My son is in preschool, has been for almost three years now. The first time we got an order form for school photos, the usual questions went through my head: "How can they charge this much for one photo? Why can't they just give us the digitals? Who can afford this? Who do they think they are charging so much money?"
Ever since I can remember, I've always heard complaining about the prices for school photos. Add to that the cost of a professional studio or wedding photography, and most people seem baffled by the cost of photography.
For the first two years of my business, I kept those complaints and frustrations in the back of my head. I decided to price myself so that people could afford me. I didn't want to be lumped in with those "expensive photographers."
Then I learned about business. And I did a little math. (Why did I have to do the math? Numbers have this way of ruining the best intentions.) Turns out, I was making about as much money as I could working at Starbucks. And if I worked at Starbucks, I wouldn't have to worry about web design, marketing, client communication, social media, and the million other things that go into running a business.
I also learned why school photos cost what they do, why an 8x10 might cost $50, why savvy photographers charge what they do. So I made a change to my business, a change for the better, both for me and my clients.
You see, there's this familiarity with photos that causes a disconnect. Everyone takes photos. Everyone prints photos. Everyone knows that taking photos doesn't cost anything--we have unlimited, cheap memory for all of our digital photos. Everyone also knows that you can print a 4x6 for $0.40 or an 8x10 for $4.99. So what makes the professional photographer so different? Why the discrepancy between personal experience with photography and a professional's services?
To learn about the difference, read my Photography Pricing FAQ published on the Photographers' Cooperative. Come behind the curtain and gain an understanding of the way I changed my business and why an 8x10 costs $50 instead of $4.99.