Why do photographers charge what they do – the most important reason?
Have you ever sat at a border gas station in Oregon? I have and always hear one person who says, why I can’t pump my own gas. Wow, how is this a problem, it costs nothing extra to you and your hands avoid smelling like gas. This is like going into a restaurant and going to the kitchen (another food reference like a previous last and cooking and getting your own food and filling your own glass. Your waiter/waitress has made sure your order is right, the chef has ensured your food does not have hairs in it and is well cooked and you get to enjoy your time and the company of your family.
Number 1 reason: The photographer is providing you a service. Behind the scenes, your photographer has looked to make sure your photo is exposed correctly and you don’t have that hair going across your face and delivers them to you in the way you want, in a book, prints or simple digital files. I will give you an example: A future bride came to me asking about boudoir photos for her fiancé’. We set up a location, she brought in some lingerie she liked and a friend to help her get ready and shot for a couple hours. We are done right, well no we are not. I took an hour to pick the crème, 300 pictures for her to choose from. I mentioned above that typically it is 100 but these were really good and was a referral so I went all out. She looked and chose 55 that she wanted. Each of these boudoir photos took 15 to 20 minutes to retouch. That is at least 13 hours of retouching and it is work that I love to do but is tiring. Some photographers do delegate the retouching to an outside provider or an employee but I feel if you want my art, I should do the work.
I would have bought the gear anyway. I mean, did you really need to upgrade your latest smart phone, no but you wanted to. Gear is the Achilles heel of any profitable photography business.
Time is the biggest reason why a photographer charges what they do. The time to learn, train, practice, refine, market, plan, shoot, edit and deliver the photos that you will love, that is why they charge what they do. This is my opinion and reason for what I charge.