• Tina Dwyer

Why I charge what I charge…




I had a few very unfriendly conversations with people lately, who wanted to hire me for their headshots or other portraits.


“You charge what?” “Why would anybody pay that just for a photo?” “You are joking right?” and some more colorful reactions.


It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend and fellow photographer a while back…He said: ”people walk into a Starbucks and pay without questioning “why” the Skinny Vanilla Latte Venti is $4.65…or drive up to a gas station trying to hackle the price of gas down…!

How often do you walk into Walgreens, Walmart or Target and argue with them why their product is a certain price? You either buy it or you don’t…no big deal, right?


So why is photography such a field of constantly having to justify my pricing?


I know for a fact that I am not the most expensive photographer in town and

try not to get caught up in arguments over money, because by now I have learned that not every client will be my client…but maybe it would help for people to understand what all goes into my pricing.


So, let’s break this down a bit…why do I charge what I charge…


The camera I use is a Canon 5D Mark IV $2.699


My 3 most used lenses are

Canon EF 70-200mm $1.890

Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art $ 834

Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art $1.019


other studio equipment

backdrops, stands, lights, modifiers ~$1.600


$5.423


So, my “base in” to do business is already close to $5500


Now let’s add on my monthly rent for the studio space of $750 a month x 12 here is $9.000 a year.


Add to this insurance, photo editing software subscriptions, continuing education, marketing, financial charges, and taxes…etc.


Furnishing my studio, let’s not even add that up.


And how about my time…time on the phone or computer answering emails, setting up appointments, keeping up with all that fun paperwork…time to meet with clients for consultations…time to plan a session…time at the session, time to weed through photos

to pick the best for my clients and finally time for postproduction.


At this point, 3 sessions barely will cover my running monthly costs.


I love what I do, but I will not give my services away and I will not be berated for having said prices.



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