What you are paying for from a photographer


I would like to share what it really is you are paying for (or should be paying for) when you hire a professional photographer.

First: when you hire a photographer for family pictures, a wedding, etc. you are basically hiring commissioned artwork from them. You should always choose a photographer based on style (each has their own) because you are paying for that particular style from the artist/photographer you chose. Photography is an art form mostly for the particular reason that everyone sees something different through each lens.

Second: professional photographers should have training, experience, and passion. Whether that training is self-taught or from schooling, it is important that a photographer should know how to use their equipment. Experience comes from taking more photos than will ever see the light of day, most photographers photograph a lot for practice especially before setting up a business. The saying “practice makes perfect” definitely applies to photography, it’s a honed skill. When a photographer has a love for photographing they are truly creative and take great care in their work. These are things everyone should want in a photographer.

Third: the sitting fee pays for time and professionalism. It is not just the time spent behind the camera, it is all the time it takes to look through the images, editing, setting up the studio/location, and many other factors that go into a great photo session. As a client you should want to be treated professionally and with caring. Professionalism is treating you with respect at all times, getting you you’re photos in decent time frame, and making sure they are producing quality work.

Forth: when you pay for prints from a photographer, you should be getting guaranteed high quality prints. The prints should be either printed by the photographer on professional printing equipment or printed through a high quality lab. If your prints do not meet this standard, then you are not getting what you paid for. (Excellent article on print quality.)

Fifth: the reason why digital copies of your photos are so expensive is not that the materials used to give you them are but it is because you are essential buying the copyright for that artwork that the photographer is giving to you. Your argument might be that they are my photos because it is of me or my family but like mentioned above you are really buying commissioned art. Photographers also don’t like to give out digital copies because if you take them to a poor printing service and get low quality prints, other people will look at them and might think that the photographer has low quality work.


This list doesn’t cover everything but some of the most important factors. Please remember that photography is a real job and it does pay to put food in our mouths and heat in our homes.

My “classroom” Spring in Germany
My “classroom”
Spring in Germany

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