You charge HOW much??!?!?!
I have been asked this so many times, and I am writing for some clarification to this.
So, its 100 degrees outside, and your air conditioner breaks. Maybe if you are from the south or a very warm climate, you may say "pppsssshhhh, 100 is nothing!!" but up here, in ND, it IS something. So lets say that you need your air conditioner fixed. You don't take it apart and fix it (unless you know how, but most people don't), you call in someone who does.
On that same day, your car breaks down. You are not a mechanic and you don't know how to fix the car either. So, you have to pay to get the thing towed and fixed at the garage.
You go back home and find out that your refrigerator is broken as well (I really don't want to be this unlucky person all this stuff is happening to :/). You again have to call someone to come repair that.
Here is the thing, none of the people in the above are even questioned about the prices they charge. It is what it is and we just accept that because we know that things cost money. Yes, most of the things are a necessity and we need them, so we pay.
Photography is a luxury, it is something we can mostly live without. There are some who place great value in it, and many who don't. The thing that people don't seem to understand is that in the above scenarios, those people learned a trade. They learned how to fix the car, they learned the wiring circuits of the things broken down. They practice, and study, and get much on-the-job learning as well.
Photographers are no exception. We spend hours a day, sometimes up to 12, studying our craft or editing images from a session. We treat it very seriously because it is our passion, and often, our livelihood. There is a cost to us as well. Our learning doesn't come cheap. We take time away from our friends, our spouses, our children. We tell our family "just one more minute, I'm almost done here and then I will make dinner", and we go for another hour. We spend money on our gear and that is NOT cheap. We spend money on countless workshops, books, tutorials, and any other form of education. We research methods, techniques, improvements, editing styles, programs, and products for our clients so that we can choose the very best. We plan and put a lot of thought into what we do. Album design doesn't just 'happen'. We spend countless hours prior to a shoot researching posing, and light direction, because we strive for perfection...for you. We often scout locations for the best possible one.
We deal with emails, and phone calls, and text messages. We market and advertise and try to be seen by the public. We enter contests and get rejected, countless times, but we keep pressing forward. We deal with unruly children, unruly adults, awesome clients, and some tougher clients. Lets not forget weather fiascos, contract building, website hosting, and creating/maintaining our brand, ...those are no strangers to us either.
We also spend money on our business. We have insurance, and maintenance, and business registration fees, and rental fees. We invest in quality products and samples to have on hand to show you; quality to touch and feel.
On top of all of the expenses that go into our business, we have to pay ourselves a wage too.
There is so much more than just showing up and "snapping a couple pictures". If only it were really that simple.
As you can see, we put a lot into who we are and what we do. We care about you as our clients, we want to give you the very best and will spend all this time and energy just to see the smiles on your face. We charge what we do, because we ARE worth it. We take photography very seriously and live and die by it. Just because we are considered a luxury, doesn't mean that we haven't worked our asses off to get here, to be valued.
So, yes, I am worth it, we are worth it, because YOU are worth it.
That is why we charge 'that much'.