10 Reasons Professional Photographers Charge What They Do

                                                                                                                                     By Lori Osterberg


10. Professional photographers are in business, and as a business, need to make a profit. Because they make it their career, they dedicate themselves to becoming the best they can be, and share that knowledge with their clientele.

 9. Professional photographers have to buy professional equipment. Nope, they don't just pick up a point-and-shoot from Wal-Mart and declare themselves a professional. They spend thousands upon thousands of dollars getting multiple camera bodies, the finest lenses, flash equipment for every situation, tripods, light stands, backdrops, props, carrying and storage cases. And then when you think you have it all - you need to get backups for everything to make sure you never miss an image.

 8. Professional photographers continue their education, and learn as much as they can about the business. They join groups like Professional Photographers of America or the National Press Photographers Association. They attend seminars and training by some of the best names in the business. They concentrate on becoming the best they can be.

 7. Professional photographers don't just snap a picture, they create a photograph. They understand positioning. They understand lighting. They understand placement. You're not just paying for the ability to place a finger on the trigger and snap a picture. You're paying for the years of experience it took to create the perfect image

 6. Professional photographers can spend hours producing one professional photograph.

     Time can include:

  •      creating the marketing

  •      answering emails and phone calls

  •      meeting with the client to talk about the event

  •      setting up for the event

  •      drive time to and from the event

  •      time for the actual photographing

  •      running to and from the lab

  •      meeting with the client for previews and decisions

  •      processing the image

  •      retouching the image

  •      mounting the image

  •      framing the image

  •      packaging the image

  •      dropping off final images

  •      production work

  •      follow up work

Add it all up, and you can see why one portrait session may include hours worth of work. It's impossible to stay in business if you only make a few pennies per client.

 5. Professional photographers have to be more than photographers. They have to be CEOs and marketers, and bankers, and salespeople, and production workers, and janitors, and buyers, and negotiators, and networkers, and drivers, and organizers. And photographers. That's a lot of skills for one person to master.

 4. Professional photographers will do it all. Want to get married at the top of a 14,000 foot high mountain, where the only way up is a 30 minute ski-lift ride? A professional photographer will be there. Want a portrait running through the waves on a Southern California beach? A professional photographer will be there.

 3. Professional photographers aren't just order takers, they provide total customer service. Professionals photograph dozens or even hundreds of clients a year. They understand what looks good, how to put together albums, and how to group multiple photographs together. Their goal is to provide you with what you need and what's best for you - not just have you sign on the dotted line.

 2. Professional photographers watch for the newest, most innovative, creative products available. They stay up to date on industry news, and find things that perfectly match their clients taste. They don't try and fit you into something you don't like - they find out what you want and search the world over for the perfect things. They are the professional.

 1. Professional photographers have the knowledge and the skill to make you look the best you can be. I can buy a hammer for a few dollars at the hardware store. Yet I spent hundreds of dollars for a handyman to repair my deck. I can buy a needle and thread for a few dollars at the fabric store. Yet I spent over $100 on alterations at a local tailor. It's not about the tools; it's about the outcome.

Sure, anyone can buy a camera and take a picture. You can head down to your local discount store, wait ages and have a minimum wage clerk place you on an X and snap a few pictures. But they can't get what a professional can get. They won't concentrate on expressions. They won't advise you on outfits and locations. They won't provide 110 percent customer service. You won't get a professional portrait.

Isn't it time to see a professional?