london lensminds portrait shoot with male model holding black hat with his hand

Expectations vs Reality in Photography as a Customer

It is unfortunately quite common for people to think that photographers charge ludicrous amounts of money.

This is understandable if you are completely oblivious to the whole process of doing a photo shoot.

This post is about expectations versus reality in photography as a customer. Here I am just telling you a little bit more about the photographer’s work beyond the time you spend together.

In the event of you having no idea of what it entails to do a photo shoot the below might align with your expectations:

My photographer grabs the camera and heads out to meet me. We have fun while she snaps a few shots.

Once the photographer is home the shots are loaded onto the laptop and sent to me digitally. I expect to look fabulous in all of the photos.

For some mysterious reason my photographer always takes way longer than needed to send me the shots. But I’m cool and I give her a day or two before chasing.

In reality the process goes a bit more like this:

Some back and forth messaging to give rates, arrange meeting details, duration of shoot and other bits. Build a mood board on Pinterest to help the customer with outfit and posing ideas.

Charge batteries, format memory cards and make sure everything is in the backpack. Get out and usually venture into the wild world of public transportation.

On location I constantly change camera settings and get into weird positions to get certain shots. That shutter button is pressed hundreds of times. I will direct you and occasionally pull that mood board out so that you can visualise certain poses.

Travel back home.

Import the photos to Lightroom. This takes hours so I let it do its thing while I go about my home life. Once that is done I go through all the photos to pick the keepers and discard the not so good ones. Might do that again to make sure all is good.

Once I am happy with the final selection I do some editing in Lightroom to fix exposure, tones and straighten the photos when needed.

I go through them all over again to ensure everything looks good and export the photos to jpeg. Upload them and send you the link so you can pick which ones you would like retouched.

Photos to be retouched go into Photoshop. I am not going to bore you with each step of retouching, don’t panic. Just telling you that each photo takes anything from 20 minutes to over an hour to edit.

Retouching done I will upload them and send you the link to download your retouched photos.

Let’s talk numbers

Finally to give you a better idea of how long this process takes for me let’s talk numbers. With my discounted rates (get on there soon as they won’t be like that for long) you get a two-hour shoot for £130. That includes a whopping 100 shots with 4 of them being retouched.

So that is 2 hours on location, maybe one hour travel each way which equals 4 hours.
Importing, exporting and uploading photos let’s add 2 hours.
Selecting photos and Lightroom edits another 3 hours.
Retouching 4 photos at an average of 45 minutes each, 3 hours.

This totals 12 hours of work (excluding messaging and building mood boards).

At £130 you are paying your photographer £10* per hour, actually no, make that £7 (after paying taxes).

Do you still think photographers are overpriced?

*I have taken £10 off the package price to pay for transport

Disclaimer: I am only able to practice these silly low prices because I still have a part-time job on the side that pays me when I’m on holidays and covers my regular bills. When I go full-time into photography my rates will have to include my time off, time spent educating myself, paying for bills, food and gear.

In the featured photo, Nikolai

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