March 21, 2021

Why Does Photography Cost So Much?

Groomsmen Portrait at CrossPoint Church in Norman Oklahoma by Photographer Elizabeth Kane

Today I want to tackle a question that photographers get asked a lot. Why does photography cost as much as it does? Now, let me preface this by saying I understand everyone has a budget and there is a photographer out there for every price point. This blog post is just to shed a better insight into what you are truly investing your hard earned dollars into.

I got into photography because I wanted to be able to offer a more affordable alternative to what I once thought was overpriced and out of reach. Then I got into the photography business and understood what it took to create beautiful photos and memories for others. But I digress. Let’s get back to the point. Why does it cost as much as it does? What are we paying for when we choose to hire a professional photographer?



A lot of people think photography is as simple as pushing a button. But professional photography takes much more then that. Photographers range from novice to highly experienced and they have been doing this for 10+ years. Photographers who are looking to build their portfolio will offer some great rates, if not free, shoots to the public to get the work they need into their portfolios. 

Those photographers with multiple years of experience have learned what works and what doesn’t trough years of trial and error, been educated (whether that means professional art schools, colleges, mentoring under other photographers) and spending hours on their craft to create a great client experience for you. 

They have also been educated in safety (Especially a newborn photographer) and have learned to handle different situations if something changes at a moments notice. Wedding photographers for instance deal with a wide range of situations in a given day of shooting from rainy weather, drunken bridal parties, nutty families, zero natural light in a church or getting ready space. 

You want to be able to trust that your photos are going to be put in good hands so experience is highly important when it comes to hiring either wedding or newborn photographers. Even family photographers undergo a lot of training to perfect their craft from mentoring, posing classes to help families feel comfortable, and more.


The Gear & Other Expenses

Gear isn’t cheap! 😂📷 And it definitely isn’t a one time purchase. This is something that gets factored into a cost of doing business. Yes that’s right. We don’t just come up with a random number and it’s not solely what we think our work is worth. Our main gear is our cameras that you see with us. But like any business photography businesses come with expenses. From our cameras, lenses, flashes, and lighting to software expenses, accountants/bookkeepers, client management systems, taxes (OMG TAXES), etc. You get the picture I’m not gonna go on there because there is a lot of expenses involved. 


Depending on the session you only see us for a couple hours. Family sessions you are typically with your photographer for an hour and wedding photographers shoot for 6-10 hours depending on the wedding. But we do way more behind the scenes when you aren’t with us. The unseen work. Photography is said to be 10% shooting and 90% everything else and it is very true. 

Our time with you actually begins the moment we receive your inquiry. This is typically what it looks like when I book a wedding::

15 minute to 1 hour consultation

30 minutes writing up your proposal and sending it out

1 to 2 hours planning your engagement session

1 hour round trip minimum driving to the engagement session + 1.5 hour engagement session

30 minutes sorting/culling engagement photos

3-4 hours editing engagement photos

30 minutes to 1 hour uploading and sending engagement session

1 hour building wedding photography timeline

15-30 minutes for your final meeting to tie up any loose ends

1 hour round trip (not including out of town weddings) to your venue on wedding day

6-10 hours of shooting on the wedding day

2-3 hours sorting/culling the wedding day photos

8 hours editing wedding photos

1-3 hours blogging the wedding

4-6 hours uploading wedding day gallery and sending

1 hour album design meeting

2+ hours designing, approving proofs, and ordering your album

Countless hours of emails, phone calls, and texts in between everything else

This is just meant to give you an idea of what we do and what happens to create what is seen. 

So next time your are wondering why photography seems to cost a pretty penny and your saying to yourself oh they charge a lot. Realize that we do more than just the couple of hours that you see us.


Did this help give you some insight into why photography is an investment and why some charge more and others charge less? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Elizabeth Kane Photography Branding Photos by Summer Nicole Photography

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Thanks for stopping by!

I am a mom of 2, Military wife, photographer, and blogger. 

On an average day you will find me dealing with the mundane tasks of everyday life, chasing my kids, editing sessions, and planning the next best thing!

But I love the feeling of being behind the camera capturing love and telling stories

Currently my little family resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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