And that’s what photography is all about. It’s more than taking pictures, its preserving memories.
I spend a lot of time with Tiffany and though I once thought running ones own photography business would be easy, it is not for the faint of heart. Tiffany puts a lot of time, dedication, and hard work into it. She is passionate and that’s the main key.
On top of that, she’s a business woman. A photography business is still a small business and business takes work. According to Financial Post, the average small business owner puts in 51 hours a week – with 1 in 5 working over 60. (full article)
Tiffany puts a ton of time into her business and I want to share some of what goes into a photography business.
At one of Tiffany’s shoots this year [that I was fortunate to tag along for], I heard a person say something along the lines of, ‘the money must be pretty good’ hinting that the shoot might be over-priced. The way this person said it clearly told me they weren’t too familiar with all the fixed, variable, and overhead costs of running a business.
Lets take a look at some of the obvious things
First, there’s time taking pictures and then the time it takes to edit them [which for a typical wedding is anywhere from 30-50 hours]. That’s a good start but there’s more. Most people forget about the interaction before the shoot.
Many people inquire and most will not become clients. then the ones that take the plunge need more communication about scheduling a shoot, trying to find the right time, where will it be, what to wear, etc. If its a wedding, many times a photographer will have to meet with an inquiring person (sometimes multiple times) even before they win the bid. That time adds up.
The average family shoot is about 2 hours but don’t forget to add the travel time there and back. But before that you have to make sure all the gear is prepped properly, cleaned, and ready for action.
After the shoot comes the fun part, editing. Editing is an art. Not many have the true stills to professionally capture lasting memories that will hang timeless above the fireplace, let alone the patience for it. You can get an estimate on how long the editing of session may be by multiplying the length of time for the session by 4!
That’s right. 4 times longer to edit those images they’ve captured from the shoot. So, a 2 hour shoot times… well you get the picture. Quality time is spent on editing photographs to ensure you get the best professional, clean, sharp images possible.
Let’s add more time to this mix. We took a ton pictures but depending on the shoot it may take up to an hour just to upload the images from the camera to the computer. Then time to back up all the images on an external hard-drive. Then another hour to download all the edited pictures to a USB or disc, maybe even longer if you upload them to an online gallery.
Time is the main piece of the equation. You might be able to see that many photographers actually work below minimum wage due to the hours they invest into the clients, sessions, editing and business.
As if that wasn’t enough, we haven’t even mentioned anything about taxes, licenses, insurance, website expenses, accounting, and other traditional expenses the small businesses and the self-employed are required to pay, but that will be for an other article.
Well, there is definitely a lot that goes into a photography business. I hope you have a little more understanding about the photography business world. If you have any comments or questions feel free to ask.
After reading about all that goes into a single session and everything with the business side, do you still think all photographers are over-priced?
Anyone think I missed anything?