For every hour of shooting, photographers do over 9+ hours of work that is unseen.


Now, most people would think that after the shoot, all I do is sit in front of a computer screen, editing images.  And granted, that is a big part of it.  (At the moment, I have three screens on my computer.  One is my website, where I am writing this blog.   While the other two have edits from a corporate event I shot over the weekend.)  If it was just shooting and editing – that would be awesome!  Sadly, that really isn’t the whole show.

Anyone who has run their own business knows full well that what people see is just the tip of the ice berg.  So much happens behind the scene.

As a photographer, I show up, get my gear ready, and start snapping pictures.  With camera in hand, I smile, I chat, I pose people, give encouragement, laugh, direct.  And I LOVE that!  So much fun…  And when it’s all over, I take a deep breath and sigh…and feel, well, a lil sad that it’s over.  I LOVE taking pictures.

Even when I it down to edit the images, I smile and laugh.  I remember how much fun it was to tell people to run through the water on the 5k race, so I could get good photos.  People are so silly and will do anything for a good picture.  I clean up images in some software, I crop, color correct, tweak this and that…I vignette some of the images.  When all is right with the world, I upload the images to the gallery and email the client.


Now, the rest of my time is spent doing everything else.  And by that, I mean…


Marketing & Advertising: This includes researching the best use of my advertising budget.  Where should I advertise to reach the demographics I desire?  So many chooses, so lil budget; social media, periodicals, radio, theatre, tv, etc. And once I do decide on a medium, I have to design and create the ad, get opinions, and then do the small fine tuning.


Networking:  This is mostly through social media, chatting in photography groups, getting my presence out there.  It also includes physical meet-n-greets, lunches, and group photo shoots.  And, 3-4 times a year, working my booth at a wedding show.


Responding to Requests:  Every day, I respond to requests about photography needs, sometimes on social media, sometimes on the phone.  I may spend 5 minutes doing this, I might spend an hour.


Talking & Texting Clients: With all the advertising and networking, comes clients (I hope).  So, I chat with them, answering questions, discussing locations, what they want photo wise, etc.  With a Bride, this may be an hour long conversation, talking through the wedding and what she wants.


Website Maintenance: I have an incredible web guy.  Not only did he build my website, he showed me how to maintain it and update it.  So I can add blogs, update photos, change prices and information.  Jeremy rocks.  The downside of this, I do have to add blogs, update photos, change prices and information. LOL


Social Media Upkeep: Along with marketing, I do maintain a presence on different social media outlets.  To do that, I post images.  I schedule this usually on Wed.  Posting images of a particular shoot on all the different groups.  I also update my different photography pages on this day.


Camera & Studio Maintenance:  It’s not all sitting in front of a computer screen.  I do have to get my hands dirty here and there…  Cleaning and caring for my camera gear is a huge part of my business.  Cleaning out my camera bags, making sure they are stocked with everything I need.  Not only the cameras and lenses, I carry extra batteries, emergency ponchos, granola bars, cleaning wipes, Clorox pen, asprin, ear plugs, all sorts of stuff.  Additionally, I also have to clean and maintain my studio.  Doesn’t sound like much, until you do a shoot with paint or glitter, then it’s a lot of fun to clean.


New Concepts & Building Sets: Along with that whole cleaning thing, also comes the designingPaulina doing a hair flip on a Shower wet in Colorado and building new sets in studios.  This could be as simple as hanging different fabrics down at different angles to literally building a room.  Yes, it takes a lot of time to research a new concept, see how to light it, make sure it’s safe, build the props or staging for it.  Of course, the results are AMAZING and always worth it.  My shower set I built outside in Colorado was INCREDIBLE.


Researching New Equipment: The studio and my camera bag eventually get out dated.  And that is sad…  I love my gear.  But I do spend a lot of time researching new equipment, everything from camera bodies, to flash, to studio strobes, to simple stands.  What is going to work best for me and my style of photography, what is lightest, most portable, what is most stable, what recharges the fastest, how long does a battery last???  This is a lot of online searches and reading, looking at reviews, checking measurements and weight.  Yes, a lot of time is consumed here.


Seminars & Training: Along with new equipment comes training.  Along with new styles of shooting, more seminars, both online and in person.  This may be an hour, maybe a weekend, just depends on what you are learning.  Lots of professions require ongoing education, you can add photographer to that list.


Travel: Living just South of Nashville, and with all the back roads, it can take sometimes up to 3 hours one way for traveling to an event.  Not to mention when I shoot out of state or out of country.


And yes, there is even more.  So when a photographer tells you they charge $200-$400 an hour, what they are really saying, is they work for minimum wage (hopefully).

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