How Expensive is Professional Photography?
In today’s world photography is everywhere. Driven by improvements in camera phones, Instagram, Facebook and in-expensive 1 hour photo developing at your local drug store, there are plenty of candid photos of everyone. This leads a few wonder why a professional photographer can charge as much as they do. One of the largest local photography companies in Tucson will charge a $199 for a two hour on-location sitting fee and then charge an additional $39 for a single 5 x 7. Although, our rates are much lower, this company has reasonable rates when you consider what is included to make those professional photographs.
You are paying for the time, expertise and equipment needed to create the image itself. This is not just a focus, click and print. There is much more that is involved.
Every hour of actual shooting time is often accompanied by four hours of non-shooting activities to produce high quality photography. So, when you are paying $199 per hour for a two hour sitting fee, then you are not paying $100 per hour. It is more like $20 per hour.
Although many of the DSL cameras that you see in the local electronic store look similar to professional cameras, there are some big differences. Most notably is the size of the individual light sensors (not the number of megapixels). The larger sensors capture more light which means less electronic noise is created. This greatly increases the image quality. A typical professional camera costs $3000 and up for the body only. It is an additional $2000 for the most commonly used professional lenses. The lighting system are even more and again much more than you probably expected.
Although the cost of equipment can be staggering, taking professional portraits involves more than just having a nice camera. Professional photographers spend years developing their ability to visualize and create the best photos from properly posing to adjusting for optimal lighting. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, many long nights are also spent perfecting photographs with post processing software.
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Think of it this way – the next time you pay $100 to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional to actually do the job.