Lets talk about something taboo– professional photography pricing. I am a bit of an oddball in my industry because I am VERY public about my pricing. My pricing is on the main page of my website and I also have a page dedicated completely to pricing- https://www.longsphotography.com/tallahassee-professional-photo-pricing/
Even though I am very public about my pricing I probably get at least an inquiry a day about prices. There is often a lot of confusion, so I thought I would make this post to help clear things up.
Photography pricing is just like any other industry. If you are shopping for a car, there are used cars at a very low price, lower priced cars like Kia, mid-range cars like Honda and Nissan, higher end cars like Mercedes and BMW and then super luxury cars like Ferrari and Lambo. All of them are cars, but the amenities, the quality and the luxury all increase with the price tag.
There are beginner photographers who charge very little. They are still learning and have yet to invest lots of money and time into their gear, their education and their offerings. There are others who have established themselves and can produce quality images reliably and their price reflects that mid-range status. Then there are photographers such as myself- I am entering the 20th year in business and I have invested tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, plus probably a hundred thousand dollars in my artistic education. I have tons of awards and accolades for the quality of my photographs. I am definitely not in the Ferrari level of pricing, but I am more than most in Tallahassee. I am very honest that if you are selecting your photographer based solely on price, I will never win.
Where I do win is the quality of my work. I have had plenty of clients over the years try to go with a less expensive photographer only to be disappointed with the quality of the images. Its a painful lesson, but many have expressed how much that cheaper session actually “cost” them. The prices of the outfits, the stress of getting everyone together, then doing the session only to then be dissatisfied with the end result.
I am fully aware and compassionate that my pricing exceeds a lot of people’s budgets. I really wish I could offer my work to everyone at no cost, but I have a family to take care of and a studio to support. Yes, I understand my pricing has increased over the years, but how many of us are making the same salary we made twenty years ago?
When shopping for a photographer, I strongly encourage you to spend a lot of time in their portfolio to make sure that the vast majority of the work meets the standards you are looking for. Then, compare their pricing, ask questions and make sure you fully understand the financial commitment before you book your session. Never assume that a price includes anything unless it is specifically listed. Never assume that all photographers are priced the same, just as you would never expect to buy a Ferrari at a Kia price.
Above all else, please understand that photographers are artists and we are people. If a photographers pricing is not to your liking, please be respectful and move on. There is certainly a “right” photographer for everyone. There is that person whose art fits your style, their pricing is in your budget and their personality clicks with yours. I hope if you are in Tallahassee, I am that fit for you, but if not, I absolutely wish you the best in finding the person that is!