Maybe you’ve seen social media posts asking for a “reasonably” priced Boston portrait photographer? Or maybe a post asking why Boston photographers charge so much? There are definitely answers for that question, but first, let me share why I am writing this blog….
To me, reasonable is a charged word. Reasonable implies an opposite, or as seen in the definition, something that is unfair, or inappropriate. That is where I think the problem lies. I may charge more than some, and less than others but I don’t see any of us as “unfair, unreasonable or inappropriate.” If you see a photographer who charges more than you see as fair, trust me, there are reasons behind it. Implying that someone is unreasonable devalues them and makes it seem like they are out to get more than they are worth.
I completely understand that everyone has a budget for photos. Some choose to prioritize photography and some may not. That said, a budget is a set dollar amount; a set amount that you won’t spend more. Completely understandable, but I also wouldn’t suggest someone isn’t reasonable for charging what I am not comfortable paying.
So I think educating people on why professional photographers are expensive is at the root of the problem. Truth told, I once had a father say to me after our session “Wow, you make more per hour than a cardiologist.” And while he has since apologized (and been forgiven!!), this truly stuck with me. Clients may think that they are truly paying my price for the one hour they see me, which truthfully is the shortest part of any photography session.
1: Business costs. One professional camera alone. One lens. $3K. But wait, you need memory cards, back up batteries, a second camera body, reflectors, stools, props and more lenses. And then there’s the editing; the computer, the software licenses, the culling software, client management systems, slideshow subscriptions, insurances and so much more. I went and added up the cost of all the equipment I have (which I truly believe may be much less than many) and we are way over $20K.
2: The hidden hours: From the initial lead through all pre-session consultation, the actual session, the edits and delivered gallery and the post-production items, every client has booked my photography brain for at least 8+ hours of work to create the magic I deliver to you.
3: We wear SO many hats as photographers/solo-preneurs: We are the secretary, finance director, banker, art director, stylist, location scout, prop designer, customer relations, marketer, social media manager, educator and student, collaborator, editor, and oh yes, the photographer.
Business owners always talk about wearing tons of hats, but seriously—we’re raining in them because that’s just what it takes to get it all done.
4: Location scouting: this is a part of the job that often never gets talked about. From conversations with other local photographers (who you have had to build a trust level with to collaborate), to a pit stop as you are zooming home with your groceries at the tall grass open field next to the highway, to the client request for a specific are you aren’t familiar with…..many hours are spent trying to find the best LIGHT in the best location for you.
5: Artistry and Experience: To me, these two go hand in hand. I will fully admit when I was a beginner photographer, I had NO artistry and NO experience. I didn’t know the best hours to shoot (all hail Golden Hour), had no clue how to mask, create depth, or truly how to create natural looking glowing skin. Over the years and countless hours of education, I bring way more artistry and 7+ years of experience to every session.
I hope I have convinced you that all photographer are reasonable, all photographers are charging their worth and that some may be out of your budget (same with mine). At least you should have a better understanding of all that it takes to be a professional photographer. The next time you are on the hunt for someone to capture your Boston Portrait session, this blog will help! Would love to chat!!