Photographers actually have a lot of expenses to pay. It seems like we earn a whole load per hour for a photo session, and you may feel like it's just out of this world to pay your photographer even $20 for an hour.
But, we have expenses such as:
-Insurance, because having being the owner of such expensive equipment and not having any insurance is like putting your own head in the lake trying to drown yourself.
-Lighting equipment, we constantly buy new lighting equipment so that we can take them to the photo sessions to assist in creating lovely photos for different occasions.
-Equipment depreciation, it is insane how we buy camera bodies and then vrrrrrooommmm after every photo session our shutter count just drops that much more. Once a camera reaches a high shutter count, it gets old, when it gets old it gets slow and gradually it just like dies randomly. So we go buy new cameras, and at a $20-$60 per hour rate I will not even be able to afford to go take my mum out for a dinner at Lone Star. Let alone, buy a new hard-drive or...
-Buy, buy, buy
Let alone, buy a new hard-drive to store all of my clients photos as a backup storage space (we have anxiety that someday our computer might someday crash in flames). Or an SD card, yup these babies are pretty expensive and photographers like to buy a lot of them in different amounts of GB's too, so we don't rely on ONE BIG SD card (anxiety kicks in again hahaha) Then we buy a lot of batteries and charge them all up before we head out the door, because our anxiety tells us that the battery power is just going to burn out in a couple of minutes time (It really doesn't, don't freak out :P It is just always good to have backups! Chur! )
-Upgrading and Props
People always say have high goals. I am not born with a golden key in my mouth (in a rich family) or have wealthy parents that would just give me a black unlimited amount credit card so I can go buy myself superhero level kind of equipment or props or lenses etc. I am constantly trying to earn more money through various channels and jobs so I can one day, be able to buy a certain lens, or camera body. So I have an excellent foundation to take even more beautiful photos for you ( this is not the most important factor though, composition, editing, eye for detail, emotion capture, lighting, posing guidance etc is also very important too) For studio photography I would have to go buy backdrops and props that suit the theme of the photo session, for newborn photography I would need to go buy baskets and blankets and wraps and... sorry my mind blanked out for a bit there, and also decorations and backdrops. Oh and website and domain fees too whoops nearly forgot about that.
Culling time is when photographers examine all the photos taken and pick out ("cull" out) the best shots where all elements look spot on and put them on their editing list. My editing time is longer than your normal photographer, it will take a few days or one to two weeks because I edit in Light-room first then I flop over to Photoshop then do detailed bit by bit editing here and there. Then I fly over back to Light-room and do some more adjustments for the photo overall. Then I save the photo and put it into the allocated folder where I gather them all up to form a lovely digital photo album. The other two "times" are just time consuming. When I package my parcels I put my heart and soul into them, I love sending out parcels, it is a really enjoyable part of this job, I spend time making sure they are wrapped nicely and has everything in it. Then I go drive to the post-shop to deliver out the parcel on my own expense :) I like to take all the stress and hassle out for my clients so that the entire photo session process runs nice and smoothly.
-Food, Groceries, Tax, Rent and Electricity, Parking.
These are just the basics that any average person would need to pay right? I'm sure all of you know how high living costs are, hopefully.
-Actual shooting time. So the minimum wage has risen to $16.50 as of 1st April 2018, but even without the pay rise, being paid $20-$60 per hour for doing a photo shoot is like crazy. If it was still $15.75 minimum wage it wouldn't make much difference because as I listed in the various headings above, we have like... a lot to pay for.
I am quite affordable to be honest, my prices are fairly reasonable, I am not trying to take your arm or your leg off of you. I genuinely just want to earn some money and not go into a loss business model. I generally just want to pay for living costs such as the Barilla Dumplings at the Uni Quad or new Profoto lights.