So when any of us are looking to buy a new item or get a new service one of the first considerations and questions we have is how much is this going to cost?
Totally understandable and photography is no different either.
However, much like going out to buy a loaf or bread, or a new saddle or even a new horse, the variation is massive…
In a previous blog of mine, How to choose your equine photographer I briefly mention some of the aspects that might have an impact on pricing in general, such as skill, experience and where in the country the photographer is based. In this blog I’ll hopefully answer things in a bit more depth for you.
In the above blog I mentioned that there are generally two ways that photographers offer their services and pricing.
This is probably the most traditional approach photographer’s take is;
Session Fee + Products: You are charged for just the session and the preparation/editing of your image to a gallery, either held online for viewing from the comfort of your own home, or via a visit back to the home studio of your photographer. Once you’ve seen your gallery you then get to choose the products you like. There is an ever-increasing range of products available to the photography market, but generally these might be framed prints, fine/wall art, albums, digital files or more. Some will create mini packages within this approach so you can work towards either a specific value or type of product.
With this structure you aren’t committed to buying any of the images or all of the images, just what you want. However it might mean you aren’t prepared for the potential cost this might lead to. If this is the way your chosen photographer works please do ask for a full price list in advance of a shoot so you can start to plan and budget.
Equine Photographers who advertise in this way can have Session Fees that start as little as £50 but easily rise to £500 and beyond. Products, from simple prints through to canvases and framed artwork can start from as little as £20 and rise to in excess of £1500.
The other option that’s becoming really popular is the;
Overall Package: This is where you are charged for an overall package that includes the session fee and a set amount of products. These could be physical products or digitals files, or even a combination of both.
With this approach you are totally aware upfront what your costs will be. With digital files its then down to you to have them printed as and when you like.
These packages tend to attract an average total spend of around £300-£500 but you’ll also find options out there for less than £100
Why such a variation in price?!
So this can come down to a number of factors, so lets go through some of these now.
Is Photography Their Full Time Job?
Equine photography is becoming a very popular option and there are lots of really well skilled photographers who are only able to pick up their camera at the weekend as they already have a full time job in another industry. As such they don’t rely on photography as their sole income and can afford to offer their services at a vastly reduced price. They quite possibly don’t need to cover their overheads fully from their photography, nor draw a salary either. It could be that they are hoping to make the switch and are building their photography business and, again, willing to do this at a reduced price.
Experience & Skill
So whether or not someone offers their services on a full time or part time basis might not reflect their actual experience, either in photography or specifically with equine photography. An experienced photographer knows their way around their equipment, that should go without saying. However they will also have great strengths with communicating with their clients, preparing them before the day and during their shoot. They’ll be able to pose you, relax you and work with the available light. Post shoot then their skill and expertise in the field of editing comes into play – often these are the most time consuming aspects to a shoot and a photographer will have spent hundreds of hours and days over their time perfecting their editing skills and style.
The cost of being in business can really vary, and not from a geographical aspect. The cost of running a dedicated studio or office as opposed to operating from your home will be vastly different. There are so many considerations, even from price differences with Electricity, phone, Internet providers, web hosts, marketing costs and choices of computer and software equipment. All of which can bring about great overhead differences.
Whilst on a basic level much equine photography work is done outside and without too much complicated equipment there is still a need for a substantial amount of equipment available to use. It’s not unknown for the average professional equine photographer to have in excess of £10,000-£15,000 of camera equipment. The average camera used, without a lens attached, is roughly £3,000 and will probably be changed every 2-4 years.
The maintenance of this equipment, together with ancillary equipment, such as memory cards, reflectors can run to hundreds of pounds each year. No professional photographer would let their equipment run unmaintained and risk a failure whilst on a shoot.
Away from the camera equipment is the editing equipment. Whether you are running PC or Apple and whether you are solely desktop, or laptop, or a combination these computers need quality screens (the bigger the better for seeing and handling detail) and they need to be capable of running some very juicy programs. These computers need calibrating regularly to ensure colours are correct.
After the shoot they have the choice of where to have your prints and canvases created. There is plenty of variety here too and again those Labs have their own pricing structures in place! A good photographer will only operate with professional printing labs where quality controls the decisions rather than quantity or speed.
Time & Service
I think it’s fair to say that many choices are made based on how busy a photographer looks and how vast their portfolio is. I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation when on holiday in another country we aren’t sure where to eat and we often choose the restaurant that looks the busiest because we feel that it must be good if so many people are seated at tables, right?
The reality is this isn’t always the case in life. Some photographers deliberately choose to only book a certain number of clients each month. For them its all about the overall service they can provide their clients and ensuring they are able to dedicate their time properly to each one. They may guide you through specific product choices to help you fill your walls with beautifully framed art.
You will also find plenty of photographers offering multiple shoots during any week and are flat out busy most of the month. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t capable of still delivering great service and beautiful art at all, but it does take a huge degree of skill to manage this.
Where do I go from here?
Hopefully by now you may have a good understanding as to why there are often such price differences with equine shoots.
The next phase is to find your actual photographer, so if you didn’t read the blog I mention at the start of this one, then do head over to How to choose your equine photographer. As ever my first point with this process is to find the style photography you like first, because booking a photographer based on anything else first could well result in disappointment….
I hope I’ve been able to guide you a little now?
Have a fabulous week!