Why the high cost when i want is just a few images of the board of management or CEO, Client need you to cover an opening event for 2 hrs – 4 hrs only. Are you able to give me a much cheaper rate than what you offer. Other photographer quote me a lower price, although i like your style, are you able to match the price we budgeted?
This is a stumbling process for client and photographer are typically facing each day. Why photographer charge so expensive? Photographer would think why client had so little budget for photography?
Basic photographer tool
The primary cost of equipment such as a brand new high end 20 over mega pixel camera is not relatively cheap for most professional photographers, either most of us pay it off immediately, or settle for a installment which see the cash sucking out monthly. Photographer basic tools – camera and lenses. Having to meet the basic demand of client’s need as some of them asked what type of camera we are using. Example for a commercial job, client might need to blow up the images to half a billboard size images to launch in the public. Hence size does matter! Along with a hefty price from a professional photographer.
An essential tool for all commercial photographer, no 2nd doubt about it. A decent strobe with a basic power of 400 would cost around S$1,200 and above. Not including the various accessories to match. An excellent brand new flash light would cost around $700 and above. Probably sustainable for 1 year if use almost everyday, changing the flash tube need to set another cost aside. Am not going deeper on this part as the price of it would get more scarier.
During the set up of a commercial shoot, photographer hire 1-2 assistants to assist him such as setting up of lighting, run errands, linking up the computer, arrangement of the scene etc. These small little help ensure the photographer have a much better focus with the client during the shoot. Yes is extra head cost, but is efficient and effective for all. Client wouldn’t want to wait another hour or two to get things running if photographer handle it by himself.
Post process time
After finish capturing an event, typically a few hours. I don’t believe in handing the client the raw files on the spot (unless is urgent), expecting them to happily use it. After a shoot, photographer will sit infront of the computer, maybe with a bag of popcorns, 1 litre coke, turn on the music to start editing the images. I would say is pretty a much daunting process if the photo shoot went bad. If the exposure is decent about 70% – 80%. Life would be much easier but time is still needed to do the post process. Once done, images are burn into a disc, put it in a CD cover, run down to the nearest print lab to print a copy of the cd cover for the casing or on the disc itself, which is good presentation. We take pride in our work.
People always think a freelancer got all the time in the world to do whatever they want. This is the biggest misconception one can think of. Photographer is like a businessman. We do our marketing, sales call, email blast, pump in money for advertising, understand and reading about SEO, blogging (which am doing now), meeting potential client for meeting, networking. Time and money are deeply consume, less time for leisure.
I hope you have a rough idea why we charge at such rate, not because we want to have huge profit margin. Am not going to touch on deeper in each area, writing this is NOT TO EDUCATE the client, but sharing the professional photographer perspective. Professional photographer is not a trade everyone can do, is mental and physically demanding at time. Not asking for respect, at least we want to be treated with dignity in our years of hard work and experiences, similar to lawyers and doctors, don’t you agree? (am not implicating people make fun of me). The satisfaction is not from us, but the client who engaged us for our unique vision and skill.
After so many years in the industry. It uncovers me long ago that this is not a glamorous job, at least is a passion that is burning each day in my heart. I have to admit i might not get richer any time soon, neither i will starve till death.
P.S. Pardon my writing. am not a gifted writer, as this point of time this blog takes me about 2hrs to come up, including toilet break and a phone call.