You need a professional photographer. You've found one and you love the work he/she creates. You're interested in doing a session. But you just don't understand why the session fee, products, etc, cost so much. I hope this blog post will help you gain some perspective and understanding.
Please remember, it's a personal business and the photographer is a professional. You're not just paying for the image, you're also paying for the professional aspect. If you want high quality images, stunning products, and a enjoyable experience, it will cost more. Not every occasion or moment calls for professional experience. Most often, an everyday picture with a nice camera is fine. But, when you want those once in a lifetime images, you want them to be top notch. Certainly not all inclusive, here is a list of what you're paying for:
1. Time - This includes meetings and consultations, travel to/from, equipment setup/tear down, preparation for the session, session time, editing, ordering, delivery, etc (there are numerous items to include here but you get the just).
2. Experience/Skill/Knowledge- Inclusive here is education, tutorials, workshops, and other learning sources the photographer uses to gain and continuously improve their craft. These are out of pocket expenses for the photographer and should be included as business costs.
3. Equipment - Cameras, lenses, flashes, stands, tripods, storage devices (memory cards, hard drives, etc), cables, props, backdrops, lights and light modifiers, computer(s), software for editing, office supplies, professional lab costs, sample displays, repair costs, and the list goes on. These items are upfront out of pocket expenses as well and need to be included in the cost of business.
4. Profit - It's a business and all businesses must make a profit to survive. The photographer must also make a salary. Most photographers really do care about their clients and want your business. They don't want to price gouge you. They need you and they value you as a new or repeat client. They just have families to take care of too. And all of the business expenses fall on them as the owner. They often wear many hats and work long hours not seen in order to run their business (secretary, accountant, marketer, photographer, salesman, editor, technician, etc).
5. Reputation - This should almost speak for itself. But in case it doesn't, a truly professional photographer cares greatly about their business. This shows in how they operate each aspect of their business, including client interaction. They will not get referred or have clients come back if they are dishonest, rude and otherwise uncaring to what the client needs and wants. A respected photographer will have a highly regarded reputation that you can count on.
6. Miscellaneous - Gas and food for travel, business and personal insurance, advertising, business cards, internet, telephone, taxes, etc
Hopefully this helps to explain a bit about what you're paying for when you hire a professional photographer. Until next time, Happy Day!