10 Reasons Why Photographers Are Expensive

10 Reasons Why Photographers Are Expensive

Last Updated on August 9, 2023 by PixelPluck

Most of the people having this question in mind think that it’s just about spending a few hours & pressing a few buttons. But that’s far from reality. The work which you see as a 2-hour assignment is stretched far beyond that. Let’s breakdown the factor involved which makes professional photography expensive. In this blog post, you will find the 10 reasons why photographers are expensive to hire.

Let’s start here: You’re not just paying for the actual photograph; you’re paying for time, gear, and expertise.

Here are the top 10 reasons, why photographers are expensive:

1. Time

You might see it as a 2-hour assignment. But what you may ignore is the Travelling time to reach the location, the setup time, time spent talking to the clients at the venue. The amount of time spent in negotiations before the shoot, the actual shoot, transferring and backing up the data, post-processing, reviewing with clients,  delivering the photos, or scheduling a pickup. And we are not even going into time spent building relationships with the client, marketing, and office hours. Post-processing itself may take over a day or many depending upon the number of photographs. Especially in the case of wedding Photographers and videographers.

2. Gear

Professional photographers don’t compromise the quality of their gear. They buy professional equipment. The best photographers spend thousands and thousands of dollars getting multiple camera bodies, the finest lenses, flash equipment for every situation, tripods, light stands, backdrops, props, carrying, and storage cases. Not only this, they buy professional licenses for software
and different cloud backup storage solutions and many other things. Check the best External Flash units here.

10 Reasons Why Photographers Are Expensive
Professional Photographer Gear

3. Premium Services

Pro Photographers join communities to further learn and explore new dimensions. They have to pay for their membership to different premium photography communities. Pro photographers pay for a premium account on photography services like Adobe Cloud, Flickr, 500px, and others. They pay for the maintenance of the website. Event management companies employ photographers and even need a consultation with lawyers sometimes. Premium services may also include office and studio rent, electricity and phone bills, etc.

4. Skills

Apart from being a good photographer, they have to be CEO, marketing manager, financial manager, salesperson,  production worker, buyer, negotiator, driver, networker, organizer, etc. That’s the kind of skill-set of a Professional Photographer.

5. Compromise

Professional Photographers don’t compromise. They will give you the best they can. They don’t back off from tough assignments. Photographers would travel to any possible location and will shoot to the best of their ability. They give you their valuable time. A dedicated photographer doesn’t run for multiple assignments within a day. They would rather do one quality assignment and dedicate a lot of time to planning it without compromising.

6. Technology

Pro Photographers keep themselves and their gears up to date with the rapidly evolving technology. They find things that perfectly match their client’s tastes. Their equipment is not of a hobbyist. They will be using the best technology available.

7. Experience

Experience is the one thing that may beat everything. And the Professionals are vastly experienced. They can advise you on several things which you would not be able to decide. They know what’s right and what could go wrong.

8. Uniqueness & Quality

Professionals have their unique style yet every shoot will look different. They know how to infuse freshness. The quality of photos is supreme.

9. Returns

The truth is that you get what you pay for. You will get photographs worth the money involved. And you know that there are no second chances.

10. Assistants and Help

They may have a small team working with them either on location or back in the studio. The Photographer pays them for their work from his income.

The next time if you think a Photographer is charging more, do consider the above points. Lenses may cost a lot for a professional photography setup. However, there are some affordable options. Looking to upgrade your Kit Lens to a professional quality lens?

Also Read: Best lenses to Upgrade from KitLens.

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  1. Thanks for writing this! It is so true.

  2. Raja Basumatary

    Thankz for information

  3. this is silly now days. photographers should not be expensive. it is a sad truth to swallow, i myself am a photography major when digital was not an option, but with the equipment available now and the software, it should not be nearly as pricey as it is.

    • Kat, you have no idea what you are talking about.

      Being a photography major and running a photography business are very different.

      I see “professional” photographers screwing up with the software that is supposed to make this thing cheap (in *your* opinion).

      If you will choose a career as a photographer, let me know what you think you should charge. And if you are not contemplating a career as a professional photographer, I stand by the first thing I said: you have no idea what you are talking about.

      Great article.

    • Even though technology has made it easier to get great images… you as a photographer need to learn how to use said equipment. You can snap away with your iphone all you want but you can never achieve the depth and perception of a skilled photographer. I am sure you know you get what you pay for.

    • Actually, I think because everyone has more access to a camera, including cheap point & shoots and mobile phones, hiring a professional photographer is seen a premium, luxury. Therefore it’s more expensive.

    • @ Kay face punch ….Seriously is is a joke??? Do you own a studio??? Do you use that photography degree to make your money?? If not please shut up.

      All the professionals who refuse to settle for less

    • By your reasoning a modern fighter jet should be a lot easier to fly than a bi-plane.

  4. Great article – We think shooting digital has made photography more easy, but more pricey…

  5. @ kat facepunch so when you shot film, film was free, chemicals free, darkrooms free? Digital is more convenient but for example I’m a pro and just a decent machine to edit 36mp+ raws, software and hard drive storage you’re looking at a £15,000 investment. And that’s just for the desktop. You want to edit on the road? Add in a £3,000 laptop. Not only that but the 1000’s of hours spent learning the software, developing retouching techniques etc. Professional photography however is not just about equipment and software, it’s about practice dedication and skills – and i’m sorry you think that it shouldn’t warrant a suitable value.

    • Indeed SBH, though I feel our words are wasted.

      But to reinforce what you say, my recently updated rig for editing which includes only small video files has 3 graphics cards at £300 a time. My processor was £400, my motherboard £150, My RAM cost £200, the SSD’s in Raid so I have a backup should one crash, cost £400 for 2. Then there is various other items like cooling the heat such a system punches out which racks into hundreds of pounds. My rig alone cost nearly £2500 and that was being clever and shopping around!

      And that is not including the HDD’s and backups that are needed for those 36mp raw files and video you mention (to be fair, still running some 12mp cameras so I see less a hit). Let assume we could get away with 2x 4TB drives in raid, that’s £300

      Then there is software which needs updating so say another £400 that brings us £3,200 to have a computer system that enables a fast turn around, easy editing, and several layers of security and backup built in to stop disruption to us and the clients. Or worst of all loosing the images/video.

      Thats not even getting to equipment, backups, additional back ups, the reality things do break like last year I got stung for another 70-200 out on a shoot, or a previous example where several memory cards failed luckily before I started shooting, with another one where batteries that also failed just before a shoot. Had it not been for backups, that would be a client lost, money lost, reputation lost and all the cost to build that back up.

      Then there is time, testing advertising to see what works, all the damned paperwork to stay legal, insurance, networking, education, travel, car maintenance, the fact equipment can get stolen, pension funds, book keeping, financial managing for quieter periods and the fact kit will have to be replaced at some point.

      I sat and worked it out, that for a day shoot, for a pretty large company, I may be charging upto £5000 just for the shoot alone (not including additional expenses), but if you are organising models, staff, transport, location hiring, catering, licensing fee’s, research, the costs of ringing all these people up, that 1 day shoot can rack into hundreds of hours of organisation alone!

      I worked out a full day wedding on average equates up to 60 hours of work, for 1 wedding by the time all the factors are accounted for.

      Then there is the other aspect, free time. Being self employed free time comes second to income stream, so you find you are sacrificing your life for the sake of your clients needs.

      That alone should command a massive price tag. And from what I see, its what the most successful people understand.

      • Another thing being that all this expensive tech become obsolete within just a few years, versus film cameras and dark room equipment which were likely relevant for many years so your return on investment was far greater then too.

  6. Well! The above said fact is known to a person who had done it:)) And in my experience people do always ask me if am giving them gold plated photos since they are expensive. But the truth was well exposed above which not many know. Yes after Digital the professional photographers profession is gone:(((. It’s a sad thing.

  7. Photographers who offer their services for a cheap meal and a taxi ride should be shot.

  8. Photographers are expensive because they’re running a business

    That’s the only reason

    All business are intended to make money, surely there’s a million reasons to justify it

    Eg. 10 Reasons why Sushi is expensive

    1. Craftsmanship
    2. Quality Seaweed
    3. Premium Experience
    4. Time (To learn how to roll it up)
    5. Expertise (To know which combinations work best)

    blah blah blah

    Applies to every industry

  9. Totally disagree with all that. Pick up your phone. Open the camera. Aim. Click. Job done. Don’t charge me a grand to do the same thing with a better lense.

    • How did you get to the wedding to use your phone camera? How did the bride and groom find you? How do you like losing every saturday while your friends are out doing cool things? How will you back up those photos reliably? How about contracts between yourself and the couple? What about professional indemnity and public liability insurance, how do you get those for free? What about a backup phone? What about paying your accountants? What about purchasing the software licenses and keeping up to date on it? How about the accessories which wear out and need replacing every few years? What about paying for a business account with your bank? What about fees for taking payments by card? What about weddings which get cancelled so you lose that income you relied on to live? What about insurance for your equipment, if someone steals your gear then what? What about a million other things I could mention? 🙂

      Just sayin.

  10. Every thing is So true because a photographer can notice and see those things which may be ignored by people but for a photographer it is an opportunity to use his/her skill and make a ordinary hidden thing to a valuable exploration

  11. This post getting kind of old… but I’m going to leave my two cents because I’m tired of the frustration school pictures and sports photos continue to bring into my life. I think photographers capitalize on this notion that this is the only opportunity parents have to get a good shot (more an “official photo”) of their kids in their special clothes or sports gear…and rather than give it too much thought, parents just fork out the dough. The truth is that basic technology today provides us with a more than worthy end product that maybe takes 20 minutes to do (depending on the subject)…you do it yourself and develop what you want for about $10. Photog companies charge way too much for their packages and you often end up with a whole whack of photos printed that you have no intention of using…yet the individual prints like the 8×10 on its’ own somehow costs $15?? Sorry, there was a time when taking school/sports photos required a certain talent, nowadays the technology does it for you… thanks so much for making me sick and temporarily like a terrible parent because I’m not dishing out $50 per kid for school or sports photos. An individual session with a professional photographer I can understand would cost more than $10 because their talents are genuinely required as they have to adapt to wherever their client chooses. I would appreciate the school/sports photogs a lot more if they weren’t trying to gouge me so that I could, without hesitation, get my kids an “official photo” and feel like I’m getting something for my money.

    • I so agree with you, Kim! I’m less than wowed by my little girl’s preschool proof shots, but feel like I’m bullied into the “minimum package” because that’s the only way I can get my hands on a class picture. When I got married, my fabulous photographer told me that she was going to provide me with a disc of all the pictures she took, because they were MY photos. Loved this. She also put together an album for me, which made me feel like she really took the time to earn her money. Creating minimum packages feels like a scam to me. Especially for group deals where each kid doesn’t spend oodles of time with the photographer.

  12. The never ending discussion of why wedding photography is expensive. It’s a case of educating our clients to help them understand where their money is going – not just equipment, but insurance, physiotherapy (!), transport, assistants. But you know all this already….

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