Some call it sticker shock. People look at a price and react based on the value they place on the product. There are plenty who want something cheap. There are those willing to pay for quality. You will also find people on the fence, wondering why are professional photographers so expensive.

Why are professional pictures expensive?

Taking photographs with a professional camera is more than just pushing a button. There is a saying, everyone is a photographer until it comes to: M. (Manual Mode)

Manual mode is the realm of the artist. Someone who has taken thousands upon thousands of photographs. A photographer who understands how aperture, shutter speed and iso allow them to manipulate light.

This doesn’t happen overnight. It requires weeks, months and even years to master.

So lets start by considering the time a professional photographer has put into mastering the art of photography.

Plus, the true artist never stops experimenting and learning to improve their craft. Most professional photographers in the U.S.A. are members of the Professional Photographers of America.

This membership helps educate them on the latest news, techniques and ideas. There are educational programs. I personally take several online classes and courses outside of that to contine growing as an artist.

These hours are unpaid. They are the result of a true love for photography. But without this foundation, the photographs would be no better than a picture you snap with your cellphone.

And lets face it, when you hire a professional photographer, you expect high quality.

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You are hiring an artist’s time.

Time is the one thing you can not replace. You get 24 hours in a day, and no one can buy more. So when you hire a professional photographer, they must block out your time on their schedule.

But that one hour photoshoot is more than one hour for your photographer.

He or she must be ready before you arrive.

That means taking the time to set the studio, clean the camera lenses and sensor. Doing their homework to understand what will help them create your perfect image.

Following the photoshoot, your photographer must backup the images so your pictures are safe.

They have to cull or go through the images and find the best ones to meet your needs.

The photos will be edited to make sure the images pop and match their style. Your photographs should match the portfolio work of the artist – part of the reason you hire them is because their style appeals to you.

These steps take time. Your one hour photoshoot may actually take your photographer three or more hours. So the hourly rate for your photoshoot can actually be broken down. It really covers the shoot plus these unseen hours of work.

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Why do photographers cost so much?

Even with the breakdown, you may wonder why professional photographers cost so much.

Like any business, the professional photographer has expenses. There are self-employment taxes, business taxes, business licenses advertising liability and health insurance. Chances are they have accounting expenses too.

Don’t forget to add in studio rent or mortgage, utilities and equipment costs. Pro camera gear isn’t cheap and quality lenses are even more expensive.

We can’t forget the extras, memory cards, batteries, tripods, backdrops, stands and studio hardware. Hard drives, a computer for editing and subscriptions to editing software, album designers and video editors. Oh, and of course, lighting.

The equipment and gear will need to be replaced, so that must part of the budget.

If the photographer hopes to retire one day, savings or pension deductions must be made.

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How much does it really cost to take professional pictures?

You will see some amazing deals for photographers. But here, the old addage – buyer beware should come to mind.

When you see a low priced photo shoot, be prepared to open your wallet. Many chain photography studios don’t hire photographers, they hire marketers.

Lower quality “Automatic setting” images can be taken by anyone. The marketer’s job is to upsell you to a larger photo package. And they are good. The low price is bait. Once they have your images, the hook is set and they begin their sales process.

When you hire the small studio professional photographer, you are hiring an artist. The cost isn’t just for a photograph. You are paying for a lifetime of education and practice toward crafting your perfect image. A photo that captures a moment in time that you can relive again and again through a quality photograph.

So when you ask yourself, Why are professional photographers so expensive? – you should be asking how much will you hate missing an opportunity to capture a special moment of your life.

When you only have one shot, hire a professional photographer to take it!

One last note that applies specifically to boudoir photography:

Hiring a professional boudoir photographer helps ensure your photographs remain safe and private. You want to be certain your images stored on an encrypted drive with secure backups and never shared without your permission.

Have you ever thought about scheduling a boudoir photoshoot? Reach out for a free pre-planning session using the contact form below!