What's in my bag?  

Well it's a big bag.. cause some of it isn't in a bag... it's in a room, in a house, or outside.

 

Some of this is back up equipment that I keep close in case of malfunctions and is used during a wedding for a second shooter.  

I have done this long enough to know I can't afford to be the cheap one.  I started out cheap also until I found it it actually cost me a lot more money than I made.  This is a modest goal as a now part time photographer and I hope this makes sense to you.  My costs far outweigh my gain but I do enjoy the journey.  I hope this helps you to understand why my fees exist.  I can only physically photograph so many families per year.  I take these costs (the upkeep and replacement costs as well as ongoing yearly costs) and I divide them up over the year, factor in my salary cost, and divide that by how many sessions I can physically handle in that calendar year... that is the cost of your session.  It takes all of this to produce your digital files as well as tons of my time.  I am not an employee only, I have to pay upkeep on all this stuff to stay in business.  I need to know upfront that my costs are covered or I really need to just stay home with my kids.  I used to charge a session fee and come home and hand it to my sitter. I found out quickly that I couldn't do that.  I am a small business owner who loves what I do.  And... my clients love me enough to pay for my work...  

 

Camera 1:  $6,500 replace every 3-4 years + ongoing upkeep costs.

Camera 2:  $2,300 replace every 3 years (same)

Camera 3:  $1,500 backup for backup (weddings)

Lens 1:  $2,796 may replace every 10 years and upkeep costs and repairs

Lens 2:  $2,400 may replace every 10 years and upkeep costs and repairs

Lens 3:  $999

Lens 4:  $646

Lens 5:  $1,600 

Computer 1:  $3,000 replace every 4 years

Computer 2:  $2,500 replace every 4-5 years

Software:  $200 per year

Website:  $300 per year

Web host:  $300 per year

Phone: $100 per month

Internet: $100 per month

External Storage: $300  2 terabyte thunderbolt option every year

Memory cards: $300 (they start to malfunction if not replaced) 

Batteries:  $500

Props: chairs, rugs, clothing, pillows, scarves, tents, chandeliers $$$ thousands try to keep less than $1000 per year (my weakness)

Backdrops: fabric and flooring, paint...$  (I buy paint yearly and occasional other items)

Studio Lighting and modifiers:  $5,000+  I only replace as needed

Portable lighting and triggers to remote fire: $5,000+ replace ($1000 per year these die from extreme conditions I put it through)

Wall and album samples: $$$ Thousands spent.. update at least one thing per year.

Business Insurance: $1000 per year always

Business license: 25

Business owner personal insurance: 0 pay myself? seriously 

My personal salary goal at part time:  $6,000 per YEAR  no joke.  It helps me pay for a few extras.

 

Not all of these are included in the replacement or ongoing yearly fee category, but I do try to maintain enough income to keep electronics up to date and in good working condition.  It is a business expense and not a personal one.  I also did not include heat and cooling for my studios and lawn mowing for the large outdoor space.  My heat bill once for the brick house was $1500 because propane had skyrocketed.  My home studio is also not listed as an expense, nor is my vehicle on this particular list even though I could't do my job without it.  I dropped heating the old farmhouse as I was going to have to raise my prices in order to keep it heated.  I do what I can to give you the best possible price at a wage I can live with. 

I charge less than what is needed to keep this going.   But I love what I do.