I realize to most people, photography might seem as easy as just clicking a button, and wah-lah, you have beautiful photos. With technology making cameras more accessible (and affordable) it’s honestly very easy for anyone to pick up a camera and take a decent photograph, BUT the photos may not turn out just as you expected. That is why it is always a good idea to hire a professional photographer.
Shooting professional photography is a skill acquired through years of experience, and taking professional photos involves much more than a nice camera with a button that clicks.
With that being said, there have been many times that people have come to me and said, “We hired our friend (or family member) to do our photos, but to be honest, we hate them! Can you do a shoot for us at a discounted price?” I (or any other photographer) shouldn't have to lower my prices because you chose to go to someone else that you were unhappy with.
Save your money, do your research, pay for a pro...
Let's take a quick "start to finish look" at what is involved with one of my typical sessions:
My Average 1 Hour Session
•Pre-session consult with client to discuss session details
•Travel time to the session location
•Setup, preparation before the shoot
•The actual session
•Travel time back home
•Uploading all the images to computer
•Backing up all images on external drive
•Culling hundreds of images (choosing the very best photos from the session)
•Importing selected images into Lightroom/Photoshop for editing
•Editing images- including any color enhancements, skin refining, and touch-ups, etc.
•Exporting final images from Lightroom to laptop
•Uploading/Preparing client gallery
•Delivering final image gallery to client
Not to mention-- Photography Gear is Not Cheap!
On top of charging for a session, a photographers gear is not cheap. They invest in Cameras and Lenses, which costs thousands of dollars (even for a cheaper type of camera body.) Now, I keep my gear setup pretty simple since I mainly shoot outdoor/on-location portraits, and street photography. For the most part it is just my camera and a couple lenses. I sometimes carry an external flash. Here is a small example of the cost for gear:
Professional Camera + Lenses: A professional camera body typically cost $1,500k -$5,500+ depending on your needs. That's JUST for the body-- Lenses can range anywhere from $300- 6,000+, also depending on your needs and the type photography you shoot.
Flash – I rarely use a flash, however, most wedding photographers can have 1-4 flashes with them at a time.
Other Gear: SD Cards, Extra Batteries, Reflectors, Tripod, Props etc...
Don't Forget About Editing Software: Lightroom, Photoshop etc. run approx $49/mo for Adobe Creative Suites., with the cheaper side being $10/month (which is what I use) for one or two single programs (price depends on the photographers needs as well)
You can see how a one-hour photo session easily turns into several hours, to sometimes several days worth of work-- from start to finish. Plus add in cost of professional gear.
So when you see a professional photographer charging a $250 session fee for a "one-hour photo shoot", you are NOT paying the photographer $250 JUST to click a button for great photos.