Boudoir photography has increasingly become popular. What used to be glamour photos has transitioned over time to taking intimate photos in lingerie. Many are stunned when they start looking for the perfect photographer to find that some charge $300 for a photoshoot and some charge up to $10,000 for a full experience. So why do these photographers cost so much? I’m going to break it down for you by costs all photographers have, costs that are specific to boudoir photographers, and variable costs by who you book a session with.
Oh taxes, they make the world go round. Did you know that in the United States, small businesses get taxed an extra 14.25 percent for being self employed? It’s true. On top of the income tax which is typically 12 or 22% depending on income, you have to pay the self employment tax, as well as any state and sales tax. For me personally as a boudoir photographer, I have to pay 42% in taxes. Anytime I get paid, basically HALF of all my money is gone. That doesn’t even include any other expenses yet!
Being a photographer means having a ton of programs including a website, editing software, photo filtering softwares, skin retouching softwares, storage softwares, CRM softwares, and so much more. Minimum a photographer is spending on these things is $100 but more realistically $300 a month!
While equipment costs aren’t an every month or even every year cost, they are a HEFTY cost. Between the camera, lenses, glass protectors, memory cards, backup cameras, computers, batteries, and storage, photographer’s often look at around $10,000 or more. Imagine a photographer photographing a wedding and their camera gets broken by a drunk guest, would you as a bride say, “oh it’s ok.” I doubt it. That is why backup gear is always a must and always a huge expense.
Ever hear that time costs money? In the photography business it couldn’t be more true. At the end of the day, photographers can only take so many clients. There are only so many hours in a day and only one photographer to work them. Did you know that photographers spend less than 10% of their time actually taking photos? For me personally, I can only take 2 clients a week between editing, social media management, inquiries, and prepping the studio for the next client.
Most reputable boudoir photographer’s include professional hair and makeup in the full experience. The actual cost can vary depending on the artist but I have two professional artist and they charge between $175-$230 with tip. So with everything you have learned so far, is a photographer who charges $300 making any money by the end of the day? Between taxes and hair and makeup alone they are not.
Not all photographers need studios believe it or not. Wedding photographers always work at the couples venue so they just need a computer and wifi and they can work from anywhere. However, boudoir photographers need a studio or a rented space due to the intimate nature of the photo session. Lots of boudoir photographers either own their own studio or rent a space by day. That is all additional cost that the photographer has to account for.
More and more boudoir photographers are starting to offer a client closet. A client closet is a collection of outfits for clients to borrow for their photo session. My personal client closet is probably valued around $10,000 and I am always adding to it. I have seen client closets from $500 to $20,000. This is all added cost to bring a luxury experience to the client.
With boudoir photos being a luxury experience, clients like to celebrate themselves in luxury ways. Digital images are nice but they always end up buried in cell phone galleries. Most boudoir clients purchase albums or wall art to truly showcase their art. This is another added cost.
Last, but certainly not least, we have variable costs by photographer. This is what really sets photographers apart.
Believe it or not, you cannot just pick up an expensive camera and take beautiful photos. I know, shocking. You have to know how to use that beautiful camera. You also have to learn how to use light. You can’t just use your bedroom ceiling lights and capture beautiful images. Also, posing is one of the most important things a boudoir photographer needs to learn. As much as boudoir can be a huge confidence builder, it can also really hurt someone’s confidence with bad lighting, bad posing, and a camera with the wrong settings. When I was learning photography, I spent hours on youtube everyday learning as much as I could and buying every educational guide to help me succeed. Remember when we talked about how time cost money? This applies here too.
Well, I hope you can answer that question now.
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