I recently ran into someone I met in high school, who I haven’t seen in about eight years. We talked about how much time has passed since we had last seen each other, how much things and people have changed, and how we never would have imagined ourselves to be doing what we are doing now.
This person mentioned to me that one of their friends was getting married in a few weeks and asked if I was going to the wedding. I said no but they had inquired about me doing their wedding photos, which I kindly declined as I don’t specialize in wedding or event photography in general. I also commented on the fact that the friend who inquired was on a bit of a budget. *For those of you who don’t know, shooting a wedding is a TOUGH job! Especially for a single-shooting photographer!! An enormous amount of time planning and shooting goes into a wedding for a photographer.* Anyway, unfortunately I did not feel that the amount they had to spend was worth the job and gave them a few recommendations of photographers who would possibly fit within their budget. The conversation with this person then led to pricing, making any job worth your time, and making sure you made enough money to cover expenses and your time and still come out ahead. We discussed wedding photographer prices and why they charge what they do, then I began explaining my pricing and policies behind my work. Everything was great until this person asked “So you charge that much just to push a freaking button??”
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?
I lost it. I thought it was a joke but turned out this person was totally serious. Although this was the first time I had ever been asked this specific question, I deal with this almost every day. Pricing is such a subjective thing, every market is different, and every client has a different budget. Unfortunately, most people just do not understand the reasoning behind why some photographers charge what they do. Because let me tell you, it is much more than just “pushing a freaking button”! I felt so offended by that question. That is just like me asking “so you get paid this much just to sit behind a desk?” or “you get paid that much just to take a client out to lunch?”.
Being a photographer is a job, just like any other job. I have spent years learning my camera and software inside and out. I have invested thousands of dollars in equipment, workshops, and receiving two degrees at Texas State. All to benefit myself, my photography business, and creating better quality work. I believe all of those qualities make what I do more unique and valuable. Photographers don’t just run around with cameras clicking away and then play around on a computer (trust me, many people believe that’s what we really do). I spend hours researching concepts and ideas for my sessions to make them more unique, spend hours preparing for the session by buying props or even hand making many of them myself, spend up to three hours shooting most of my sessions, and then spend even longer editing the images and creating a custom online gallery for my clients. That is why I charge what I do. Theres is so much more than what goes on behind the camera during a session. And if people can’t comprehend that and understand the reasoning behind it, that’s unfortunate for them. I am always more than happy to educate the client, or people in general who question the photography business. But sometimes there is no way of changing people’s minds or their opinions.
I love what I do and am passionate about photography and the art and history of it. Although it may seem like all I do is “just push a button”, I do consider this a full-time job. But I love it. I love it so much that the majority of the time I don’t even feel like I am working. I firmly believe the saying “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I just love what I do and stand firm to my pricing and policies to have an effective photography business that I can only hope will keep growing.
With all of that being said, I am not trying to be everyone’s photographer. I am just simply trying to open and educate the minds of those who think what I do isn’t worth what’s behind the dollar sign. I hope those who read this think twice before insulting a photographer’s business policies. It’s just like any other job and there is almost always specific reasoning behind the numbers. Questions are always good, just be mindful of the way you ask them (: I don’t speak for all photographers, however I feel like many would agree with me. This post was just written out of experience.
The photos below are of a popular tree in San Marcos, TX. I felt they were appropriate for this blog entry because I feel like Preslie Cox Photography resembles a tree (not this one in particular– these are just a few favorites out of several trees photos I have). I am trying so hard to expand my photography business and do anything I can to keep it growing even though, unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to bring it down and make it less of what it is really worth.
Thanks for understanding,