Why the Cost?
The first response to a photo investment is often "wow!"
The time invested in photographing your session doesn't equate to the time spent on your shoot. I hope by breaking down the photo process it will bring a better understanding to where your hard earned investment is going towards.
Everyone knows photographers need to edit the photographs, but what does that entail?
A typical photo session can be anywhere between 150-200 photographs. This is to insure accurate lighting, focus, sharpness, and to give a range of composition and expression. I currently use a Canon 5D Mark II Professional Camera and shoot in a RAW format, therefore the image size can be anywhere between 25-35 MB per image. Although not every photograph is used, the entire session needs to be uploaded and saved on the hard drive which even with today's technology can take around 30 min with the size of the files. Next, there is about 30-40 minutes spent on going through and selecting the best images.
After we have narrowed it down to the "best", we move onto the color and tonal correction. As mentioned, I shoot in a RAW format. This means it takes the cameras control away from making any adjustments to your photo (such as highlight, contrast, and shadow definition) and captures every single detail in the scene. Consumer cameras produce images called JPEG's which are all ready to be viewed right out of the camera (everything adjusted automatically for you) and have limited editing quality. With this being said, all corrections must be made to each photograph before moving onto the next editing process.
When that process is done, I import the files into editing software (up to date Photoshop and Lightroom) to then use a Wacom tablet to fine tune, eliminate blemishes, hair strands, and unwanted objects floating around the background which can take around 2-5 hours.
Once the editing is completed, there is still the process of making templates, uploading images to the server for viewing, updating the website and blogging. This will range about another 1-2 hours.
Equipment is Expensive
There are two important factors to achieving the best possible photo. The
main one is knowledge... but the second is to have the proper tools. Photography started out as a passion and I began shooting photography with a middle grade $1000 pro-consumer camera which worked nicely for family photos and vacations. But once the passion turned into a business idea, it was time to up the education and the equipment to professional grade. Just B Photography uses $15,000 worth of equipment to achieve the highest possible photo quality, and keeping up with the technology is important. While nothing will replace the education, you need to have the proper tools such as cameras, lighting, lenses, and computer technology.
Education is Expensive
Above we said equipment is important, which is true. However education is more important. While some education is easily accessible on the internet for free, nothing can replace hands on experience and working with experts. Knowledge for a photographer isn't just a college education. We are continually trying to better ourselves and create new techniques, spending countless hours on researching and perfecting our skills.
Photographers are self employed
Like every business, there is overhead.