Ever wonder why professional photographers cost so much?
Surely its cheaper in the digital age?
Not so in fact most of the time it ends up costing more….
So to start lets have a little look at what is needed by a professional photographer….
Have a look at any camera store on the web and see the prices of any low end pro digital camera. They start at around £1000 upwards just for a body. And bear in mind that most photographers use large frame cameras which cost quite a lot more. Now with the digital age its every 18 months or so that a new body will come out sometimes more often! So over 5 years that is maybe up to 3 new bodies with the subsequent advancements which will need to be bought, even if its only every second body bought which equates to quite a bit of money.
So now you have your camera body, now you need to add the lenses. Then you need good quality glass without distortion at either end and fast (able to allow in as much light as possible). A photographer has 2 options. Various zoom lenses which offer various options or prime lenses which offer slightly better quality. Pro lenses can start from £500 and the price just rises from there. But there are lenses that cost from £100 upwards. Yes that’s true but the quality is just good enough and it will be slow. The good thing is once the lenses have been bought they don’t need updating unless the manufacture does a update with major improvements in quality or features.
Ok, so now we have a selection of lenses, so now we need backups of these. If the camera suddenly stops working or is broken accidentally mid shoot, you can’t just stop taking pictures until its fixed or replace with a new one! (really bad for a wedding photographer, not easy to re-stage a wedding). Thats double the basic kit cost then. Now we need to add a tripod, camera bag to keep everything safe, CF cards, as many as you can be afford. Then there are light meters, reflectors and mobile flash kit. A basic portable flash kit will set you back around £450 plus back up of course.
So the images have been taken for the day or shoot. Simply download them onto the computer, Easy? Actually no…A high end computer is needed with as much RAM as possible to handle the large file sizes and allow speedy editing along with plenty of storage space for all these images. So extra external storage on hard drives that also need backups. Also needed is a high quality screen and a good colour calibration device, to make sure that the images being looked at on screen are as they would appear when printed.
Then there is the software to work on the images taken during the shoot. Software can start from £100 up to £1000s and the same as new camera bodies coming out all the time, the same goes for software being updated all the time. Ok, time to process the images which can be from 10 minutes for quick edits such as colour correction and spot removals to a few hours for creating a montage of images or panoramic. With digital cameras it allows us to take more images at little extra cost but this equates to spending more time working through them once back at the office.
A Professionals time leading up-to, including and after a job can include the following:
Creating the marketing
Answering emails and phone calls
Meeting with the client to discuss the event
Getting ready for the event
Transport to and from the event
Transferring image from camera to computer
Processing the images
Meeting with client to preview and discuss
Organizing prints and wall art
Production of album
Proof album with client
Drop off final prints and albums
Then throughout the year to help make reduce costs courses and seminars are attended by some of the best names in the business so thats more cost involved because as with the whole digital age you have to keep learning and training to keep evolving and progressing. Professional photographers don’t just point and shoot we create a photograph. We continue our eduction and learn as much as we possibly can, we join groups like SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photographers) which of course you have to pay to become a member.
Right, we have our equipment, we our training constantly. Business can now start yes? Almost, to run your own business especially, you need to be a book keeper, marketing manager, sales person, designer, photographer, editor etc etc. Then you need to hire an accountant, get professional insurance. Then the good old tax man wants his cut. Then personal costs are not even factored in such as home and family.
Anyone can buy tools and do some DIY at home yet we spend hundreds of pounds on a professionals to install kitchens, bathrooms. Why? Because we all want the job done correctly. Same goes with a camera, anyone can buy a camera and take a picture, they wont get what a professional can get. They wont concentrate on the perfect lighting or catch that single moment in time. And if there not a wedding photographer they wont be able to make you look stunning on your special day. Even though its a blowing gale outside and raining like it has never before.
I want to provide clients with the best products I possibly can and we work had to do this. Often working anti social hours for the money we earn to provide some stunning images for clients.
I love seeing peoples expressions and hearing there reactions when they see there wedding album or finished images for the first time.