Digital cameras – even at the consumer level– have come far in the past decade, however a smart digital camera doesn’t equal professional level photograph. That’s like saying a high-end sewing machine will result in a couture gown! Those wonderful moments in life pass by in the blink of an eye. Using a professional photographer guarantees those moments will be captured forever in an artistic, professional, and tasteful way.
I’m often asked why it costs so much to hire a professional photographer. It’s not only the session you’re paying for, it’s also the behind-the-scenes operations that clients don’t see. This generally breaks down into time, equipment, and skill.
The average photo session – including all the things that happen before and after the shoot – can add up to a lot more time than most people think. Studio prep before a session, transferring, uploading, and backing up images, as well as post production work such as sorting and editing images is where the majority of the time of a session is spent. Other miscellaneous things like answering client questions, receiving and verifying payment, ordering and receiving prints and burning images to CDs and DVDs all take up time. It’s easy to forget that fact when the only aspect of the session that a client sees is the hour or two that they are getting their photographs taken!
Cost of Equipment
You probably already know professional grade equipment is expensive, but you may not know how much of it a professional photographer needs. Not only is there the cost of the camera body, but lenses (often costing between $1500 and $3500 each), studio lights, props, editing software, backdrops, studio rental, light stands, tripods … the list goes on! Add that to other expenses like marketing, advertising, and the cost of a website and it all starts to add up pretty quickly.
Not only do professional photographers have the knowledge to pick the right lens, use the proper exposure, focus, and composition, they also know how to make uncomfortable subjects relax as the photographer lights and poses them. Professional photographers also attend workshops in order to keep up with the rapidly changing technology as well as acquiring new skills.
While hiring a professional photographer is not for everyone, it guarantees custom and unique artwork, not just another snapshot. It’s true when they say ”you get what you pay for” – you aren’t just hiring someone who has a very expensive camera; you’re hiring someone who knows how to use their hard earned set of skills to create a one-of-a kind images to make sure those wonderful memories are there to stay!