Would you work for $0.00 per hour?

Hello, hello!

So this year I am going to try to Blog more.

I never really enjoyed Blogging or really knew what to put down so this will be a big challenge for me lol.

Starting 2018 and the first thing I usually do is review my products and prices… This is a very daunting prospect! It is really very hard as a photographer to price your service. I see it all the time “what do I charge”. There are two problems, not charging enough to make a profit (or cover expenses) and charging what you need to but having everyone go “oh my god how can you charge that’.

I have done a lot of research on pricing as a photographer… Basically there is no exact figure for any of us photographers to follow. How can there be? We all have different expenses, different products, different levels of skill etc.. it would be almost impossible to all charge the same and all benefit from it.

The basic rule of thumb when pricing as a photographer that I follow:

1- Work out how many weeks in the year you can work

2- Work out how many days you can work in a week

3- Work out how many sessions you can do in that week

4- Total personal expenses per month eg; home loan, rent, food, petrol, school fees, savings etc

5- Total business expenses per month eg; Rent, training, insurances, product etc

6- Work out a wage per year you would like to be paid eg; $80,000

Then you Add Personal expenses with Business expenses eg: $2000 + $3000 = $5000

Then times the Expenses by 12  and add your wage = $60,000 + $80,000 = $140,000

Then divide that amount by the amount of weeks you can work: $140,000/42 = $3333 per week.

Then divide that amount by how many sessions you can do per week: $3333/6 = $555.50

So $555.50 is the minimum amount that can be charged per session for the above figures for a photographer to make a wage and cover all expenses… Basically live and support a family.

Don’t forget the whole $555.50 does not go to the photographer… they would be making about $1538.00 before payg tax. Take off about $450 for payg tax then they would make $1088 per week.


So you can see how hard it is to price and justify what you charge. I have looked around at all our local photographers in Kilmore and surrounding areas, as I am always interested to see what others charge compared to me. The sad thing is there are only a couple who charge an amount that could truly sustain them and their business. I presume they have other means of income or I don’t know how they do it. A persons time is very important, time can take you away from your family or give more of you to them. If you are working long hours and only being paid a small amount for your efforts and giving everything away as well you not only loose out on being able to support your family but you and your family loose out on living and quality time together.

I see some charge a small amount of anywhere between $150 and $250 with something like 30 images on usb (or all) plus prints plus plus plus for an hour and a half session… how do they survive? lets break it down:

$250 total price

1.5 hours for a session

30 images edited 10 mins per image = 5 hours of work

USB $15.00 (for a personalised USB delivered minimum order)

Packaging $30.00

thats 6.5 hours of work

$250 – USB $15 – Packaging $30 = $205

$205/6.5 hours = $31.53/hour.

WOW $31.53 sounds great surely thats enough right? Well hang on because we did not add in any business costs or personal costs… what about advertising time? I’m pretty sure before you know it the $31.53 would be eaten up by expenses leaving a wage of $0.00 for the photographer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people need to pay more than they can afford but people do need to understand that a total package cost is not just an image on usb and i’m pretty sure all the photographers in our area charging a decent amount who are running an actual business not just a hobby have not just pulled a figure out of their heads and decided to run with it.

Mind you if you are paying $600+ for your session you should expect to have a high level of service and a quality product as well.

Your photographer should be qualified or at least have decent experience, have up to date insurances and follow only safe working practices. You should be treated like a VIP and feel like you are truly satisfied with what you have experienced and received for what you have paid.

Also if you want to make sure you get what you pay for check out your photographers website. If you want a good service for say Newborn photography are you going to get it with a photographer says they specialise in: Maternity, Newborn, Child, Family and wedding photography? Its a bit like a doctor saying they specialise in heart surgery, brain surgery, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colonoscopes… How can anyone specialise in all of that! Look for photographers that say they specialise in one area, They can photograph multiple areas but specialise in one. That is their craft and expertise. That is how you know you can get what you pay for. You will see on my website I specialise in Newborn photography, but I also photograph Maternity, Baby and family. I spend a lot of time training, researching and honing in on my skill with newborns, I love photographing them and having had 3 of my own am very comfortable handling them. I also delve into anatomy and growth so I have an understanding of how newborns flex, grow and develop which can influence how I photograph them and what I can do with them safely.

All food for thought.

Anyway enough rambling on.

There it is next time you look for a photographer don’t just dismiss them because they may charge more, be rest assured you are getting the service and expertise you deserve. And check up on websites and ask questions about insurances and accreditations. After all you are trusting lifelong memories with us that not only you and the next generation will look down on but many more.


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