So a few weeks ago I saw a FB post go viral. The post states that a man walked into this shop and there was a sign posted that read, “My prices are based on my talent....not your budget”, and then he went on to say, I feel like everyone with a craft should have this sign. Barbers, Photographers, Makeup Artist, Tattoo Artist, Personal Trainers, etc.
Then last week, I posted a question. When looking for a photographer what drives your decision...Price...Quality of the image...Style...maybe a combination of all three?
So what do you prioritize, when looking for a photographer? Here are some things to keep in mind when booking...
STYLE: Probably the single most underrated aspect in the decision of hiring a photographer. Style is EVERYTHING! Style is what represents the visual story you are trying to share with the world. You may have a friend who can take photos that are bright and airy, but what if your style is dark and moody? Do you hire your friend or does your style influence you to look at other potential photographers for this occasion? A photographer's style is influenced by their choice in: Camera, Lens, Lighting, Camera Settings, Angle of Shots, Editing (Tones, Color, Contrast), and even the Subject Matter itself. The style of a photographer is no different than the style of different architects/home builders, car manufactures, or fashion designers. You gravitate towards the products that you feel best describe your personality and life story.
QUALITY: Quality of an image is extremely important as well. Quality relates to the sharpness, lack of noise (noise is that grainy look in dark areas of the photo and this is due to high ISO because of low light situations), and color range. There are numerous ways to improve and ensure a high quality image, but the two best ways are choosing a skilled photographer, and ensuring they have the right equipment for your personal situation. Finally make sure you ask if your photographer is shooting in RAW or JPEG. If they say JPEG...WALK AWAY. Shooting JPEG in the camera is a sure way to get poor quality with an image. The camera compresses the file and processes it before you ever get it to the editing software. We personally shoot with the Nikon D810 and the D5 and both are great for shooting in low light situations and we only ever shoot in RAW or RAW/JPEG (this just means the camera produces both a RAW file and a duplicate JPEG file. Below you can see a before and after photo that was taken without any flash, at night using my D810 and an 85mm f1.8 Nikkor Lens.
PRICE/BUDGET: I can only speak to the Silver Foxx Studio LLC practices and timelines, but one thing to keep in mind before we discuss prices, is that for a one hour session of shooting with our clients, there is an additional 18 hours behind the scenes that include; planning the sessions, coordinating locations & permits, culling all the photos, proofing, editing, and delivering the final images for our clients. We don’t charge by the hour we charge a starting package rate click here to view our different package options.
With all things, the higher quality a product/service is, the more expensive the prices will be. When looking for a photographer, it can be difficult to select one, as not everyone wants to put their prices out there on their websites. This makes it difficult for potential clients to know which photographer is within their budget. And with such a varying range of prices between photographers, it's impossible to know if you are getting over-charged. So here is a handy break down to help you understand
Hobbyists: less than $50 per hour / $10 to $25 per image. These are photographers who just purchased an entry level DSLR with a kit lens. They do it for fun on the side without having studied professional techniques and best practices.
Amateur: $25 to $100 per hour / $25 to $50 per image. Amateur photographers have built up an online portfolio and have sold their images to other clients. They are still using some form of an entry level DSLR and probably have a prime or specialty lens. Still, they haven't had any professional photography education, but offer much lower prices.
Semi-Pro: $75 to $150 per hour / $50 to $150 per image. These are mostly part-time photographers with a strong education in the field and more than one year of experience.
Professional: $100 to $300 per hour / $75 to $350 per image. These full-time photographers have an extensive portfolio, strong skills, continue to study trends and techniques to refine processes, and have several years of experience. They have professional level DSLRs or Mirrorless Cameras, an array of lenses, and lighting equipment.
Top Professional: $200 to $500+ per hour / $400 to $1,000+ per image. Exclusive full-time photographers like these are in high demand for top magazine publications, advertising companies, and the film industry.