You may be looking around at photographers and really getting confused about pricing… Some are charging “session fees” plus “image fees,” while others are charging a flat rate for everything. Well, here’s a little monologue from yours truly to help sort through what it all means. Basically, there are two schools of thought when it comes to photography and pricing. One is called IPS, or “In Person Sales.” And the other is called Shoot and Share, or “Shoot and Burn.”
IPS is roughly based off the old-school film studio photography charging platform where you pay a sitting or “session” fee, and then you get to choose a certain number of images to print. If you want more than the 5 or so images that are included, you have to pay extra for the other images in your gallery. And sometimes, the session fee doesn’t even include images! Some IPS photographers only work with print sales, and if you want a digital copy of the image you have to pay even more. I’ve seen engagement sessions be anywhere from $500-$1500 for the client using this model. It’s very much a traditional way of doing things, and recently has been making a comeback because of how profitable it can be for the photographer.
A complete opposite to this is a method called Shoot and Share, sometimes called Shoot and Burn. Essentially, the client pays a flat rate that includes the cost of the photographer’s time for the session and editing, as well as a set (or unlimited) number of images. This method became more popular during the digital age of photography, as photographers were able to “burn” DVDs (hence the name) of images faster and cheaper than printing cost, and could provide clients with all of the images with little to no overhead. This method is sometimes scoffed at by IPS photographers, because they feel that Shoot & Share doesn’t give the photographer enough control, or doesn’t cover the photographer’s operating expenses (since S&S tends to be significantly cheaper for the client).
My 2 Cents.
Here’s the deal… at the end of the day you want all your images. Who wouldn’t? And honestly, I personally wouldn’t be able to afford shelling out multiple hundreds of dollars for family photos four times a year (or however often it is I’m actually able to get my family to cooperate for pictures, yes even photographers struggle with this lol). So I fully operate under the S&S method. You pay one amount. No hidden fees. No additional taxes (they’re included!) And sure, maybe I’m missing out on bringing in bigger bucks by not upselling a gallery instead of just giving you everything I think looks good. To be honest, I want to share those images with you. I’m proud of them! The idea of someone not buying them because they can’t afford them, and then they never see the light of day seems so counterintuitive to me. That’s just depressing.
As a photographer, my joy is taking moments and turning them into timeless memories. Why would I limit your memories? …..Does not compute.
SO anyway… if you’re looking around and wondering what all the deal is with pricing… now you know. Thanks for reading my monologue.