After the jump: Examples; Breaking down the price; Example of an overpriced service.
Let's take a simple wedding event for example. For $2550, MMPhotos Sydney would cover an entire day-long wedding event [8 hrs] with two photographers. They will take 100pics/hr, post-process the images, and provide two 8x12" (8R) prints for free. They also provide a DVD with all the hi-res images. The post-processing could easily take 6 hours to complete
That is, believe it or not, a reasonable price. It involves roughly 25 hours of work (post-processing is a real bitch, believe me.).
- ~8 hrs covering the event (x2 photographers)
- ~10 hrs post-processing.
What About Portrait Photography?
The same rules for postprocessing applies. In fact, trying to get a hi-resolution image looking great can be quite time consuming in Photoshop and you know your customers will scrutinize their portraits! So what is the market offering?
For $300, Harrison Photography offers 1.5 hours of time with a photographer in a studio (more pictures means more to cherry pick from later), a CD with at least 35 pictures, eight 5R (5x7") prints, and 2 8R (8x10") prints. The 8R prints will need significant retouching as even minor flaws (defects) become painfully obvious.
Well, everyone knows that it's really cheap to print photos, and in this day and age, it is also important to be able to upload images to the internet. For $300 Sydney Photo Studio offers professional hair styling and makeup, allows for outfit changes, and retouches three hi-resolution images that are then provided to the customer on CD. It's bloody cheap to print photos and you can make as many copies as you want.
For $300, Inspired Photography will come down to your location with their mobile studio, spend an hour with you, and provide you a CD with 15 retouched images.
These are all very reasonable prices. The photographers would be earning around ~$100 per hour of work. They dont get work every single hour of the day so it's reasonable, decent work.
Business Ethics 101: Why Monopoly Is Bad
There was only one photography studio taking pictures on graduation day. How such a monopoly was allowed to happen escapes me.
$30 for a sitting fee is reasonable. It's roughly 15 minutes of work to capture the raw images.
But guess how much they charge for a CD of non-postprocessed/non-retouched images. $300. Yes. $300 for a CD of all the images taken in 15 minutes. Yes, they need to cover transport, equipment, wages, etc... But still you're talking about $200+ per hour of work. Something is very wrong here.
And unlike other photography jobs, the graduation photos are taken in succession. There is literally a queue of people taking photos.