Why is photography so expensive?

why is photography so expensive blog

I hear this question a lot and since I have such a long answer, I figured it would be the easiest to write a blog post about it. 🙂 Just like I never want to stop learning, I never want to stop educating.

A lot of my clients hire a professional because they want to document a once in a lifetime event. Whether it be getting engaged, getting married, being a senior in high school, having a baby, wanting an extra special intimate gift for their partner, or they are branding themselves and their business. Our lives fly past so fast that documenting these moments in life can be very important.

Here is just a little story about me. I have lived in Las Vegas since I was 5, but was born in San Diego. The ONLY pictures I have from my childhood are a few polaroids from when I was younger than 5 and the image above that was taken on someone’s awesome ninja turtle camera from 3rd grade. I’m the one in the overalls cheesin! (Not much changes huh?) . My mom is a single mom and has been my whole life. When we moved to Las Vegas, she always had 2 jobs to support us and never bought a camera or a video camera because she never stopped to think that I wouldn’t always be so small and adorable. The only pictures she has of me are the one yearbook picture a year. The only picture I have of my grandma who died when I was in 7th grade are ones of her holding me as a baby. Memories in our heads fade. I can barely remember what my grandma looked like now. I have never had a family picture done. I haven’t seen or heard from my Aunt who is my only other living relative than my mom, since my grandma died. These are some of the reasons I became a photographer. To instill in people’s minds the importance of freezing time and having prints to look back on, remember, and pass down. You never know how long the people in your life are going to be here. Unfortunately, some are here for way too short of a time and I wish I had pictures of so many people that I have lost.


Photography is not a need, it is a want. You don’t NEED to get your hair and nails done monthly, but a lot of us do, because it makes us feel good. You don’t NEED a great photographer, but for once in a lifetime events, you usually WANT one. You don’t NEED to go out to eat, but you WANT to. Photography is a luxury, just like many other services. Getting married can be done at a court house for a low cost, but many people choose to spend thousands of dollars on their wedding. Did you spend all that money on your wedding to have those memories fade because you didn’t want to hire a photographer to capture all of your hard work as well as your memories? This is always a choice. And we are willing and ready to take great care of you and make any photoshoot an amazing experience. For a price. When you hire a photographer and they talk to you about the investment of photography, they are including a lot in this price. I have heard many questions and comments including “What is included in that?” “Why does it cost so much?” “That’s way out of my budget.” Well I’m going to address all of these for you and also tell you why I love my career choice.


If you get a photoshoot and the session fee is, say $300, you aren’t paying the photographer $150 an hour for 2 hours. Every photographer is different with their process, but there are hours before and after that session that include driving, planning, meetings, setup and breakdown, downloading, culling, editing, and much more. So that hour to two that you might see the photographer for, actually takes them a lot more time. Every session is filled with “hidden hours.”


Also, the equipment is super expensive. Professional cameras cost around $2,000, which most of us have 2 of. This is both for weddings where we need two different lengths of lenses at the same time, and also as a backup in case anything goes wrong. Technology fails and we don’t want it to ruin a client’s experience. The lenses usually go for more than the cameras do, and we usually have three or 4 for different purposes. Speedlights which are what you usually see on top of a photographers camera for lighting, are $400 to $600 each. Off camera lighting, called strobes, can range fro $500 to $2000 EACH, as well as batteries, transmitters and receivers, bags, memory cards, the software that is used for editing, album generation, workflow, etc. All of us that are full-time photographers means we make all of our income off of photography. This means we have to pay not only our personal bills, but any bills associated with our business. Studio rental fees, sales and use tax, business licensing, marketing, utilities, business insurance, computers that have enough processing power for us to edit huge files on, as well as fast enough internet to upload those online, maintaining our websites, gas, food, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. I spent 4 years on a two year commercial photography degree because I had multiple jobs the entire time. When you take into consideration all of these variables, according the the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we make an average of $16 an hour which is $34,000 a year. That is way below the average in the country, at least in 2015, according to the US Census Bureau

Last but not least, the main reason to invest in a professional photographer is that we are artists. We all have different styles and visions. We all make sure to give you an amazing experience as well as amazing images that will freeze time for you forever. We personalize every detail for you and you trust us to do this and also to make you look and feel beautiful. We have spent time and money researching which professional print labs will make your memories look like art and reflect the quality of your experience on archival materials that will not fade with time. We are a luxury and we aim to make you feel luxurious every step of the way. If you have a budget, and believe me, I understand that life happens, let us know. We can do our best to get you taken care of in a way that you can afford. No matter how much money you spend on photography and product with us, you will see, feel, and remember the value not only in your prints, but in the amazing time you shared with us. Just ask some of the people that I have worked with! (And keep coming back for more!)


“Casey has one of the most amazing abilities to capture EVERY special moment!! We used her for our wedding reception and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the results. Not only is she a professional, she will knock your socks off with her upbeat, positive and outgoing personality. We recommend her to anyone who asks about photography.” -Rachel G.

“Casey has done headshots, college graduation, and engagement (with 2 crazy dogs!) photos for me. She is really able to catch your personality with her camera, and I think that is what makes her photos so special. She is patient and really listens to you and your wants, and it’s important to her that you are happy with your session. I will forever have Casey there to capture the important milestones in my life!!” – Toria T.

“Casey is very professional all while being funny and welcoming like a friend you’ve known for years. She KNOWS lighting and is wonderfully creative with ideas and angles. Bonus: she’s quick on turning around the finished product. My favorite photoshoot ever.” – Christina P.

“Casey and her team did a remarkable job on our off-site wedding photos in downtown Las Vegas. She was such a joy to work with from pre-planning, the big day, photo reveal, and lastly getting our prints. She genuinely makes you feel comfortable, and beautiful, behind the camera and the results are second to none. We love our wedding photos and will definitely see more of Casey Jade Photography in the future.” – Alesha C.


These are the reasons to invest in professional photography. We know exactly how to capture what you want and usually even capture photos that you didn’t know you wanted until you saw our vision. We have spent years investing in both equipment and learning about lighting and making every body type look the best. Trust in us to take care of you, just like you would do at the luxurious spa day you’ve always wanted. 🙂

Questions? Opinions? Comments?

I always love feedback and would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave me comments, email me, or give me a call! I look forward to hearing from you!

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