Why are photographers so gosh darn expensive? | Amarillo TX Photographer

Before I became a professional photographer, I used to think, "My gosh, photographers are expensive! I can't afford to pay well over $2,000 to hire a wedding photographer!" Now that I am a professional photographer, I get it. Most photographers are charging perfectly acceptable rates. My own rates are extremely low compared to most in Amarillo, TX but they won't stay that way for long. I'm relatively new on the scene and you can bet my prices will be rising. 

Here's the math. Say a photographer performs a wedding for $1000. 

This includes:

2 hours of working and speaking with the client before the wedding, 8 hours on the wedding day, and 10 hours of editing. 

That's 20 total hours of work at a rate of $50 per hour.

Whoa! That seems like a lot! But wait, you forgot about a little thing called taxes. Taxes roughly take up 40% of a photographers revenue. So that brings our hourly total down to $30 an hour. 

But that's $30 for the entire business, not take-home pay for the photographer. A smart photographer would probably put a large chunk of that money back into the business to use for advertising, upgrading equipment, hiring second-shooters, etc. So, say our photographer puts another 40% of her income back into the business. She's ends up making 20% of the $1000 for an hourly rate of $10 an hour. 

Let's take it further. 

Our photographer is lucky enough to shoot 80 portrait sessions this year at an average of 3 hours of work per session (240 hours) and 20 weddings at an average of 20 hours per wedding (400 hours). 

At a rate of $10 per hour in take-home pay, our photographer is performing these 640 hours of work for $6400 a year, if she's lucky. That's not even enough to pay rent on an apartment for a year. 

As you can see, charging $1000 for a wedding is hardly a sustainable business model. 

Know that photographers aren't pricing their sessions high just because they want to. They're doing it because their business would go under if they didn't. 

-K

Kayla SmithComment