Why Do Custom Photographers Cost So Much? | Misty Jones Photography
Several years ago, I found myself a bit frustrated with the photography business. Groupon was just becoming a "thing" and I would see photographers advertising on there for $40, $90, etc... Now keep in mind that Groupon takes half of whatever you sell on their site. How does anyone make money selling custom photography when they charge $20 for a 1-hour session plus a handful of prints?? A legitimate photography business keeps track of their expenses as well as the money they make. For every one hour session you spend about 10 hours of work: client consultations/communications, driving time, session time, editing, invoicing, packaging, etc... So, for a $100 session (with prints) that works out to be about $10 an hour and we haven't included expenses in that number yet! I put together a list of SOME of the things that we spend money on throughout the year. Photographers that are charging $100 for a session with prints/digital files are NOT making any money. I have spent the last couple months rebranding my business and it has reminded me exactly why I got into this business in the first place. I love my job because I love working with clients and providing you with an experience as well as something that will last you a lifetime (portraits). I spend a LOT of time working on improving my skills both with the camera and with editing. You have to in this business! I also VALUE my time. Every moment I spend at my computer working or with a client is time away from my family. So, for those of you that appreciate and value my time, thank you! MJ Marketing 1. Website, Domain, Hosting 2. Printing (business cards, brochures, postcards) 3. Store displays 4. Promotional/Freebie shoots during downtime 5. Blog site 6. Samples 7. Expo fees 8. Networking events 9. Online advertising - Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram 10. Cricut machine, vinyl, mats, tools, pens, needles, svg files, etc.. 11. Client gifts (onsies, shirts, totes) 11. Logos and other brand identity costs 12. Postage for mailers 13. Charity donations Cost of Goods 1. Prints, Albums, Canvas’, Image boxes, Standouts, Storyboards, etc… 3. Client complimentary gifts 4. Print credits and other client referral programs 5. Packaging--boxes, tissue, stickers/labels, ribbon, thank you cards, USB drive 6. Shipping or delivery supplies (tissue, boxes, packing material, shipping fees, address labels, stamps) 7. Shipping from the lab to you (different from shipping the prints to client) 8. Bribery things (goldfish, pez, bubbles) 9. Snacks/drinks for client 10. Coffee machine (coffee, creamer, cups, napkins, etc…) Business Management 1. Business registration/license 2. Banking fees 3. Merchant fees - credit cards, etc 4. TAXES (income and sales) and tax software 5. Software – Photoshop, Lightroom, Cricut, Word 6. Professional services - legal, accounting 7. Office supplies 8. Cell phone 9. Wages for assistant/s 10. Utilities (heating, electricity, etc) 11. Salary (session, driving time, editing, marketing, accounting, cleaning studio/car, preparing taxes, paying qtrly sales tax, invoicing, updating blog/website/social media sites, uploading client gallery, packaging orders, ordering prints, prepping files for print and/or USB drive, client correspondence, prepping client gifts, ordering office supplies/props, continuing education, etc…) 12. Calendar/appointment system 13. Business Phone Risk Management 1. Business Insurance (Liability and Equipment) Professional Associations 1. Professional organization fees (WPPI, PPA etc) Professional Development 1. Forum subscriptions 2. Seminars/workshops/instructional DVDs 3. Session Prep Time 4. Professional Magazines 5. Photography Books 6. Photography Contests Travel 1. Gas 2. Wear and tear on car 3. Tolls, parking fees, public park fees, permits 4. Car payment or a portion of 5. Car insurance or a portion of 6. Public transit 7. Travel associated with workshops, hotel, cab fare, airfare, food Photography & Studio Equipment 1. Camera, batteries, battery charger 2. Lenses, lens hood 3. Lighting Equipment (softbox, reflector, remotes, ring light) 4. Tripod 5. Batteries/chargers/CF cards 6. Tablet stand, cables 7. Camera bags 8. Light meter 9. Speedlight 10. Maintenance (sensor cleaning, calibration, etc) 11. White balance target, expodisc, etc. 12. Virtual Backdrops & Digital Backdrops 13. Portable Backdrop stand & Clamps 14. Specialty Sets (flooring, accessories, balloons, etc..) 15. Props/blankets/baskets/headbands/newborn outfits/diaper covers/etc 16. Maternity Wraps/Dresses 17. Bean Bag, Bean Bag Stand, Stool, chairs 18. Projector System 19. Hand sanitizer, baby wipes, burp clothes, heater, noise machine, heating pad, 20. Depreciation on both camera and computer Computer 1. Hard Drive & Monitor 2. Actions, Templates, Fonts, Textures, Presets 3. Software updates 4. Ink, Paper (printing invoices) 5. Editing Programs, (CC, LR...) 6. Slideshow software 7. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE 8. Calibration Software 9. Address labels, return address labels, etc.