Updated: May 7
You wanted your picture taken, or where eyeing photography packages to shiver at the sight of the price. I am here to reassure you and hopefully help shed some light on why photography packages can be expensive.
With the ever increasing development of technology especially smart phones, photography has become accessible to everyone. It is so easy now a day to take an instant photo with a smart phone. This leads to certain misconceptions when coming to hire a photographer.
While smartphones and entry level camera's are designed to make it easy for the user to simply point and shoot, it is very reliant on automatic computations to give you what the computer thinks will make a good picture. However, we all know that when it comes to capturing emotions, you cannot rely on computers.
Photography is very technical skill, and there are many variables and computations that the photographer will do when taking a picture. The essential one, is a balance of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. Setting these depend on whether the subject is still, moving, light or in darkness, or if the photographer wants to create a particular mood or effect. Keeping these in balance is not always as straight forward, and it requires a seasoned photographer to be able to adjust these instantly in a varied setting.
The other element is lenses. The newer smartphones, are built with 3 to 4 different lenses, as each lens will be able to create a different mood, or capture smaller of wider areas. Anticipating what lens be required in the given setting is a key skill of the photographer.
2. Time Intensive
If you think that you are paying your photographer by the hour, you are mistaken. The work of a photographer, starts in research long before the shoot. British Portrait photographer Platon astonished the media when he managed to strike a conversation with Vladmir Putin on the Beatles. In fact Platon had done his research and came to learn that Putin loved the Beatles.
The shoot, probably requires the smallest percentage of time, because the real time intensive element of photography is editing. Apart from the actually editing in the form of colour correction and photo-manipulation, which can take hours on end, for me as a photographer, I do spend a lot of time editing out. I carefully analyse all the photos and select the very best, and this process of editing out, is more time consuming than the actual photoshoot or photo-manipulation.
If we are luck, us photographers are presented with people or models who feel very comfortable behind the camera. Alas this is not the case in a lot of portraits and event type photography. Most of the time, the photographer is there helping the subject to feel at ease and direct them the best way possible. This is more of a social skill, however it is also a technical skill because the camera captures in 2D and there are optical tricks the photographer can play with to create a desired effect (see Tim Walker).
It will surly be to no surprise to learn that photographic equipment is very costly indeed. Apart from the cost of the physical camera and a set of lenses which can reach the thousands for a few out there, there is also other costs.
The biggest cost after the camera kit, is the office set up where you do need a fast computer, comfortable chair for long hour edits, and storage storage storage. Professional photographers do keep two copies of every single shoot they do just in case a hard drive gets corrupt. There are other major cost which you might not immediately think of; editing software, running a website with high storage and running a business.
5. Continuous learning
This is a generalisation, however chances are that a cheap photographer has not invested as much time and money into their own development. Photography is always developing and evolving, and for the current professional, they have to keep on moving with the times, going onto courses, workshops and lectures to keep their skill level up to date.
We have not gone into printing, however this can also be a huge contributing factor to your bill. Some packages will exclude prints all together as we move into the digital world instant photo sharing, which is what I offer to my clients. However, I personally love holding a photo in my hand, so vintage style prints are included in my packages.
There you go, these where 5 reasons why photography can be so expensive. I hope this has helped you understand your pricing packages a little bit better. The fact of the matter is that photography is an investment in protecting your memories and your life's story. Our memories are very supple, but holding a physical photo in your hand is a well valued way to invest your money. If looked after properly that photo can be passed down from generation to next, narrating your story to your grand-grand-grandkids.
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