Did you know there is legitimate reasoning behind the way professional photographers price their services? That there is a rather large difference in legitimate professional photographers and hobby photographers. What you're paying for with a professional versus a non professional.
I can guarantee you the reason is not "robbery" and the popular belief of "this other photographer only charges $X amount for photography, how come they can only charge me $X and you can't?" can really be summed up by lack of education and misunderstanding. Often these are encouraged and led by the also uneducated and misguided photographers that are not operating legitimate businesses. I can assure you that they can charge you $X and I can't because I have expenses and taxes to pay and they don't.
If you're interested in becoming properly educated and have a better understanding of this industry, please continue. I will also be including a video that will give you an actual visual of what it really takes to operate and be a successful photography business.
Professionals, they're in business, not charity. Hobbyists, also known as illegal businesses, are in recreation, not business, and the government doesn't care about people pursuing a hobby, but they do care about people calling themselves a business, collecting money and not paying taxes on it. Understand?
Do you know you are potentially supporting and encouraging illegal activity?
These illegal businesses don't think they're doing anything wrong when they're booking clients and they think they're making a lot of money, but they're uneducated and have no value or respect for themselves, their time or their talent and since they aren't paying for the things they should be in order to be legal and safe, they're pocketing the money thinking they have it made. If they were to consider the time they do put in, and cost of the equipment they have, pay taxes, they'd realize they're not making anything at all.
What they are doing, is lowering the bar of standards for the industry and making it very difficult, if not impossible for professional photographers to book clients at their prices because people think it's the norm, or okay to pay menial prices when all they're doing is helping the problem, helping the number of illegal businesses to thrive and grow.
Unfortunately, photography is not the type of industry where schooling and certification are required. Showing or asking for proof of education, skill and experience is almost unheard of and I highly doubt the majority, if not all the clients that hire them check that the business is not only legal, but insured. While the industry does not require schooling and training, these things are still available to photographers and professionals utilize them. This is built into their pricing as well, just like any other trade or industry that requires education and training, the only difference is with photographers it's optional, but should be no less important. You wouldn't hire someone to wire your house who isn't a certified electrician would you? You pay for their education and training, professional photographers expect the same.
What would you do if you hired someone who wasn't legal, not insured and heaven forbid an accident happen during your session? What would you do if you chose someone to photograph your newborn who has no experience, no training and is not insured and they do something unsafe to your baby? The price you could end up paying would be far more significant than if you were to have chosen an experienced professional. My $329 newborn session cannot and should not ever be compared to someone who only charges $50. My $329 price tag includes education, training and years of experience and it includes insurance should anything ever happen. My $329 price tag ensures I do everything in my power to never allow anything to happen. And the government isn't going to hunt me down and give me a hefty fine for operating illegally.
If I'm going to be paying 35% of my income to taxes, a portion of it to insurance, a portion of it to the city for a license to operate, a portion of it to equipment so that I can do my job, a portion of it to upgrading and offering props to be used for your session, a portion of it on fuel to travel for your session, a portion of it on the software I use to perfect your images, a portion of it to the online service I use to deliver your images, a portion of it on courses and workshops to learn, pay myself a livable wage out of it, among many many other things, you can damn well be sure I'm going to charge a price that reflects it!
It really baffles me when I'm told I'm trying to rob someone. Aren't I the one trying to be robbed?
Can I just ask and feel free to comment but if you're reading this and you're a business owner, do you price for profit or loss? Do you let clients determine your prices based on what they feel they should pay or do you set them based on what you need and want to be successful? Do you include your costs of goods/equipment in your pricing or do you eat those yourself?
What's the difference between a service you offer and mine? What makes yours worth the price you ask and mine not?
If you're a skilled trades person, or you've gone to school for a great education so you can do the job you want/love at top wages, do you expect to be paid accordingly to your skill and experience?
Do you as a consumer try to negotiate the prices at Walmart with the cashier, or do you simply pay the total of your purchases?
Aside from the obvious, what is the difference between an educated, trained and certified electrician with 10+ years experience and an educated, trained Professional Photographer with 10+ years experience? Think in terms of the background and what they bring to the table as opposed to someone who cannot compare. An electrician receives a piece of paper where a photographer does not, it doesn't make the investment any less important in the work they do.
Would you like to see how I determine what I need to charge? Notice I said the word need instead of want? Yeah I also want to make a livable wage because well, I too have those annoying monthly things called bills and the house I live and have my studio in isn't free, so I have to consider my needs first and wants second, but my wants are not ignored.
I've prepared this video of a calculator that I created and have available for sale to photographers so they can also determine their needs and wants, that is if they want to be legal and do things the right way. You will see why I, like many others, cannot possibly charge the same as those who are not even in the same playing field. Why professionals cannot possibly charge nothing for our services. Why professionals cannot just give our services away, like non professionals are.
I'm going to show you the difference between myself and the $50 photographer in financial terms.
Yes, I know it's long and it took me 5 days total to put it together, clip, shorten, merge and upload but I feel it's important for service providers to educate their clients on these things so that they have a clear understanding of why we cannot work for free or next to nothing.
When it comes to money and what we choose to spend it on, it's rarely a matter of affordability but rather a mater of priority and we all have different priorities, we all value different things in different ways. I would not go into your place of business and expect you to deliver your service to me at a fraction of the cost you're asking, that's disrespectful.
In my line of work, I have a take it or leave it mindset and this works both ways. You, as the consumer can either hire me for your photography needs or you can hire someone else.
I, as the photographer can accept you as a client or I can accept your choice to hire someone else. The decision does not stop you from going elsewhere, and the decision does not stop me from continuing to run my business with clients that choose me.
I just want to put it out there at least some of the reasons to consider a legal professional over supporting a hobbyist that is operating illegally, and to offer some food for thought when you're in the market for photography services.
Thank you so much for reading/viewing and I hope I have helped you in some way, whether you are a consumer or a photographer.
For you photographers,