How much does it cost? That’s a great question - but would you understand the answer?
Please don’t think I’m being condescending, but even I was astounded at the actual cost of quality photography. Especially now that I’ve seen what other studios offer - I just can’t believe that they are in business!
I was curious about my so-called competition in the local mall here in Zhuhai. They have a bright, clean, and modern studio set up in one of the busiest sections. It looks like a lovely spot, and I often see people in there. They have about 4-5 staff members, from front-desk salesperson to in-house retouchers, they have the whole thing covered from start to finish.
So I looked at their prices. I think it is very affordable, but at that price, are they really able to give customers the experience that they deserve? Judging by how cheap it is, even for China, I have to wonder how they actually afford to pay for the rent, staff wages, equipment, and advertising.
Don’t get me wrong, their images seem to be really quite nice, and I wouldn’t scoff at someone choosing to use their services. The last time I looked, it ranged from 250 yuan ($35usd or so) up to nearly 2 thousand RMB for a full family sitting (about $290usd). If this sounds reasonable to you and you want this kind of thing, by all means head along there. I’m sure they will do a fine job.
Personally, however, I can’t shake the analogy of a fast-food restaurant whenever I see it. Perhaps it’s the close proximity to the food court in the mall, but the whole idea of cheap and cheerful quick service that you regret consuming immediately afterwards.
I guess that’s what it ultimately comes down to though: how does it make you feel? When you buy a pair of Nike, an iPhone, or a fine wristwatch, you’re paying not just for the item, but for the experience and the feeling you get by owning it.
I also have operating costs. I have a family(and cats) to feed and care for. Quality photographic equipment is not inexpensive. Also you receive the benefit of my experience - I have been a photographer since high school, and have been around the world with my cameras.
So what are my prices by comparison? Well that’s another great question! The reason I won’t list them here is because I want this article to last a long time, and I don’t really want to update it every 6 months. Careful and clever readers will be able to work out a ballpark figure, from this article though. Also I have multiple packages and offers, so discovering which option will be right for you requires a conversation.