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Why is a good photographer expensive?

From time to time you can come across a widespread opinion: what exactly does a photographer need to pay money for, if all he does is just press a button. Let's talk about what the prices for services of a photographer are formed from. Why professional photo sessions are expensive and is it really expensive? Why is the price exactly this?


A good photographer should have expensive equipment... This is an axiom. In any industry, any professional equipment is always expensive. This technique gives the specialist reliability and guaranteed results. Alas, every camera has a limited resource of use. The professional line of cameras has a shutter life of 100.000 - 150.000 clicks. In amateur cameras, this figure is limited to 50.000 frames. 100.000 positives is no more than 2 years of work with a busy photographer. In addition, the photographer's arsenal must have at least 2 cameras. A spare camera is used with a lens with different focal lengths to save time from changing lenses. Thus, photographers do not miss important points when shooting reportage. The cost of professional cameras starts from 2 000 dollars per camera without lens. One good lens worth order 500-1500 dollars.

Flash (about $ 500) also has a usage limit. For top models in the hands of professionals, this period also rarely exceeds 2 years. Cameras are warranted for an average of 2 years. Such periods are rare for outbreaks. No manufacturer gives a flash warranty for more than a year. A professional photographer should have two or three flashes in his arsenal. This is especially important in cases where you need to create the right lighting where there is little natural light.

The photographer also has consumables - these are flash drives and batteries. All batteries have a certain number of charge cycles. With active use, the battery life is about 6 months. A flash drive has a resource of about one and a half years; it depends on the number of reads. A high-quality high-speed flash drive now costs about $ 40. For reportage photography, a professional photographer takes with him up to ten flash drives and at least three sets of batteries (just in case).

The photographer very rarely gives the customer a "raw" photographic material. Usually shooting is in RAW format, which needs to be converted. Conversion, in turn, requires a modern and powerful computer, which must be updated every 2-3 times. The size of the photo files also matters. One RAW photo on a full-frame camera takes about 40 MB. Wedding photo sessions, as a rule, consist of at least 600-700 frames. In some cases, there are more than 1.500 frames. With these numbers, you can calculate how many hard drives a photographer should have in order to store these archives. They must be kept for at least one year. There are times when a client loses a disk with photos. In such cases, you need to be able to help a person recover a photo from an event that he may have had once in his life. Also a photographer's first necessity is a calibrated graphics monitor that displays colors correctly. These monitors are also expensive. Their service life is 4-5 years.

Labor costs

Taking pictures is strenuous physical labor. After all, a set of professional wedding photography equipment usually weighs about six kilograms. It: full frame digital still camera, a telephoto lens with good aperture (70-200 f / 2,8), a standard fast lens (24-70 f / 2,8), a pair of fixed focal length lenses (85 / 1,2 and 35 / 1,4), multiple flashes, backup batteries, and several sets of flash batteries. Here you also need to add a spare camera (which is also needed at weddings) and in the end we will get more than 7 kg. With all this weight, a photographer needs to shoot a photo report for 6, 10 or even 15 hours. From high physical activity, professional photographers eventually develop problems with joints and spine.

Like any other person working in the service industry, a photographer must look good. In addition to appearance, a photographer, if he does not specialize exclusively in landscapes, must be a good psychologist and be able to talk to people. A wedding photographer should be able to unobtrusively win over others, he should be able to take high-quality photographs with strangers.

After shooting, the photographer spends a lot of time on post-processing of photographs. At a minimum, you need: converting from RAW to jpeg, exposure compensation, color correction and manual setting of the correct white balance. Also, retouching of some photos is often needed. And when there are a lot of pictures, as it usually happens, and this requires more than one day of painstaking work at the computer.


Often, in addition to directly photographing and processing photographs, the client needs to receive a finished product using photographs. For example, a ready-made billboard or calendar layout. When advertising photography, there is always a serious design work: the photographed product must look perfect, even if it has small external flaws. Simply fixing an uneven seam on a gold ring or eliminating bubbles in stones in jewelry photography is a difficult and painstaking job.

What else have you not mentioned from the photographer's expenses?

They did not mention the cost of advertising and maintaining the site. They did not mention financial insurance in case of a sudden breakdown of one or another equipment. This does not include training costs. Education is essential for professional development: visiting workshops and seminars. The higher the skill level of the photographer, the more expensive teachers he needs for self-development.

After reading the above material, you roughly understand the amount of investment and the level of fixed costs that a photographer should bear. Quality costs money.