The price of professionalism (Blogpost #9, reflections photography, yuba city, ca)

When a client contacts you and asks for your prices before they even research your quality and style, that raises a big red flags to all photographers. Most photographers are glad to provide pricing, but there is always that worry that the inquirer will only become a client if the price is right.   Should it not be if the quality is right for the price?  Rather than searching for the lowest price to capture precious family moments, look at who the photographer is, what their brand is, what they offer, and the quality of their artform.   It depends on what the client wants their images to reflect.  A client's preference could be anything from a snapshot from a phone to a high quality a portrait that draws they eye and speaks to the memory the image has captured.  First and foremost, decide, as a client, what you want the final outcome to be and what your expectations are.   Are you wanting to assist the budding photographer and help them grow their craft?  Are you wanting artistic images that reflect the experience of the photographer and your preferred style?  Either way, it is important to know what to look for before hiring and understand the reasons behind the prices.

So, what should one look for when hiring a professional photographer?

  • Quality of work and personal style.
    • Does their style and quality match with yours?  
  • On trend with latest styles.
    • Does the photographer's artwork provide a versatile range of moods, styles, poses, and finishes that fit your needs?
  • Continually improving their artform, equipment, and education.
    • Does the photographer work to continue educating themselves and improving on their form, equipment, the industry, their standards?  
  • Licensed and insured.
    • Does the photographer take their business and craft seriously enough to be licensed and insured?
  • Service oriented
    • Does the photographer offer quality service, a wide range of product choices, and realistic delivery times?
    • Do they provide excellent customer service and communicate with their clients?
    • Does their pricing match their product and service?
  • Branding
    • Does the photographer have a brand that clearly communicates their platform, their artwork, and what they provide to their clients?
    • Is their website visually appealing, easy to navigate, and informative of their products, service, and style?
    • Are they active on social media, promoting their image, brand,  and attempting to reach clients?

If the answer to these questions is yes, expect to pay for the time, effort, and care they put into making sure they offer you quality, service, and images you are proud to display and share.  All of the above items cost the photographer their time and their hard earned money.  Professionals invest in themselves to provide the client a better product, service, and experience.  Professionals continually strive for growth.  They are not just someone who picked up a DSLR and decided to call themselves a photographer, rather, they are someone who has taken their money, time, and skill and risked it in an ever changing economic climate.

Aside from their equipment, here are some of the costs of being a professional photographer:

  • Business licensing
  • Permits
  • Studio and office expenses
  • Equipment insurance coverage
  • Liability insurance
  • Web hosting
  • Lab fees
  • Gallery fees
  • Processing fees
  • Accounting fees
  • Continuing education expenses
  • Promotional and marketing items
  • Graphic design outsourcing expenses
  • Software and storage fees/dues
  • Vehicle expenses 

Remember, professionalism comes at a price.  You will get what you pay for.