The true cost of taking just one photo

Behind the scenes of ONE image


Enquiry stage;

I get many enquiries for photo sessions. One of the main questions i get asked is ‘How much for this photo session?’ and sometimes I’m told,  ‘Oh that’s far too expensive”. This is perfectly fine but I feel the need to delve a little deeper than the ‘click of the shutter’.

Before the photo session;

I usually will chat with the customer. First finding out all the necessary details, what they are looking for etc. On the day of the photo session I will have everything prepared , make sure it’s warm enough and tidy up etc.

I let baby wear an outfit (just like the one in the images above) , cost; £35. Set up backdrop (£50) posing chair (£40) and wool fur (£30)

I have my lighting set up and correctly exposed ready to start taking photos.  (studio flash £450, flash meter *used to set correct exposure £70 , softbox £70)

Switch on my camera ( camera £1000 , camera lens £750 , memory card £20). I can then pose baby safely ( need to know how to do that).  Once i’ve done all that i can begin taking photos (also need to know how to do that and know how to pose correctly ).

Once the photo shoot is finished i upload all images to my pc and editing software, in total including software the total cost is £1500 i also need to know how to edit.

I need to know : Means that i know how to do all this via completing training, education, online training etc etc etc.

It’s pretty much like working as a hairdresser, you dont  just need a pair of scissors (they alone can cost anywhere around £500-£800). Clients are usually quite happy to spend at least £100 on their hair. You are paying for the stylists expertise, knowledge and talent to do the job correctly.

At this point it has cost £4015 to take this one photo.  But you will use the same equipment over and over again for future sessions. Yes but without paying this amount of money to begin with i wouldn’t have been able to create this one image.

I spend 20 minute editing this photo.

How loooong you say??? Yes 20 minutes because I am creating a piece of art. It’s not just an average snapshot that you would receive if it was for let’s say a passport photo.

So having a camera doesn’t make you a photographer, you simply own a camera 😉 Your memories are priceless, if you want them to look professional you’d expect to pay what they are worth. 😉


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  • Mark Nelson

    How very true Denise! the general public hasn’t a clue, or at least the vast majority don’t know what goes into making a great image. They think its just the camera. But you know its a lot more than a camera. Anybody making a living through photography this days I tip my hat to them, for its no easy task. A lot of hard work, just to keep it going & trying to be a bit different from the next guy. Keeping working at it & believing in your work. Nothing in this world thats any good doesn’t come easy, as the saying goes. PS nice website by the way

    • Denise

      Thank you Mark, I just felt the need to go a bit deeper than just a simple click of the shutter button and try explaining why hiring a photographer is the price that it is. We invest so much time money and effort in perfecting our craft, it takes time and patience to get it right. Even then you’re never finished with learning 🙂 thank you so much for your kind comment

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