So you’ve decided to go for some professional photography, whether for some portraits or an event, but are unsure how much you should budget for it. While we’re all looking for a genuine bargain, as with most things, with photography you tend to get what you pay for. The question then is what is it worth paying for your images and the experience of having your photographs taken?
Answering that question is about knowing what the subject of the pictures or the occasion means to you and how important is it to get truly excellent images of the person(s) or event? Once you know that, you can come up with a figure, according to your means.
One challenge with that approach to budgeting though is a common misconception about photography: ‘Since it’s so easy to take pictures now, and even mobile phones can sometimes produce decent enough results, photography has become just a commodity service and therefore should be cheap’ or ‘My mate has a good camera, that should be fine..’ Of course if we’re talking about delivering consistently excellent results, this is a gross misunderstanding of what such photography calls for (the practice, the eye, the expertise, the equipment and the people skills). Suffice to say, if the reliable quality of the images and the experience really matters to you, look at a photographer’s professional portfolio and testimonials. Naturally, the ones with better results command a premium.
Lets say though you understand that good photography is not a commodity, but a craft, and that you know you want some fantastic images. How can you arrive at a sensible price for you?
Consider your finest outfit. The shoes, the suit or dress, the accessories. The way they make you feel and look, the impression they help you create and the opportunities that my lead to, all justified the expense of the outfit. They are benefits you’d expect to enjoy for several years or more from high quality clothing and so the expense can be seen as an investment in your well-being and in creating the impression you want with other people. The benefits are similar with high quality photography. You can expect years of enjoyment and good use from such images of you or your loved ones looking just how you’d like. It’s not all about the images though – just as with fine clothes where the service and fitting experience is part of what you’re paying for, with a good photographer, a memorably enjoyable, friendly and attentive service should come as standard.
To sum up then, with these parallels you might reasonably use the level of investment you’d make in your finest outfit as a budgeting guide for your personal, headshot, couple or family portrait photography. For event or wedding photography the investment may be a little less or more depending on the type, scale and level of coverage required for the event.