HOW MUCH!? / by Fran Weaver

Hi again.

I’m sure some of you are wondering about the price of a photo-shoot and how the photographers can possibly justify the prices. I thought I’d take a few moments to do just that; justify the seemingly outrageous costs of a studio photo-shoot.

So what are these prices I’m talking about? Well, we looked at a lot of packages available online before we set our prices, and we were quite honestly shocked by some of them. An example: £140 for a one hour session. For that you received one 10 x 8 print and that’s it. If you wanted any of the images in digital form it would cost you another £245 for just six Hi Res JPGs on a DVD. Yes £245 ... that’s not a misprint! Another very well known company only charged £45 for their lowest priced package. For that you received ... nothing. Digital copies were not made available and any prints, canvases etc had to be bought from them at extortionate prices. To be fair to them, you could have a package and receive a 7x5 print in a wooden frame. Again no digital images were available to the customer and for this privilege you’d pay £95. Another charged a straight £45 per hour with 6 digital images on a DVD coming your way. Not too bad until you learn that a minimum of two hours is charged for the shoot, and that editing is again £45 per hour, and again a minimum of two hours. So for the basic package you’re already up to £180 for six images.

Our prices are a little more reasonable. Our standard package is priced at £135 (currently reduced to £100 until the end of March 2018) and for that you’ll receive a one hour shoot, 15-20 Hi Res images on a DVD and two 6x8 prints in strut mounts. We also do a short session shoot for £50 giving you 5-8 images and one 6x8 print. For more on our packages click HERE.

At first glance you may still think this is a lot of money for the one hour session; let’s face it, who wouldn’t be pleased with £135 an hour? For now we’ll ignore the cost of a DVD & case, print paper, ink and mount ... oh, and then there’s the studio heating and lighting costs; they all cost money but we’ll put them to one side. The time taken by the photographer is more important to this discussion. For that one hour session to take place we first have a 30 minute consultation with the client at the studio. This is to determine the client’s expectations and to map-out the session in order to achieve the best results in the available time. On the day of the shoot the studio has to be prepared to fit those requirements. Then the shoot itself; we will do our best to achieve all the expectations of the client within the time. If we have to run over the slot time by 5 or 10 minutes to manage this, then in most cases, that’s on us.

But that’s not the end of it. Very few pictures, in these digital days, are perfect straight out of the camera. Editing takes time ... and lots of it. Fran will take, on average, 200 photographs during the session. These have to be sorted to find the best 15-20 shots that satisfy the customer’s goals. Those images then have to be edited and cropped in Adobe Photoshop to achieve the standards we, and ultimately you the customer, expect. The time taken is infinitely variable. Some are a simple crop and sharpen and are ready in a few minutes. Others can take up to an hour. Fran is very self-critical and you can be assured she will work for hours to achieve the results you will cherish. Then of course there’s the printing, mounting and DVD burning before a 15 minute presentation of results to the client; all time and money, and that’s not  mentioning the costs of materials which I put aside earlier.

Well, I set out to justify the seemingly high costs of a professional photographer. I’ve certainly justified it to myself .... have I justified it to you?