When I first started looking around for senior photographers during my senior year of high school, I was disappointed to learn that most were out of my budget. Now as someone who manages a blog for college students and works as a senior photographer, I get this question a lot. I’d love to answer a few questions and clear them up for you! Below are a few reasons why your graduation photos might cost you more than expected:
Why Senior Pictures So Expensive: What You’re Actually Paying For
When it comes to senior photography, there are a handful of things you’re paying for: time, service, equipment quality, expertise, and years of experience. Here’s a breakdown of each:
Senior Pictures Require Time
Senior picture sessions can run anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours. Though I can guarantee that photographers spend time beyond your session to deliver great photos. What you might not see are the hours spent that goes towards communication, logistics, creative planning, editing, and processing the photos.
For example: in a one-hour session at my photography business Sarah Wong Media, I typically spend another four hours behind-the-scenes. Those hours are spent communicating with my client before the session and making the photos look as beautiful as possible afterward. A one-hour portrait session typically means at least five hours of work total after delivering the set of images.
Senior Photography Can Be a Demanding Service Job
Photography can be a physically-demanding job. Photographers are on their feet, laying on the floor, kneeling, bending down, getting in the water, the list goes on. It can be a physically-demanding, high-service job, especially for photographers who live in hot climates. For most of my senior shoot days, I can justify skipping a workout!
Senior Photo Equipment Quality
There are a few expenses when it comes to photography: high-quality camera bodies, lenses, SD cards, hard drives, editing software. If you’re working with a professional photographer, a big chunk of your dollars is spent on helping them maintain their equipment fees throughout the year.
Senior Photography Expertise & Experience
A great photographer’s job goes beyond understanding great lighting and knowing how to use their camera. Great photographers also know how to work with people and bring out genuine expressions. They’ve spent years developing the skills it takes to help you be comfortable to showcase your unique personality in front of the camera.
Why Senior Pictures So Expensive: How Many Senior Photographers Are In the Area?
Senior picture pricing can be highly dependent on the market. If there are only a couple senior photographers in your area, they are free to charge out the wazoo if they wanted. There’s almost no competition!
If you’re in an area where there are an overwhelming number of options to choose from, you’ll probably have more luck finding someone that fits the style and price point you’re looking for.
If not, it could be a great opportunity to flex those creative muscles and consider taking your own!
The next time you have someone asking about senior pictures and their pricing, be sure to send them this post. If you have any questions about senior photos, please don’t hesitate to reach out here in the comments or over at Sarah Wong Media.