as a creative it’s so easy to second guess yourself + your work; as Leah i struggle so much with it. one of the biggest ways that i second guess myself is when i’m told “you’re too expensive” or “i know someone else who will give me more for less money”, so i wanted to break down why i charge what i do.
a common misunderstanding of how pricing works for photography is that people will look at the full cost based on how much time i spend IN PERSON working with them(ie, session time). with that mentality i can completely understand how $250 for an hour session sounds like a lot, but what people aren’t seeing is the amount of time, research + energy i put into planning the session. i scout location, i correspond via email, i have to make provision for my family to be taken care of while i’m working with them before, during + after their session so i can guarantee that their experience as my clients is not only a good one, but one where they feel that they are important to me, + they have my attention.
so, what actually goes into a full Front Porch Photography Session?
it starts out with the initial consult, via email or in person, where we discuss pricing, + initial vision with our clients. this takes roughly 1-2 hours of time collectively over the course of anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. once we’ve established what type of session they’re looking for we move on to scheduling the date, time, + location for their session, as well as drawing up our contract. this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours of researching location, discussing options with the clients, + finally writing it in the planner. after we have our “basics” covered by communicating vision, scheduling the session + making sure the client has no other questions at the moment it is very common for the client to feel like nothing else takes place between then + our session together, however this is the time when i will do location scouting, procuring permits for specific locations, setting up a plan for my family while i’m away which can include meal planning, finding a babysitter + making sure that whoever is going to be with Blythe, whether it’s Andrew or someone else, has the details for her schedule + the means to take care of her while i’m gone. this portion of the planning + preparing takes 2-4 hours. when your session gets closer i will begin reestablishing communication if we haven’t spoken since we planned the session time, by making sure you don’t have questions + answering any questions you do happen to have, + confirming the date + time still works, this adds about 1 hour to my work.
actual session times vary, but going off of my 1 hour portrait session package i will spend an average of 2.5-3 hours with travel, set up, + shooting time for a 1 hour session.
once we have completed your session, i go home + upload your images to Lightroom to begin editing a few sneak peaks, this takes 1-2 hours. after sneak peaks have been sent i finish culling + editing your entire gallery, upload them to PASS for you to view, download + store your images, then send a personal email with your gallery link letting you know that your gallery is ready!! after you have received your gallery you have the option to request additional edits for up to 1 hour of work. this all adds a total of 3-5 hours.
so at the very LEAST i’m spending 10 hours on your one hour session. that breaks down to $25/hr without deducting business expenses, + money for taxes(the most time i will spend on a one hour session, which does rarely happen, would be 19 hours, which breaks down to $13.15/hr). the rule of thumb is that you take home 30% of your income as profit from a creative, self-owned business.
so with all of that taken into account, at the most i will bring home $7.50/hr, or $75, from your session. at the least i will bring home $3.94/hr.
now none of this is to make people feel bad! i do this because i love it, + that is a value i can’t translate into numbers. this is in no way just about money, + because i am not the primary income for our family i can afford to charge what i do, but my goal is to take Front Porch Photography to a place where it allows me + Andrew to be home with Blythe(+ any future babies), giving us the ability to be present with our family in the same way i had the privilege of having my parents because they are also business owners. it is not a crazy dream, it is a very possible one, but it takes hard work, + big prices to make it worthwhile sometimes.