarantee of $12.50 per image but in reality, more like $5.
#6- Your budget
I understand if you can't pay my rate, I honestly do, which is why I have discounts. If you don't qualify for a discount, I have minis available (I allow a certain number per year). If you still can't afford it then I'm happy to set up a payment plan so long as it's paid before your session date. If you still can't afford it then it's okay, there are other photographers who charge less. Just don't blame me because...well...read the entire blog post again.
#7- "I know so and so who will charge less"
Good for them. I give zero shits when people try to rub this in my face. It's just rude and I'm not going to try to empathize with this statement.
I love you guys and I love capturing your moments, over half of my clients have been returning clients so I must be doing something right... just stop telling me I charge too much and looking at me like I'm a scam artist. For my clients who do make me feel appreciated, you guys are the best and you have no idea how much you mean to me <3