My Lens Affair
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The true cost of a photograph

27 JUN 2015 by Shen

The true cost of a photograph The true cost of a photograph

I have been asked many times about how I price my photographs and in order to make things a little more clear I decided today to add this article into my blog.


Let’s take an example of a 1 hour personal shoot which is priced at £80 and includes a choice of 10 edited high resolution pictures. Once I pay my taxes I am left with £64. My standard rate for a photo is £3. This means £3 x 10 = £30 goes right there leaving me with just £34. Not to forget that my immediate cost would be the £17 I pay for my travel that day.


Another way of looking at this would be the time. To do a 1 hour shoot, I need to travel from home to get there, and this typically takes 1-1.5 hours each way in this busy city of London. So this essentially means I spend about 3 hours of my time to do a 1 hour shoot.


After the shoot, I spend time selecting the good photos and then editing them at home in my studio using software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom – each of these costs over £1000. The editing process takes 1 - 2 hours depending on the shoot and the number of photos. Then there is the time it takes for me to arrange the shoot, create the photo album online, write the email, send the photos, process payment etc. There are times I need to go to the post office, buy stamps and DVD cases in order to physically post the disk out. This editing time added to the travel and shoot works out to about 5 hours.  So this means I make about £64 / 5 hours = £12.8 an hour.


The cost of my kit which includes a 5DMKIII and L series lens works out to about £3500. My Intel Core i7 computers costs about £2000. My website annual hosting, advertising costs, Google charges, accountant’s fees, insurance and other miscellaneous bills and costs can be rounded off to about £3000 a year. Now these are some big numbers!




Considering that I am still one the most competitively priced photographers in the city charging only about £80 an hour (for most personal shoots) I think it is very fair to charge £3 for extra photos. Time still had to be spent to actually take and edit those photos, and therefore is chargeable.


Last but not the least would be my skill level. I have spent years going through college and gaining a masters in Photography, backed by many years of hands on experience working for many big brand names.


So the next time you ask me to give you some free photos or ask me to stay a little longer after the shoot without paying, or even offer the photos at a ridiculous price, please spare a moment to crunch these numbers. You will see how it all adds up.


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