Why is professional photography so expensive?


So you are all probably wondering why professional photographers charge so much for a session when you can buy a cheap camera from the high street and print them for pence at the local supermarket. Think of it this way, it's about £100 to get your hair done, and a pair of scissors only costs £1, but you'd gladly pa​y a lot more to hire a professional to actually do the job properly.

One of my pet hates is when I see or hear comments like 'it's only clicking a button and uploading a photo'... No. It's not. At all! It's far from that, especially with newborn photography. So I'd like to educate you so hopefully you will have a better understanding.

Time is a major element here, it's not just the time at the photoshoot, that's the easy part. It's when you get home that the work really starts. Then we have cost, it's not just a case of having a camera, it actually costs us a lot to be able to do photography as a job. And finally there's expertise, experience really does go a long way, that doesn't mean how long you've been taking photo's for, it's about how well trained you are in your field, and if you actually qualify to call yourself 'professional'. So let me explain...

Time - photographers spend about 20% of their time actually shooting and 80% of their time on business related tasks and post-production. Here's a list of average times per ONE session:

1 - 3 hours prepping time (emails, phone calls, consultations)

2 - 6 hours shooting time

10 - 90 minutes editing PER photo (4-36 hours)

6+ hours of everything else (driving, posting, orderings, galleries, packaging, delivering)

So for one newborn session it'd be up to around 52 hours worth of work, that's more than a working week in a 'normal' job. Baring in mind that it's not the 'normal' 9-5 hours either, a shoot will take up the whole of Saturday or Sunday, compromising on family time, we'll be editing until gone midnight some nights too.

This photo took around 6 hours in total to transform (okay not all images take that long to edit but some do). Mum is a professional cake maker at cartsofcakes.co.uk and wanted a baking themed photograph. We decided to do this last as it involved lots of flour, but unfortunately little Jack had other ideas and we didn't manage it. Hooray for photoshop! I took photographs individually after the shoot and merged them all together to create this!

Cost - so the camera alone is around £2000+, then each lens is probably £1000+, say an average photographer will have 4-5 different lenses. Then it's the accessories that you need with that camera, spare batteries, memory cards, flash gun, studio lighting, tripod, bag etc. Probably another £500+. Okay so that's the start of the investment. Now you have a camera, you need to purchase everything else that it takes to have a successful business. Let's break this down too (annually):​

Website domain - £150

Email hosting - £100

Advertising - £500

Props - £1000 (more if you're a propaholic like me)

Training - £2000

Insurance - £800