Most people have either used or heard the phrase "an arm and a leg", usually referring to the cost of something. Have you ever wondered what an arm and a leg would look like in terms of dollars? Well, this website came up with this nifty graphic that shows just that, although in US states and dollars. I would love to find something similar based on Canadian provinces but I did the next best thing and I converted these numbers into Canadian dollars so you get an idea.
It's a graphic that is based on workers compensation benefits, what a limb is worth in terms of dollars. They do go beyond arm and leg, and it's quite interesting what WCB thinks our limbs are worth if lost. 😲
In Canadian dollars, this is the range one might receive in compensation for the loss of these limbs:
Arm - $64,787 - $1,140,304 Leg - $58,358 - $720,776 Thumb - $49,607 - $259,546 Index Finger - $12,549 - $126,971 Middle Finger - $9,047 - $123,443 Ring Finger - $6,420 - $109,326 Pinky - $4,669 - $105,804 Foot - $40,565 - $513,070 Big Toe - $9,338 - $119,922 Eye - $36,188 - $400,465 Ear - $15,467 - $165,814
Eye opening isn't it? Over $36,000 eye opening, multiply that by two! 👀
Interesting that your leg is much larger than your arm, but is considered to be worth less. More for less money? Sounds much like what many expect from a photographer! If you go for an arm, you get less for more money, how can they do that? Kind of like photographers that offer only a specific number of images with packages to buy more, or charge a sitting fee that does not include any images or products and there are many of those that are quite successful because of what their clients value. People that highly value professional photography and the work that goes into it are willing to pay more for less because they see that a person is behind the finished product and understand that it is everything that person did and is still doing that created that finished product.
Photographers need to set limits, otherwise they would never be in control of their business, time and income. Like comparing price to limbs, you can also compare how much you receive within your photography price to how much you receive in a package of something at a store. Like the photographer, the manufacturer sets limits to how much is placed in a package and they price based on everything that went into creating that package. They do this to keep control over cost of goods and supplies as well as the time it takes to produce it. The store that then sells it to consumers pays the manufacturer that price and then marks up the item a certain percentage for sale in their store. This is so that the store now profits on the sale to pay all of their costs and earn an income rather than just break even by charging the manufacturers price. They would go out of business if all they did was charge what it cost them to bring the item in. And these prices are based on per item, so if you want more of it you would need to purchase more. If every company just gave away everything that a client might want for one set price, they would be paying you to be their client, or to shop in their store and they would then go under. Unlike the production of most products, photographers don't work on an assembly line or have machines to do most of the work for them. Their product is individually hand created and often customized for the client.
How many of you earn an annual income that looks anywhere near the numbers above? Quite often, even a two income household with two, sometimes three full time jobs barely hits the low point of the cost of one leg. It does happen, but I'm writing based on my local area and it is highly unlikely that any professional photographer earns that solely on income from the photography business. If they do, that is amazing and good for them, I would love to pick their brain! But that is based on an annual income, not per session. There are no photographers anywhere that charge the cost of an arm or leg per session, and that is one OR the other, not both as most refer to. You might find wedding photographers near, at or over the finger he/she put it on, but that's another ballgame and not what I'm going to refer to. I myself am a newborn and portrait photographer so the clients I work with, or the people I hear from are searching for my services and they are just priced differently.
I see it quite often, the searching posts looking for a photographer and yes many do say "that don't charge an arm and a leg". I guess everyone might have a different idea of what the price of an arm and leg might mean to them, it just depends on what we value. To myself, houses cost an arm and a leg. Vehicles cost an arm and a leg. I have a house and two vehicles because I need them. I highly value these things, so I paid the price which actually amounts to be much more an arm and leg than my sessions do 😊
A $300 per session newborn photographer would need to charge that 200 times to earn the cost of an arm or leg and that would be without any deductions. They would need to charge that 410 times to earn both combined, without any deductions. If they're running a legitimate business and paying taxes and all other costs associated with it, they now need to double or triple that. The real arm and leg coming into perspective now?
A professional photographer charging $300 per session would need to do 16.5 to 34 sessions a month, every month for 12 months to make those numbers without deductions and that's just not realistic. Most professional photographers barely do over 100 sessions a year, some do get up past there towards 130-150 but I am in many photography groups with photographers around the world and have yet to see anyone who's still breathing hit these numbers. It's exhausting doing 100! If the photographer happens to have other work like myself and photography is a side job, they can't possibly do this and stay sane.
Oh and don't forget, it's always both the arm AND the leg so we're looking at $123,145 - 1,861,080.
Most full time jobs earning a guaranteed pay cheque do not come close to these numbers.
Who do you know that charges an arm and a leg? Cause, I need to meet them! 😄