The True Cost (And Work) Behind Those

Swoon-Worthy Instagram Photos


In a world where technology is developing at a whirlwind rate, the business of photography is rapidly transforming along with it. The game has changed. The days of snapping a few images and providing a few prints are LONG gone.

However, as the demand for social-media-photos-to-be-envied skyrockets, it’s no wonder some perceive the price point of photography packages to have done the same. When examined, the expansion of photography services and client requests, and the resources required to meet these demands, would suggest that photographers’ pricing is not as inflated as some would believe.

As in all industries, the golden rule of pricing holds true in photography as well— you get what you pay for. So, if a couple is chasing wedding images that will live for eternity on Instagram while showcasing the pure love and magnificence that was their wedding, they should consider carefully the following reasons why the cost of a photographer’s services might- or might not be- higher than anticipated:


The quality of your photographer, and their work, is probably the most important aspect to consider when breaking down price points. Can you even put a price on amazing experience and an impressive portfolio? Photographers are artists capable of capturing a lifetime of memories in maybe only an hour or two. Great photographers know the correct angles, lighting, and poses to optimize the quality of the product. Clients can’t account for knowledge their photographer has only gained by years of experience. Although not as important as the experience of your photographer, let’s not forget the price tag of the high-end equipment needed to produce this quality work.


Photographers run a business. Although it may seem that these professionals show up the day of your event, capture the excitement for a few hours, and venture home to prepare your images, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Beyond merely shooting, photographers additionally have administrative work, their own marketing responsibilities, consultation requests, continuing education and implementation, tech support obligations, and perhaps even photography studio space to maintain. Additionally, if a photographer has any employees, they also need to cover those costs.


Photographers spend a vast amount of time on the post-production elements of images. Quality photographers will consult with clients about the best images to use and edit appropriately. They use expensive software to achieve the best results for their clients. Delivering digital files has costs associated with it, and many photographers still offer photo albums highlighting the special occasion, adding additional costs of production, packaging and shipping.


No one can argue the time needed to truly capture the essence of a special occasion is abundant. A quality photographer must account for pre-production, meeting with clients prior to events, permits, travelling, setting up equipment, the actual shoot time, and the post-production work. Needless to say, it is not uncommon for events to run longer than expected and photographers have to account for this as well.


Photographers no longer produce a limited number of prints for their clients and call it a day. Today, while many clients still desire prints, digital images are what truly matter. Yet, these digital images can be used forever, to be seen by an infinite number of people on the internet or social media. The reach of photographic images in today’s world is beyond what we could’ve imagined. Due to this, photographers must charge a premium for the mere reach and use that these digital images they have captured and we now have.


Obviously, this list only conveys the most relevant costs that photographers incur. Many will offer packages which include multiple shoots, products and require twice or even three times the post-production work. Many individuals request more than one photographer at an event that not only doubles the cost of wages but doubles the images to be reviewed and edited. As these examples showcase, it’s relatively easy for photography costs to rapidly rise.

The best way to find a great photographer at a price point within your budget is an honest conversation about experience, services, and post-production expectations. Allow this list of contributing factors of cost to guide your decision when choosing the perfect photographer, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving those swoon-worthy-social images.

Copy by: Alison Guthrie of AG Influence