Photographer’s Fees Explained

Hand pouring red wine on red backdrop

So you’re in a process of hiring a professional photographer for your next marketing campaign or for some killer social media content but you have never worked with a commercial photographer before nor do you have any idea what budget would be deemed reasonable for the job.

If you’ve ever had head shots done or got married, you know that hiring a photographer can be costly. BUT you never understood why. Even though you know that photographer will likely do a better job than you can do with your smart phone, you’re just not sure what you’re paying for….. Well, I am here to explain you more about photographer’s pricing to help you understand why hiring a photographer may seem expensive but is also worth the investment.

Experience matters

Experience and skills come with a price tag. The more experienced your photographer, the more are they likely to charge. They have proved themselves throughout the years and created work that has got people’s attention. They are in demand for a reason and often therefore booked out. You know you are guaranteed to end up with great results from your project hiring someone who has 10 + years experience vs someone who has just started out and is still figuring out their equipment, lighting etc and is only charging you the cost of a meal for two.

Tools of Trade

Whilst all photographers start out with less expensive camera, the more they develop their artistic skills, more likely are they also to upgrade their equipment. And photography equipment is not cheap. Professional cameras start usually from $4,000 AUD but camera on its own does nothing. The real magic happens in lenses. Consider it like a head on shoulders. Camera is just a body but without its head, it’s useless. Standard lenses again start from $650 AUD upwards. Some lenses can cost as much as the camera body itself or even more.

Once we have the camera and lenses, then comes all the assistive equipment like tripods, lighting for shooting in low lighting conditions, c-stands, reflectors, diffusers etc. On top that we also need software for editing and post processing and a laptop/computer, hard drives, tethering cables, backdrops and props. The list really is endless. Personally, I keep adding something to my equipment on regular basis. Experienced photographer is likely to rock up to your shoot with at least ten thousand dollars worth of equipment in their bag.

Photographer’s job does not end when they leave the shoot

If you have received a quote from a photographer and now getting your wires crossed trying to do the maths for hours your photographer will spend at your shoot….please don’t.

Our job does not start when we rock up to your photo shoot. It starts when you contact us for a quote or send us your initial enquiry. Sometimes backward and forward communication with clients can take a good few hours. That includes drafting up proposal, photography agreement, putting together a quote, agreeing on aesthetics of the shoot by collaborating on a mood board and putting together a shot list. Potentially, a commercial photographer can spend up to 8 hrs of its time planning for your shoot. Whilst you do all this during your work time and are paid for your time, fos us it is not paid, but we do feature all this in the total cost of your project.

Photo shoot itself is usually the fun part and maybe even the easiest part of it all. Then comes the third part and equally as important part – editing or so called post-processing.

You see….photos that we capture will give you an initial idea what they look like but really, the final look will happen in editing. Photographer can change the tone of the images, sharpen, lighten, cut out bits and polish reflections, dust and any unwanted objects etc. Depending on the content and style of photography, editing one image can take from 5 minutes to half an hour or even longer. So now if you do your maths, you can work out how much time a photographer can spend on editing photos from your shoot after they have packed up and left.

Technically a full day shoot from planning to a finished gallery for a photographer can end up working out equivalent to 3 days of work in an office environment or more.

In conclusion

If after reading all this you still think that the quote your received from a photographer doesn’t add up, well……I suggest maybe considering approaching a photography student who has keen interest in the chosen type of photography instead. Alternatively, with significant investment, you too can become a photographer yourself. Beware though, no one starts taking great photos over night. It’s all in years of practice.

Photography is like any other profession and photographers run a business too. And we all know what happens if business is not making any profit…’s really not worthwhile.

By working with a freelancer, you support a small business owner and help to put food on their table. Whilst photographer’s life may look glamorous from outside at times. It really isn’t. But it can be fun and rewarding.

Ready to hire a commercial photographer for your project?

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