WELCOME TO the Jennifer mehling photography blog. I'M A CHILD OF CHRIST, WIFE, MOM, STORY TAKER, LOVER OF coffee, daisies, SUNSETS AND ALWAYS UP FOR A GOOD CAMPING TRIP.
I am a photographer based right outside of Atlanta, GA in an area known as East Cobb to locals. It’s actually in the suburb of Marietta, GA.
Coming from an uneducated background in what the business side of things for a photographer cost, a few years ago I had to convince my husband to spend the money on our daughter’s newborn photos. I researched and researched. Cost vs. quality. I came up with a photographer that I felt created a beautiful product at a price point I could talk my husband into. Knowing what I now know, she was definitely under charging but, at the time I was the uneducated consumer thinking it was expensive.
I had the same thoughts (based on the 80-20 rule) that 80% of consumers do, ‘Taking a photo is easy money’ or ‘Why is it so expensive?’ Snap, download, make a couple edits and bam. BOY, WAS I WRONG!
I thought that since I’ve now joined the business side of things in, becoming a photographer, the uneducated 80% might like to learn more about what actually goes into your family photos (or whatever theme). I’m sure this post may offend someone but, at least they might understand the flip side of the photography business a little bit more. I’m not an expect in my mere 9 months building something from nothing. I will probably leave a lot off the list, so if your a photographer please leave comments on things that you have added to your business expenses.
To start I had a Canon Rebel T2i (purchased at Costco in a kit for about $1,000 6-7 years ago) and a 50mm 1.8 lens. The lens my husband got me for my birthday this past january. At that time I didn’t know much about how to shoot in complete manual mode or even what I needed to do to get started. How did I get to where I am today? Free mentoring from a local photographer Erika Womack and paid education courses bought on sale. However, even with sale pricing I’ve probably spent about $1500 this year in shooting, editing, posing, social media etc.
That’s only the beginning. I’ve given hours away just to learn how to take a photo. Let’s call that more education and marketing expenses. I’m very grateful to those who took a chance and allowed me to learn. I’ve then spent hours and hours with many many late nights editing and watching videos.
My favorite subject to practice on is my nearly 23 month old daughter. In case you were wondering why she’s in the photos on this blog post. It was a learning session. I had rented a lens to try out. I needed some practice before an actual scheduled shoot tomorrow. Of course I had one setting wrong, but, those are the most important lessons. I won’t do that again but, it’s still my time and I so glad the error was on the practice one and not the actual one. The amount of time and money spent on education is endless. It’s not what camera your using, it’s the knowledge of telling the camera what to do. Don’t get me wrong having a good camera is important but, it’s useless without the knowledge and experience!
I have spent money monthly on limited liability insurance.
Monthly expenses of website hosting, gallery hosting and I’m just getting started.
I’ve held off on a few other monthly expenses until I build up my business a little more. For example, scheduling software, client management software.
Then there’s your editing software. Photoshop, Lightroom, Camera Raw these are not all free. They are prepaid annually or billed monthly.
Luckily, when I started I already owned a MacBook to do my editing on and I already had an external hard drive that will soon need upgrading.
I also, already had a working vehicle to get me to the locations. I do put gas in my car which is another expense.
A working cellphone always helps to receive phone calls, emails or text messages.
Equipment isn’t cheap. I upgraded my camera being conservative since I just started. This is the one I purchased Canon 6D but, here are a few others to choose from. Canon Mark iii or Mark iv. I’m a Canon girl but, other cameras aren’t cheap either. Then have you priced a lens lately? Here’s just a few to start 50mm 1.2, 24-70 4.0 or 70-200 2.8
What about a studio do you have one? Nope I do not. Not yet anyway. Those bring more expenses. Lights, seating for clients in the reception area, household items i.e. Toilet paper.
Then what if you are using props? Blankets and wraps galore for newborns. They add up really quick.
Taxes the government wants some of my money. All of it’s not going in my pocket. ☹️😏😲
There a list of miscellaneous items such as camera cards, backup battery, rain gear, camera bag, stool/ladder, back drops etc.
These are all the thing I’ve accumulated just this year and hope to accumulate over the next few years. The lenses and studio being the few that take more time. I’m sure the more experience I get the longer my list of doing business will grow.
So the next time you compare how much 2 different photographers cost, think of this list. The cost of doing business is going to vary for each one but, after all the expenses if the photographer wants to replace their full time or part time income they are either going to have to take on a lot of clients or charge more. Which is better? I think it depends on their work. What kind of work are they putting out? Every photographer is not equal there’s no way they can be.
I know I have so much to learn but, I do value my time with my family, so in order for photography to be worth it for me I need to cover my expenses and then bring some into my household.
I hope the next time you wonder why does that photographer charge more or less, this list goes through your mind. Then think about the time they spend shooting, importing, editing, exporting and uploading/delivering. It will vary based on their systems in place. I spend an average of 6-10 hours per 20 image gallery.
I love this job! I would do it for free but, my husband won’t let me, it’s not fair to my family and I can’t afford the business side if it’s free. This post is not intended to upset anyone who has helped me along the way. It’s only to help you see what goes into it and how I come up with my investment for sessions. The investment is so worth it if you can do it! I have mine set up so it’s broken up. Just ask me about it if you need explanation. Photographs are a luxury that you want! It’s a memory captured in time. People grow and change too quickly. I love capturing memories and milestones.
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Capturing your connections in the everyday moments and milestones events. Jennifer Mehling Photography, LLC is an award winning Marietta, GA photographer. Jennifer serves Atlanta and other surrounding areas including Kennesaw, Roswell, Alpharetta, Smyrna, Sandy springs and more! Jennifer shoots on location & inside her client's homes to include Lifestyle photography. Jennifer specializes in Newborn Photography, Mini Family Sessions, Headshot Photography and Branding Photography