A statement that sends a chill down the back of any professional photographer, “why do you charge so much, I print them off at home for Â£1 and you want Â£60 for an 8″ x 10″, you got to be joking” Thankfully this is not a regular comment, but even still it demonstrates how a vast majority of the general public perceive the prices that a professional portrait photographer charges. Of course on the other side of the coin a growing number of people are slowly understanding the importance of such a service to record your families history in a professional way.
I will now try to explain why a pro photographer needs to charge at least Â£60 for an 8″ x 10″ to make the smallest amount of profit to survive. We will base this theory on a small business with say one receptionist and the business owner as the photographer with a rented premises with a studio facility. So to begin, there are the fixed costs, rent, wages all the normal bills you would expect. Then of course the huge investment into professional camera equipment and lighting, marketing and of course printing and presentation of your finished 8″ x 10″, and probably the most overlooked (even by photographers) is the amount of time that is spent on producing just one image. Firstly you spend an hour with your clients maybe two at the the time of the session. When the shoot is over you have to download your files to the computer, then back them up, process the image then add a colour profile to your style, retouch any blemishes etc. Now to get the files prepared for a slideshow so the client can view the images, again another hour or two with your customers, going through the to finalise their final selection and pray you will not have a comment like the one at the start of this article!
Is This The Fault Of The Customer?
Well this has lots of different factors but the blame is nothing to do with your customer, as there are thousands of photographers all over the world doing a good job of damaging this professional service. A professional portrait photographer will make their profession look very easy, they will not spend hours changing lighting, altering the camera set ups etc as they know their equipment and settings as an act of habit, something that has been learnt over many years of training and development at great costs. So someone who has maybe a keen interest in photography, and takes a few snaps of their friends and family suddenly has a light bulb moment, I could do that how difficult is it? So they make a website, run a blog and the most damaging thing they do is call themselves a professional photographer, I may sound bitter but I am simply just making an observation. So you ask why is this a problem after all its good to have competition, well I agree but of course what actually happens is when a perspective client calls up and says, ” how much do you charge for an 8″ x 10″ and your reply is Â£60 of course they will say, ” I just spoke to another photographer and he only charges Â£8″ I rest my case.
So The Point Is…
Well its the customer who is really missing out, they want to book a professional and have an image that will last a lifetime, not some cheap printout with a photographer who has not invested any capital or passion into there profession. My advice would be if its cheap, be careful as you will be disappointed and in more case than not simply just wasted your families time. Do some research, ask your friends if you like what has been done for them, be open minded about cost, remember you are hiring a professional service. A framed medium sized portrait of your family may cost you between Â£400 – Â£600, but please remember this product will last a lifetime and will be handed down to future generations, so for the cost of a nice handbag or a designer pair of shoes, it surely has to be amazing value even at that price.
Justin Bailey is a professional portrait photographer from suffolk in the UK.[www.lighthousestudio.co.uk]
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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