photographers high rates + one day work week

In this post, I hope to share with you what it is exactly that photographers do all day long. It seems a common mis conception that because a photographer is sitting home all day they must just be basking in the summer sun and drinking ice tea all the day long! (Its true, when I do drag myself away from my computer, I like to see the sun!) But that is not a typical day in the life of a photographer.

Second, something I just lightly want to address is why photographers are so expensive. I know that this is a continued debate, and of course you will always find someone to do it “cheaper” but I until I became a photographer, I also wondered the same darn thing. Until I started doing the work….

I often get asked, “what do you do all day?” or “what do you do with all your free time since you only work on Saturdays?” It doesn’t bother me, because I would ask too! I didn’t any of this stuff when I went into photography. I thought, oh how easy, work a few hours a week doing something fun, and then Im done! No. No. No. Running a business is much more….

Brainard Wedding Photographer 94 7 photographers high rates + one day work week



Well, the day starts off early.

–Checking + responding to constant everyday emails that may include the following:

-session prep
-sending/adjusting/scaning contracts
-new clients
-wedding day timeline planning with my brides
-answering questions

Ordering prints, products albums, canvas’ for clients:

-corresponding with client to get correct order and sizing or give suggestions
-resizing the images
-designing the wall art, or album
-touch ups + edits to enlargements
-putting in the order

Up keep on website/social media:

-updating with latest work to website
-maintenance to website
-posting latest sessions/weddings to social media outlets
-keeping connected with clients through Facebook, status updates
-updating blog posts
-creating marketing promos in photoshop etc and then promoting them
-replying to clients who contact me through Facebook also

Portrait shoots other than weddings between 2-5 per week:

-session planning/corresponding
-time spent scouting out locations
-travel to locations
-time shooting, 1-3 hours
-sending images to client

Other misc. can include but is not limited to:

-Sales tax
-continued education, classes, conferences on photography niche/skills
-networking with other photographers
-corresponding/sending images to wedding vendors that you work with
-marketing materials design, ordering, promoting
-keeping with latest technology/camera equipment
-sending images/prints/info to clients

the list goes on… and this all takes TIME.

The last and most time consuming, EDITING. This one take the cake people. Hours upon hours of editing, touch ups, processing of your photos after your session or wedding has been shot. Editing includes, culling the images (taking out blurry, duplicates, etc.) and choosing the best to keep for editing, then white balancing/color correcting, blemish removal, brightening, sharpening etc. Exporting, sizing, and gallery upload. Just to give an idea of what editing looks like, I thought it would be fun to show you a little sneak peek behind editing. I posted a few images below to show what SOOC (Straight out of Camera) looks like, and then what an image looks like after it has been edited and worked on as a final product. Some photographers maybe don’t edit every image for their clients, but most do, as do I. This is tedious, time consuming work.

editss photographers high rates + one day work week soocedit photographers high rates + one day work week editsooc photographers high rates + one day work week



So if you ever ask me what do I do all day, now you know! icon smile photographers high rates + one day work week Which leads to the second question about why sessions cost so much. As you can see in the above listed work day, much of what you are paying for is a photographers time to do all these things. Time IS worth more than anything. I hope that list helped to show all the back work behind your photo shoot. When you think of as a photographer actually needing to make money at taking photos, then I think it helps to understand the why behind the $300-500 price for a session. The thing is, is that we do actually try to keep pricing reasonable, but a photographer has to charge enough to be able to not just give you a few images, but to run their business PLUS support either themselves as a living or a family. Also, the list above doesn’t even include the fees for website hosting, gallery hosting, all the cute little gifts you get from your photographer or material they have printed, product ordering, shipping costs to send discs and other such items, equipment purchasing (professional lenses range between 800-2,000 EACH!)  No paid sick days, or paid time off or health care.


Lastly, I will leave you with this thought.  Do you believe in “You get what you pay for?”  Do you think that its unreasonable that a photographer with more experience, nicer equipment and the customer service experience you receive more so than your friend with a camera, is worth the higher price point?  Or the absolutely frozen moment in time portrait you have of you with your children at this stage in life, or grandpa seeing you at your wedding for the first time, is priceless?  : )


Im sure I could find more things to list, but I think this gives a pretty good grasp on 1) what I do all day + 2) why photographers charge so much. icon smile photographers high rates + one day work week But even though it is indeed a lot of work, I LOVE what I do and I am so thankful to each and every couple, senior, family client that asks me to be part of their lives through capturing it. I feel so blessed!

  • Glimmero

    Hi Dana,

    It’s good for people to see the extent of work photographers, and anyone who is self-employed and primarily works on a computer, has on a daily basis. I think it’s taken people a long time to accept (and it’s still a work-in-progress) that hard work is not just throwing around a sledgehammer at the railroad. Computer work is certainly not as physically straining (and some people hate it because they’d rather be moving around!), but it can be just as strenuous in other ways.

    Those who start their own businesses, at least initially, have far more work and stress than the average day-laborer, imo. Mainly because…you’re responsible for EVERYthing! No boss, no manager, no “underlings”. Just you.

    Thanks for sharing these details of the average workday. Truly good photography isn’t always easy to come by, but it’s worth every penny.