Why Photographers Cost as much as they do.

We aren’t just standing behind a camera clicking a button, what we do exceeds far more than that, and I’m about to break it down in this post.

I would like to start off by an excerpt of a book I’ve read recently called "Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing” by Harry Beckwith.

Take a lesson from Picasso,

“A woman was strolling along a street in Paris when she spotted Picasso sketching at a sidewalk café. She asked Picasso to sketch her. He obliged and she asked "What do I owe you?" "Five thousand francs," Picasso answered. "But it only took you three minutes," she said. "No," Picasso said. "It took me all my life.”

Doesn’t this sound true to all of us working in the creative field? It is something that clients might not be able to grasp the concept of but for those of us who have poured nights/hours/months/years/money/hard work into shaping our skills, our craft, our work, knows what it means.

You aren’t just paying me for 4 or 8 hours of my time. You’re paying me for the equipment I own (camera, lights, desktops, editing software, hard drives etc), the knowledge I possessed, my ability to solve issues should it happen on set, the time spent processing the photographs and most importantly the amount of years I’ve put into committing to this craft ­– just like you would pay more for an experienced lawyer as compared to one that was fresh out of school. You could argue that consulting with a lawyer shouldn’t cost that much if he’s just speaking to you but what you are really paying for is his knowledge of the law and how good is he in the courtroom. Of course no one is ever going to lowball or bargain with a lawyer, so why are we photographers/creative getting the short end of the stick?

It takes years to become good at something, even if you were naturally born with talent, it won’t get you anywhere without hard work. On my days off that I am not shooting, I read, watch tutorials, experiment, to better my craft and myself. All of these are time spent doing something to better my services to my clients. Time that clients don’t know off. It’s time that isn’t paid or accounted for.  I do it because I am passionate about what I do and I do it in order to create better images, for my clients and myself.

We don’t get medical leave, if we are sick, we still have to go to work as a freelancer. We often work through the night with irregular hours in order to meet deadlines.

So the next time you think about lowballing a fellow artist or a person working in the creative industry. I’m asking you kindly to stop and consider how much hard work goes into doing what we do. We may be artists, but we are human too. We have bills to pay and mouths to feed just like you do too.