Great question! New clients often times ask me about what is considered when I price my services, so I'm very happy to explain! I've broken down my answer into 3 distinct sections for easier reading and better organization, my apologies for the long read!
Cost of Doing Business:
Firstly, there are core business expenses like a physical studio location, maintenance fees and general upkeep, followed by additional overhead costs like business registration & licensing, harmonized sales tax (already included in all prices!), merchant banking, online credit card processing, office supplies as well as business insurance. Finally -- image editing software, online marketing and management costs like web development, website updates, hosting and technical support. These expenses can add up quickly and equal to roughly 25-30% of the total monthly net earnings.
Equipment & Studio Expenses:
As a professional photographer I need to stay up to date with my photography offerings and thus have ongoing expenses like searching for, acquiring and maintaining props and furniture for my studio. There are also costs associated with equipment maintenance as well as investment into new camera lenses, lighting and hardware that amount to a further 10%-15% of total net earnings. One example to help visualize how much these costs can effect my pricing is to take the Flirty package for example, it is currently priced at $295; it wouldn't be outlandish to consider that roughly 50% of the package price goes towards business overhead costs.
With the overhead costs explained above, there is of course the question of significant time investment that also needs to be taken into account. On average, a 1 hour photography session will require an additional 15 minutes for equipment prep (before and after the shoot), followed by 15-60 (based on package) minutes for the curation and organization of the resulting photography as well as an additional 3 to 4 hours (roughly 20-30 minutes per image) dedicated to the re-touching of 12 of the best curated images that will be delivered via a private proofing gallery, a process that additionally takes about 15 minutes to complete. At the end of the day, a 60 minute session very quickly becomes a 5-6+ hour time investment per session.
After all is said and done, it isn't uncommon for a professional photographer like myself to earn on average $35/hour running my photography business. It's also important to note that self employed photographers like myself need to pay out-of-pocket for basic Canadian employee benefits such as dental coverage, health insurance, disability insurance and RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans).
I hope my answer was informative, however if you have any additional questions in regards to my photography pricing, please contact me using the contact form here. I would be thrilled to help in anyway I can.