The Price of Professional Photography


I have decided to write this blog post because I have to answer this question so often. I hope anyone who reads this finds it helpful. Please keep in mind that this is my personal opinion, I do respect those photographer’s decision as well who do give all the digital images away, as they come out of the camera. The purpose of this post is not to argue with them.

Many times people ask me why I’m not giving away all the RAW images – the unedited, straight out of camera ones – for free, because they are “just clicks”.

Luckily my clients always accept my explanation and respect it. Since they don’t take photos as a profession, understandably they can’t possibly know what exactly is behind every single click. It is part of our job as professional photographers to explain the value of our work our clients. I do understand the question and where it is coming from and I’m always happy to explain.

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Here are a few things that add up to make every single image/click:

  • Expensive professional equipment, including for example cameras, camera lenses, flash lights, photographic backgrounds, background support system, light support system, reflectors, softboxes, umbrellas, beauty dish, flash, tripod, flash trigger etc;
  • Valuable props and accessories for professional photography (for example, in my studio: chase lounges, maternity gowns, newborn baby photography props like wraps, blankets, hats, toys, outfits, beanbag etc.);
  • The photographer’s expertise and knowledge about posing, camera angles, camera and light settings, lighting (using natural and artificial light) etc.
  • The photographer’s time and education.
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Thanks to all these aspects many – or most – of the images already look amazing at the back of the digital camera. When downloaded, they don’t necessarily need too much – or any – retouching. They are already valuable and the photographer’s artwork, in which she/he put all her/his effort, using and making the most out of everything I listed above.

Of course the final – edited – images are the ones we photographers are especially proud of and feel comfortable and happy to give to our clients. They are the ones we choose together with our clients as their favourites and keep working on them to make them look perfect – and make our clients as happy as they can be. We have our own style of photographing and our own style of editing. This is why most professional photographers don’t like giving the raw images to their clients to edit.

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These are a few more things that photographers need to pay for on a monthly basis, therefore they also influence the price of their work:

  • computers and softwares;
  • business insurance (including third party liability);
  • website and web design;
  • marketing (including advertising, printed advertising material and many more);
  • memberships in photographers’ associations (like the AIPP – Australian Institute of Professional Photographers);
  • studio rent – or the cost to buy it;
  • continous education;
  • utility bills etc.
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The point is that even if our clients don’t wish to have any beautiful printed artwork (which we love giving to them), “only” the digital collection, they are still getting a great value, and not just because of the editing process.

I hope this post helps to understand what goes behind every single click. If anyone has any questions about this please contact Janette on 0431 591 096 or get in touch via the Contact page.

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