I see it all the time ...
looking for a photographer the doesn't charge the earth
Or an advert that offers something like
Full day wedding photography £399
Whilst I appreciate that everyone has a budget, there is also a need to be realistic and sensible about the costs of running a photography business. It is impossible to run any business at low rates even if you are supplementing the income from a different job Mon-Fri.
The costs of running a business are just that
Petrol and vehicle
Cameras and paraphernalia and so it goes on
As an example a professional level camera, which I'm sure you would want me to use costs a few thousand pounds at least, in fact my latest one was £3600, just one lens is roughly £500, a computer to edit on is maybe £1000, Photoshop and Lightroom cost me £120 / year, backup drives cost £100 and I have a few, and then cloud backup software is £75 / year... let's add another conservative £500 equipment costs for memory cards, cables what have you... that's about £6000 ..
If I charge £399 per job then I need to do 16 jobs a year or 1.4 jobs a month for equipment and office costs.
Oh but I haven't even spoken to you, shown you what I do, or got to and from your venue. In the last few months I've averaged 300 business miles a month, let's call it 3500 per year if I multiply that by 0.50 because with a little rounding that's the HMRC allowance it's £1,750 , if you want to speak I need a phone so that's £500 a year. Want to see what I do ... my website costs need to be added in, let's say £1000 and some sample albums and prints so that maybe £1000 in the year that just added £4250
So now that total is £10,250 if I charge £399 now I need to average 27 jobs in the year or a little over 2 a month...
Remember I've only added the cost of 1 camera and 1 lens, I know you want me to light the room so that needs flashes and, I'm sure you want me to have a back up camera and lens or lenses so let's add a further £5000 for equipment.
This isn't a hobby, I also have to eat and pay tax, clothe my family etc ... so let's not be greedy and add £30,000 to the total .. let's call it £45,000 if we add the £15k above and add £5000 for things I've missed like broadband costs, lightstands, office software, training and so forth.
£50000 flat means I need to complete 126 jobs at £399 in the year or 10.5 a month or 2.5 a week, every week of the year.
To put that into perspective at a wedding I'll shoot maybe 2500 pictures and aim to deliver 700 so if all I take pictures of is weddings that's 315,000 taken nearly 90,000 delivered images.
Each job takes roughly 30 hours to complete... at 2.5 / week I'm working 75 hrs a week. If I work 10 hrs a day then I need to work 15 hrs for 5 days or 11hrs 7 days a week non stop, no holidays no weeks where I don't have weddings booked or I have to turn down a job because I'm already booked. That's just working on shoots and editing them, not seeing clients, doing admin, training, editing web sites and all the other stuff we do.
When you charge £399 there simply aren't enough hours in the day even if you can satisfy the need to shoot 126 jobs in the year .. simple maths just proves that.
So you see it just isn't possible to run a photography business for low prices and actually the £1500 I do charge for a wedding... it's value for money.