“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” – Henry Ford

When I decided to get back into photography last year I was not in any way prepared for the business aspects of such. Back in the day – circa 2005 – I had much of my life controlled and guided by my now ex-husband. Now that I am on my own I’m finding the complexities a little overwh

As I enter ointo the beginning of the 2019 photography season, I have learned so much more than I did when I started back in April 2019. I’m sitting here on a cold Indiana snowy day trying to add up the costs and figure out where I can cut costs associated with my craft, and its all daunting.

People often complain about the costs of photography. I know on more than one occasion I had people tell me that I charged too much – and plenty that told me that I charged too little. Simple fact of the matter is I try as much as I can to keep my costs at bay. I know what it is like to be that single mom who desperately wants photos of their growing bundle or even an updated family photo. Even now as I sit here I can’t help but acknowledge that I haven’t have a family photo taken since 2016, but that is largely because I can’t stand to have my picture taken – oh, the irony!

With that said, there are a lot of costs associated with a business – no matter the type. As an outdoor photographer people assume that I have little to no overhead, and nothing could be further from the truth. Many cities are now charging photographer permit fees for shooting at the local parks. My city is one of them. To obtain a permit it is $150 per year and does not include the liability insurance of $200-350 a year that is required to obtain a permit. That same insurance is also required for many locations for events and weddings, so it isn’t as if I could just forgo purchasing it. In today’s digital age a website presence is almost required so there are fees associated with owning and maintaining a website, facebook, instagram…and another social media where you can market to your clientele base. While a lot of these services are free, the marketing capability of them is not. Business cards are relatively cheap, but if you have just re-branded it is an added cost (I’m still in that process now). Lets not even discuss the amount photographers pay on their equipment and training over the years. It all adds up.

And this is where I sit…staring at my business expenses that I will be shelling out here within the next couple of months and I want to pull out what little hair I have left. Adulting sucks, but it must be done.

So the next time you decide to contact your local photographer and think they might be a little bit expensive…please don’t forget that they are not only people, but have a business to run. More often than not they don’t make as much money as you think.