Things to keep in mind when comparing photographer's prices.
Let’s be honest, booking a photography session can be an intimidating task. In my mind, the first big question is, do you like the artist’s work? If the answer is yes, you’re already in a really good place! The second big question is the price. Now, this can be tricky, because there are lots of variables to consider. I simply can’t cover them all, but here are a few of my personal observations, in hopes to ease your mind and help you feel confident in your decision.
Example Price Model One
Sitting Fee + Per Print Charge
With this rate you’ll pay a session fee simply to have your photos taken. Then once the proofs are ready, you’ll sit down with the photographer to select which photos you like during an image reveal. In many cases, the digital files are not available for purchase. In some cases, the photographer will include a product credit within the fee (ie. your sitting fee was $350 and you get a $200 product credit towards two - three prints depending on the size). While upfront it looks like these sessions appear less expensive than the digital package rate, clients will often spend between $500 - $3,000 on prints. For additional prints down the road, you must go through the photographer.
Example Price Model Two
Digital Package Rate
In this case, you will pay a session fee which includes the full set of artistically edited high-resolution digital images, so you can print and share them freely - and to save for archival purposes. This is Azra and Oak’s preferred pricing model. It allows you to go through your gallery on your own time, as many times as you’d like! You can download them to your cloud or a USB. You can send the link to your family, so they can view and download them too. It allows you to print as many photos as you’d like today . . . or perhaps ten years from now for your baby’s wedding guest book! While immediately the cost looks higher, there are no additional costs beyond the original agreed upon price, which in Azra & Oak’s case is $460.00.
There are a few other things to keep in mind . . .
While at first, you might think a photographer with the digital package rate is making $460 per hour (if the session time is one hour), you also need to factor in the costs of running a business and making a living. Session fees will also cover the cost of:
Digital gallery fees
Time spent editing
Time spent importing, exporting and uploading
Transportation to and from the session
Professional camera equipment
I’ve sat on this blog for more years than I wish to admit. When writing it I had several fears; Will I come off as too confident or arrogant? Perhaps my observations are incorrect or biased, especially given I can’t cover all different pricing models? Will I offend other photographers?
Ultimately, for the sustainability and transparency of my business and to ensure I’m helping my clients feel confident in their decision, I decided finally hit send.
Once you've set a budget that you and your family feel comfortable with, don't forget to revisit the number one question, which is do you like the artist's work? Almost all the photographers I know shoot because they love the art and adore working with their clients, not because they want to take your money. The money simply enables us to put forth our best work, while looking after our family too!