I’m a professional photographer. I make my living taking photos and the way I work a studio shoot takes around ten hours of my time.
When photographers set their prices they have two things they can charge for:
"The Shoot" - This is what you pay to have your photos taken in the first place.
Most photographers work on selling value rather than time. Selling the printed images rather than the time taken to create them. Photographers are often criticized for charging a lot for the prints. They do this because that is the way they get paid, not because they want to extort money from you. There’s no way that what I charge for the shoot covers the cost of my equipment, studio and ten hours of my time. Most photographers would do "The Shoot" pretty much for free if they were guaranteed to be able to sell lots of prints. School photographers, for example, don’t charge to take the class photo. They plan to sell lots of copies and make their money that way.
In my case I have decided to keep the shoot price in the mid range of prices and to do the same with my print prices. Other photographers will charge more or less for the shoot and more or less (usually more) for the prints. I try to balance the two.
When choosing a photographer, look at their work first.
If you like it then look at their pricing, you need to decide if you want to pay that price for that photographer. There will always be another photographer charging less and another photographer charging more. You are investing your time and money in some beautiful images; make sure that you will get the images you want before you compare prices. There’s no point in using a cheaper photographer and not getting the photos you wanted.
Remember that I will happily meet with anyone to talk about a shoot with absolutely no obligation or cost. At this meeting we can talk about what you want and I can show many more examples of my work than I ever could (or would) put on the internet.
All images copyright - © Painting With Light Ltd, Christchurch Photographer Tim Brown