Understanding a Photographers Pricing

Understanding Pricing for Photographers


If you have been looking for a photographer, understanding the huge variance you see in pricing may have you feeling confused and potentially overwhelmed. The pricing for photographers just in your area can vary greatly from genre-to-genre and from one photographer to another and the Dallas Photographer Market is no exception to that rule. I am writing this to answer some of those questions that you may have.


The old saying may come to your mind, “You get what you pay for” when looking for a photographer. You may also be inclined to make the assumption that, if someone is more expensive, then they must be better. While both of these thought processes are natural and understandable, and in most cases true, that is not always the case. There are many things that factor into what is called, the cost of doing business. 


The cost of doing business is exactly what it sounds like, the sum of all expenses incurred in order to operate your business annually. Miscalculations or poor business practices will mean that most of the photographers near you that you are considering today, may not be around tomorrow. As Dane Sanders lays it out in his book, Fast Track Photographer: Roughly 85% of all photographers fail. 60% fail in just their first year and another 25% before the end of their second year. The thing that is interesting is that it’s not always that they are bad photographers. Sometimes they just aren’t that great at running a business. 


Quality photography equipment is notoriously expensive and can cost a substantial amount of money just for the bare basics of getting started, or roughly $10,000 to $15,000. And that is just for the basics. Let’s say for example, one good camera body for $2500. A set of good lenses, to cover most applications you will need averaging about $1500 a piece with a minimum of about 3 to get started. Lights that average about $300 a piece on the low-end (minimum of 4 to cover most applications.) You will need a quality computer that can handle the high demands of editing at roughly $1500 and up. Honestly though, we are just getting started. The list is long and full of so many more things just in terms of equipment. Never mind considering things like studio time or maybe a studio lease, if they own their own studio like we do at DFW Pro Photo. The cost of accountants, employees, and day-to-day expenses of operating a business. The list goes on-and-on.


Now, you may be thinking, “Why should I care, if I can get a good deal?” Well, probably because it will be a good indicator of what to expect in terms of service, quality and professionalism because, most of the time, you really do “Get what you pay for.” 


Here are some good questions to ask:

1.     How long have they been in business? Are they established and for how long? 

2.     Do they have a studio? 

3.     Do they have a website with a portfolio of work that matches what you are looking for? 

4.     Are they a true professional instead of a hobbyist making money on the side?

5.     When they answer the phone, do they say, “Thank you for calling (business name)?”

6.     Do they answer your questions confidently?

7.     Do they seem confident about their pricing and packages when you ask them?


All of those questions will serve you well in making a decision and getting an idea of what to expect. The more “yeses’” you had to the above the questions, the higher your expectations should be. That being said, always check out their reviews. You would be crazy not to. I personally rarely buy anything these days without checking out reviews for products and services alike. 


Some other things you can factor in:

1.     The Dallas Photographer Market is roughly 9% below the national average in terms of pricing across all genres. 

2.     Photographers charge between $25 and $500 per hour with most costing $94 to $262 per hour on average. Prices largely depend on their skill level and what type of event they are shooting. Extra costs include travel time, prints, digital image files, and photo editing fees.

Average Photography Prices for Dallas Photographers

Weddings

$200-$2,500

Portraits

$100 to $350

Head shots

$85 to $350

Real estate

$100-$375

Commercial

$125-$700

Engagement

$150-$350

Pets

$100-$300 

Sports

$120-$500 

Nature

$100-$400 

Boudoir

$125-$450 

Aerial

$125-$450  


Now, what I am about to say is probably the most important part of the whole process that you need to understand and be clear on when speaking with your potential photographer. Some in the business, lure you in with really inexpensive initial rates and then slam you with additional fees for each individual image or editing and it ends up costing you more than 3 times the amount you initially planned on spending. I personally hate this tactic and don’t believe in doing business this way and that is why, at my studio the pricing us upfront, very clear, and very transparent. We have packages for most things we do, and we are very clear about what you pay, what you get for that price, as well as, what is extra if you decide to include more, images, products, or services. 


To help, here are a list of questions (in order) that you need to ask: 

1.     How much does it cost?

2.     How much shooting time does that include?

3.     How many outfit changes does that include?

4.     How many different looks, or locations does that include?

5.     How many edited images are included in that price?

6.     How much will it cost for additional edited images?

7.     How much editing is included in that price? Just basic or advanced edits?

8.     What (if any) products are included in that price? (prints, albums, etc.…)

9.     How are the images delivered and what size are they (if digital)?

10.  Is there a deposit? Is the deposit refundable?

11.  Is there anything else I should know in terms of your pricing and what is included or NOT included?


The DFW Metroplex and Dallas area have many great and established professional photographers. The professional photographer that is right for you will depend upon your budget and your needs and only you can make that decision on who is right for you. If you like their work, their professionalism when you communicate, and the price is right, then you probably have a winner. I would also throw in there, to always listen to your gut too.


Hopefully some of this information will help to make the process a little easier to both do and understand. The main thing is to ask questions if you don’t, until you do. And then to clarify it for good measure. If you need any help with anything or have questions, I would be happy to help. Just shoot me a text or give me a call at 972-878-9669.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rick Porier is a Dallas Photographer and the Owner and Lead Photographer of Rick Porier Photography, corp and DFW Pro Photo Studios located in the Las Colinas area of Irving, TX next to the Mandalay Canal. He learned photography at a very early age from his father, who was also a working professional photographer in the Dallas area. He furthered his skills at the Art Institute of Dallas and continues to learn and evolve every day, following his passion for photography and the art of advanced editing.