Hey there! Welcome to the wild world of photography! It can be a fun one, but there is a huge learning curve ahead!
You see, I really do care about other photographers, and I will be the first to admit that the industry is not as opening to newbies as it should be, but we do all have our reasons.
Every time I see a post of a cheap session it makes my heart break, it doesn't load me with jealousy, it seriously breaks my heart, especially if you have a family.
When I first started my career you see, I was YOU. I was the one who thought I could charge a cheaper price, and make good money. Of course I was just starting out, so that is what I expected, my sweet husband even tried setting up a class for me with a local photographer so I could truly learn what to do correctly, and they said no, we were going to pay of course, I mean, nothing is free in this life right? So I sat upon my journey, I tried the whole "$50, you get 1 hour of time, and all your images on a CD", but I soon learnt quickly, that you can NOT operate a business like that. You are looking at it from the wrong angle, even clients look at that from the wrong angle.
See, what I mean is, you really put more than 1 hour of time into that one person. Just follow me as I break down some numbers would you?
Time spent on a one hour session (say this is for a milestone or family):
-Emailing/Calling/Text Messaging at least 2 hours
-Driving on location to and from 30 minutes (for me, if I come from where I live, that is 40 minutes if I'm going to Dothan).
-Session, 1 hour, you may go over, so always account for that.
-Uploading Files/Culling 1 hour
-Editing 3 hours
-Burning to a CD/Uploading Gallery 5-10 Minutes
Total Time = 6 hours and 40 minutes.
Hour rate $7.81
NOW, you have to pay taxes out of that, $4.50.
Did you have to pay a sitter? My sitter charges me $10 per hour
Now you have $35.50.
How about that gas? Lets shoot for $5 to get there and back!
Now you are at $30.50, so making $5.54 per hour.
Also, you gave them lets say, 50 images (which I'm kidding myself, because I remember giving like 100 plus starting out lol).
That means, you made .71 cent per image
Let that sink into your head for a bit, then move on to my next thing.
YOU are a business owner, so now you have expenses to make. Here are some you have to have, you can't justify not having.
-License, you must have one for City, State, and County. $130
-Tax ID You HAVE to file taxes. (Free to get an ID, but take into consideration that you have to pay taxes out of your income, so that varies).
-Internet (I pay $80).
-CD $5? I'm not sure as I don't sell them.
Now, let me list a whole bunch of expenses you never think of:
-Computer, Camera, and Lens upgrades, repairs, or rentals.
-Electricity (if you have a home based business, you are able to deduct a certain amount of this).
-Office supplies (Ink, paper, pens, CD cases, and so forth)
-Laundry detergent/Water (I wash my stuff constantly after contact with babies)
-Props, you know you want them ;)
-Card Reader Fees
-Accounting Professional Fees
-Travels and meals
- Rent (if you are a store front like myself).
See, there probably are a good bit more that I am missing out, but you see, there is a lot that goes into running a business. I would love to invite you all to join us once a month, as we meet at my downtown Dothan studio, our meeting will be next Wednesday and we would love for you to join, it is absolutely free, and a great way to mingle, and learn from us seasoned professional photographers. I hope this blog post gave you some insight and will motivate you to change the way you tend to do business. I always want to post on this topic, but there is the fear of always having at least one person who reads and takes this the wrong way, but it is simply an eye opener. We have to open our minds to learn to be better, there should never be a point in your job that you stop learning, it simply does not and should not work that way <3
Have a blessed week!