Why Do Photographers Cost So Much Money?

Why Do Photographers Cost So Much Money?

Money. No one likes to talk about it. It’s an awkward subject that people shy away from as much as possible (particularly if you’re British!). But sadly, no matter who you are, it’s something that you’ve got to learn to deal with, and talk about.

I see it come up time and time again: “Why do photographers cost so much money?!” “Oh god, you’re too expensive, I really can’t afford that.” “I know a photographer who will do that for me for free.” This doesn’t stop at photographers, it’s basically all freelancers… Everywhere you go there will be people who say that you’re charging too much. It’s life!

However, I thought that rather than sit here, in my high chair, and assume that everyone knows why photographers cost as much as they do, I thought it was about time that I actually wrote about it. We shouldn’t ever assume that everyone understands how much work goes on behind the scenes, or how many business costs a photographer will have. So let’s break it down!

  1. Consultation: Once you do decide to book a photographer, more often than not, the price you’re paying includes a consultation fee. Whether it’s for your wedding day, your lookbook or your next ad campaign, generally we want to meet you in person (or via Skype if you’re far away!) to discuss what you’re after. It’s also a great time to get to know one another, and get a better feel for each other. Of course, this hour (or however long you’re with us) does count as time that your photographer is working for/with you, so the time for a consultation is included in the price of your photoshoot.
  2.  Location Scouting: Whether you’re shooting on location or in a studio, there will be time needed to prepare for the photoshoot day. If the shoot is happening on location somewhere, it might be a case of checking out the venue, or exploring a nearby forest. If it’s in studio, it will be a case of finding a studio, getting a tour of it so that the photographer knows exactly where everything is. This just means that, come shoot day, your photographer is already aware of their surroundings, and can proceed with the image making faster!
  3. Shooting time: This will seem obvious, but obviously photographers will charge for the time they actually spend on the shoot with you! Need I say more?
  4. Editing: I think people vastly underestimate how long editing images actually takes. We don’t just sit at our desks and tweak colours. Editing involved culling images, editing skin (if there is skin involved), colour correcting, exporting various files at various sizes and resolutions, and ensuring that everything is backed up at least 3 times to ensure that your images are safe forever and ever. This is a lengthy process. Personally, I will dedicate on average at least 24 to your images! So, obviously, all of this time get’s added to the fee. The longer the shoot, the longer the time spent editing, the higher the price.
  5. Experience: Now, this isn’t a business cost as such, and it’s a lot more subjective… but it’s something that I think will make sense. Most photographers will price themselves based on their experience. A photographer who has been shooting for 10 years, has loads of kit, knows how to light a portrait perfectly, and has done a three year long degree in photography is going to charge more than someone who has just bought a second hand camera on eBay to play with on the weekends. There’s nothing wrong with photographers charging less, not at all. All I’m trying to say is that the photographer who charges more money will (in theory, and there are exceptions to this rule) deliver better images. You get what you pay for. Does that make sense?
  6. Sending Files, Emails, Follow Ups: A lot of people imagine that being a photographer means we spend our days taking pretty photographs. Sadly, that’s only about 20% of what we actually do. I spend an awful lot of time sending emails, following up on other emails, and sending out files (to name a few tasks). All these things take me time, and that’s time that I’m working!
  7. Equipment costs: Camera equipment is expensive stuff. If you’ve ever looked into the price of a full frame DSLR, you’ll know what I mean. But that’s only the beginning. We’ve got lenses to buy, SD cards, laptops, editing software, websites, file sharing software, harddrives… the list of equipment that we need to run our businesses successfully is endless! Those pieces of equipment need to be bought.
  8. Licence Fees: Licence fees are something which a lot of people, even photographers, don’t understand. I think this will need a whole post of it’s own, as they’re quite difficult to sum up in a few lines, but essentially, a photographer ALWAYS retains the copyright of their images. Unless they sign a contract to state otherwise, copyright always remains with us. What a licence fee is, is the price that a photographer places on commercial imagery so that their client can obtain the rights to use their images for their websites, for brochures, billboards, etc. This is often added on top of the photographers day fee, and will vary in price depending on the client, and where the images are going to be used.
  9. Education costs: Just as an office job will send their employees out on training courses a couple of times a year, photographers like to continue to educate themselves as well. Why? So that we can remain on top of our game, continue to improve the images we can provide clients, and stay up to date with the latest technology!
  10. Accountants: Not every photographer will have an accountant, but I do! Why? Because there is nothing that I find more stressful than numbers!

So there you go. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten something, because the reality is that there are a lot of things that go into running a successful photography business, but I really hope that this is helpful and insightful to some of you. This is by no means pointing the finger at anyone to say “You Need To Pay Us!!!!” I simply wanted to highlight what I don’t think many people see, and mention what a lot of photographers seem not to want to discuss. So next time you’re thinking of booking a photographer, and you see a price which you think is expensive, think back to this, and try to break down that money into all of these categories. You might quickly realise that it doesn’t seem quite as extortionate as you once thought.

A Post Which Is Just About Pretty Pictures


I’m going to be honest, I don’t really know what to write about for this post. Last week I took a few rolls of film in to be developed, and the images that came back are lovely, but so mismatched and random that I haven’t really got a clue how to share them. So rather than try to come up with a really meaningful, deep, inspiring post for you… I’m letting the images do the talking for once!



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What Is The Difference Between an Editorial Photoshoot and Commercial Photoshoot?

What Is The Difference Between an Editorial Photoshoot and Commercial Photoshoot?

As a photographer, I’m always being asked questions about my job and how things work. One of the questions that keeps popping up is: what the difference between an editorial shoot and a commercial shoot? So rather than assume that everyone knows what those things mean, I thought it would be worth taking a few minutes to properly explain what they are!

Editorial Shoots:

They Tell A Story: Editorial’s are the kinds of images that you see in the pages of Vogue, for example (or Atlas!). They’re stories that a creative team have come up with, and executed.

For Magazines: These types of images tend to be created with the intention of getting them published in a magazine or on a blog. Sometimes a magazine commissions a photographer directly to create the images, other times photographers and a creative team create the images first, and then submit them to publications.

What Is The Difference Between an Editorial Photoshoot and Commercial Photoshoot?
Editorial published on Atlas Magazine

Freedom for The Team: Editorials don’t have a lot of rules on them. It’s a chance for photographers, make up artists, hair stylists and clothing stylists to let loose, have some fun and get really creative. These images are often the ones you’ll see which are the most daring or different.

There Is No Money: Editorial shoots are always what creatives tend to love to shoot, because they’ve got so much creative freedom over them, but most of the time there is very little budget in editorial shoots. Magazines have little to no budget to offer photographers for their shoots, and as I said above, a lot of them are created by a photographer and then sent to magazines. Why do we produce them if we’re not being paid? Because we love them, because they add to our portfolio’s, because they’re a chance for everyone to try something new, and further their techniques!


Commercial Shoots:

What Is The Difference Between an Editorial Photoshoot and Commercial Photoshoot?
Commercial Shoot for Amanda K Bridal

For A Brand: Commercial shoots are organised by a brand who are in need of new imagery to market their service/product. These images are most often used as advertising, or for their social media, for example.

There Is Money Involved: For a commercial shoot, there is always a budget. This means that the brand has set aside money to pay for the images, and the team involved in their photoshoot. Sometimes the budget is small, other times it’s big! It completely depends on the brand in question.

Images With A Purpose: These images aren’t created just “because.” They’re created in order to help the brand sell their product or service. That does tend to mean that there is less creative freedom involved, as the brand will have a clear message that they want to convey, and a look their achieving. Most of the time, a brand will approach a photographer and team based on the images in their portfolio because they think that they are a good fit. They often ask photographers to shoot in the way that they would shoot their personal work, but with the brand in mind. So that just goes to show why personal editorial work is so important for photographers to create!

Tell The Story Of The Brand: While editorial photography tends to tell a story as a whole, commercial photography tells the story of the brand.

Organised By The Brand: Editorial’s tend to be organised by a photographer who is looking to achieve a certain look. Other times, a make up artist or hair dresser may have an idea in mind in which they collaborate with other creatives. In the case of commercial photography, it is almost always the brand who organise and choose who they want to use for their shoot. They may approach a photographer first who has suggestions on a creative team, but ultimately they are at liberty to choose their team, and organise their day around that.

What Is The Difference Between an Editorial Photoshoot and Commercial Photoshoot?
Commercial Shoot for Jewel Box Cornwall

So there you go! A quick summery of what the differences are between editorial photography and commercial photography. I really hope that’s been helpful for those of you who may have wanted some clarity. Let me know in the comments below if you have more questions, and I’ll get back to you.

St Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club Rebranding

St Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club Rebranding

Those of you who have been reading my blog since I launched it last summer will know that I really enjoy health and fitness. What started as a desperate search into how to alleviate my chronic IBS turned into a passion, lifestyle change, and a love of working out (particularly boxing – weird!). I’ve been a member of various different gyms throughout the past couple of years, but when I joined St Michaels Hotel and Spa after I finished university two years ago, I found a real sense of community. For the first time in my life, I attended regular fitness classes, and the gym felt like my second home.

Two and a half years later, and I’m still in the gym at least 4 times a week. When Matt Read, from St Michaels’ marketing department got in touch with me to see if I’d be interested in photographing their new Health Club marketing material, I was so excited! Could there be a more perfect project? I’d get to work in a place I know like the back of my hand, with my friends, shooting something I’m passionate about: health and fitness.

These images were shot in June and August, and they’re starting to be rolled out through the health club’s marketing channels now, so you’ll probably begin to notice them if you’re a Falmouth local. I wanted to share them here too, simply because I am so proud of them, and working with St Michaels has been so much fun! I hope you like them as much as I do.

St Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club Rebranding

St Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club Rebranding


St Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club RebrandingSt Michaels Hotel and Spa Health Club Rebranding

Why I’ll Never Make Money From My Blog

Why I'll Never Make Money From My Blog | oliviablogs.com
Photo by Ben Mostyn

Blogging is such a huge deal now. When I first started reading blogs (almost 10 years ago) they were still quite a new thing. In fact, they were very uncool. I’ve had countless blogs throughout my life, and I started a fashion focused one when I was still at school. I kept it extremely secret for months, taking photos of my outfits and sharing them in my little world. I had so much doing it, and I grew a mini following.

It wasn’t until a few people discovered my secret blog that I began to not want to do it anymore. I was embarrassed, because blogging meant that you were self absorbed and vain. How I WISH I’d ignore that voice in my head and carried on, because I wish I could look back and see how far I’ve come.

Blogs now a days are completely different. Everyone wants to be “a blogger.” Everyone wants to write a blog for a living, receive free clothes and get paid to travel the world. Sure, that would be awesome… but do you know how much work that takes? I have friends who are extremely successful bloggers. They’ve made their entire careers out of the little place on the web that they created for themselves, and they’re doing amazingly! I’m incredibly proud of them.

When I started my blog just over a year ago, I did it because I felt like I needed a place to express myself. For so long I’d focused on nothing but Atlas, and I was beginning to feel like I was losing my own voice. I think that when I first began to “blog” a lot of people assumed that I was doing it for aspirational reasons. I’ll be completely honest, part of me thought that I was too. For quite a long time, I thought to myself that my blog might just be a way that I could make a living. If I worked hard, why couldn’t I also be as successful as my other friends have been?

After a year of writing, I’ve completely changed my mind. I love my blog, I love sharing my life online (as weird as that is) and I love that I’ve been able to express myself again. Is that desire to make money from it still there? Not one bit. In fact, I’ve sort of firmly decided against it. Sure, I could plough all my energy into writing posts that will rank first on Google (and there’s nothing wrong with doing that if you do), but I really don’t want to. I want to keep this my personal little diary. The place where I can write when I want to, share what I’m up to, and keep expressing myself. Do I want to rely on this blog financially? Absolutely not.

Now, that doesn’t mean that my blog doesn’t help my business. Quite the opposite actually! As you know, I’m a photographer. And an editor. And now I teach as well (that kind of stumbled on me recently, but I’m always open to new things and I’m loving it!). Being a photographer means that I need to attract clients to me. So how does my blog help me do that? Well, my blog is my way of sharing my work with the world, telling people who I am, and in turn, attracting potential clients to me. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve been on a photo job and a client has said that they feel like they knew me before they’d met me because of my blog. My blog has proven to be a incredible tool for attract photo clients, and I’m being completely honest when I say that that was NOT planned. So although I don’t make any money from the blog itself, my blog has lead to me booking photography jobs.

This blog is personal. It’s the real me. And it’s definitely not going anywhere!