Why It's Important That I Charge What I Do
as a creative, a wife, mother, + individual there is nothing that is more important to me than helping people realize that their stories are worth being told. however being in the industry that i am it is a common occurrence that people tell me “you’re too expensive”, “we went with someone cheaper” or “we just don’t have the money to make it work with you”. i completely understand where people are coming from when they send me those messages, i’m also in a financial situation that means we can’t spend money on things we don’t need. that being said, i LOVE visual story telling, + it’s something that is a huge priority to me. oftentimes the photos of my family are taken by me or my family(thanks mom!) + that means that i’m not in the frame as often + it breaks my heart that there are so many people in the world that aren’t in the frame, especially if money is the only reason why.
there is an incredibly large stigma surrounding people charging for a service, + whether or not they are charging the “right” amount. i get the thoughts behind how much goes into things, i get that money isn’t something falling out of people’s wallets all the time. 3 years ago i was in the same boat thinking “why is photography so expensive?!” and i was IN THE INDUSTRY.
as i’ve spent time growing my own business + seeing everything that goes into running a profitable business that allows for me to contribute financially to my family, + my emotional time to be available to my family during the times i’m not working is SO important to me. i value my time, my energy, + the times i sacrifice those two things in order to show up for my clients.
i’ve seen a lot of people who aren’t up front about their pricing structure, + while i won’t be sharing all the exact details on how i reached my pricing for this year i want to be transparent, because if people value the same things as me(time, energy, + memories) i want to make sure we’re all on the same page about what goes on behind the scenes.
when i first started looking at my pricing structure for 2018 i knew that i wanted to be able to contribute on a larger level to my family + our finances. not to be able to afford all these nice things, but to be able to cover our bills, + enjoy special experiences that can get pricey occasionally. for that reason i landed on a really simple pricing structure, it’s all calculated in 20 minute increments + includes a la carte options to customize a package to whatever works for you.
now if you see that i charge $150/20 minutes you might be thinking “that’s $450/hr! how can she possibly think that is a fair price?!” but i’m here to break it down to show just what my hourly wage turns into when i take a look at taxes, business expenses + behind the scenes time.
$450 - 1 hour session breakdown:
- $150 goes to business expenses(insurance, travel/gas, utilities, gear, permits)
- $150 goes to taxes
that leaves us with $150 to divided between the hours worked per session(the times listed are the averages based on previous sessions)
- 1 hour spent communicating with client, + location authorities
- 1 hour spent shooting
- 5 hours spent uploading, culling, color correcting, retouching, + delivering gallery
- 1 hour spent traveling to/from location
this means that the “1 hour session” you booked is actually an average of 8 hours of work for me. that’s one full day of work.
that means that we are left with $150/8 hours, or $18.75/hr. now, yes, that is more than you would make working a entry level job in a typical food or retail job, but ultimately it is a specialized service that i am providing to each + every one of my clients. i deliver images i am proud of, images that speak to me, + tell your story. to me that is worth every single penny. it is worth spending time away from home, it is worth investing in caring about the people who hire me, + it is worth valuing myself.