I know as I say this I am speaking for approximately 95% of all professional photographers. Not part-time photographers, not hobbyist who take good pictures and certainly not passionate GWCs (guys/girls with cameras). I am speaking about professional photographers who are serious and passionate about their craft and artistry.
If we all had our choice, we would shoot everything and everyone until our heart's content and at the end of the day, most of us do not make a lot of money in this profession. We do it because we love it. However, there comes a time in our career that we will have to charge for our services. If you want quality images, shots from a quality photographer, be willing to invest in your career.
I was recently asked about a rate for a shoot. And I will give a hypothetical break down.
Wardrobe: 3 looks. Hair/Makeup/Styling provided.
Location: Studio in Williamsburg Brooklyn, and other surrounding locations.
Proof: You will have 40-50 edited images to select from
Retouch: You will select 10 images for retouching.
Turn Around: Average one week
Additional looks - $100
This is a basic breakdown that I may charge a model. First words out of their mouth? Damn, why so much? I don't walk away with the entire $700.00 in my pocket. I wish I did.
So from that shoot of 700.00 guess what? I have a crew that has to be paid:
Hair/Makeup: (If I am lucky to get a two-for-one) 150.00 (and this is my crew cutting their rates for me)
Studio Rental: 100.00
Catering Service: 50.00 (the crew has GOT to be fed)
Balance Remaining: 250.00 (that is what I walk away with, if I am lucky)
Here is my hourly rate:
Shooting time: Approximately 4 hours (this is setting up lights, hair makeup and shooting time and break down)
Retouching time for 10 images: Approximately 10 hours.
Total amount of time: 14 hours
Hourly rate: 250.00 divided by 14 hours. Approximately 17.50 an hour.
This is why/how photographers make their money. We also have to invest in ourselves. Every single camera does the same thing (from the iPhone to the Hassleblad). The better the equipment, the better the image. So what do we do as photographers? We invest in our business. I recently purchased a new camera (Canon 5D Mark II). It is an amazing piece of machinery. Guess what it cost me? $4250.00
Battery grip: $300.00
Software upgrade: $250.00
Memory card upgrade: $400.00
Our equipment does not come to us for free, nor is it cheap. You come to us because we were able to produce images of the highest quality. If we are lucky, we may get images for our book. Most often we are approached by models who are less-than-worthy quality, however, with our hocus-pocus of special lighting, superb makeup/hair/styling and retouching skills, we can transform some people into superstars.
Now ask me why I charge what I charge. Or why any photographer charges what they charge. Invest in your careers models, we do.