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What Goes Into Being a Photographer?

Photographers just click a button right? WRONG. So much goes into being a photographer that I didn’t even know until I became one. So if you ever wondered why photographers are “so expensive” or what goes into a photography business, this will break it down for you.

To be a photographer, you’ll obviously need a camera. As a photographer running a business and doing this professionally, you’re probably looking at a high end camera that will run you somewhere around $2000. And that’s just for the camera body. Not to mention having a second camera body as a backup (which you should always have). Lenses are so so important and they can be quite expensive. To give you an idea, the next lens on my wish list will run me around $2500. Not all camera bodies and lenses are that expensive, but as a photographer, I want to continue upgrading my equipment to be able to give my clients amazing quality images.

Photographers will also need their own website. This is a space to direct clients to where photographers can share their portfolio, pricing, and ways the client can get in contact to book a photographer. I personally took the time to learn and build my own website to help save some money. It still costs me around $250 annually to have my own site, and that’s on the cheaper end. Some photographers don’t know how to build a site and will have to pay someone to build it for them, which can be pricey (but worth it).

Now that we have a camera and a website, photographers will have to market themselves to direct clients to their website. This includes paying for ads to run on Google, Facebook, Instagram and so many other places. Not all photographers pay for ads, but the amount of time that goes into marketing and posting on social media daily is surprisingly a lot. If we don’t do this, it’s hard for photographers to book clients. We have to be present on multiple platforms. To access a variety of audiences.

Photographers also need an easy way to schedule clients, collect deposits and payments, and plan sessions. Sites like HoneyBook are excellent for this. Sites this HoneyBook will typically cost a photographer around $40 a month. It’s definitely worth it, but we need to make sure we’re booking enough to pay for it.

Many people think photographers spend the majority of the time taking photographs, but that is honestly not the case at all. However we still need to be compensated for our time it takes to photograph a session, as well as the time it takes to plan a session, edit all the images and prepare them for delivery. Speaking of editing, software such as Lightroom and Photoshop will run a photographer around $20 a month. And gallery delivery services to get the photos to our clients will run a photographer around $30 a month.

Then comes tax season. Some photographers are knowledgeable enough to do their own taxes, but if you’re like me, you’ll be paying for a CPA to make sure your taxes are done right and you don’t have to spend time stressing over all of it.

There are also so many other things photographers have to pay for like:

-memory cards

-hard drives

-gas to get to and from sessions

-logos for their business

-business licenses

-computers to edit the photos on

-camera bags




Photographers play many roles in their business, not just the photographer. They are the financial manager, the graphic designer, the marketing specialist, the editor, the website designer, customer service and your friend.

The amount of time, effort, and equipment that goes into a photograph business is a lot more than what people think. There are probably things that slipped my mind that I forgot to mention because their is just so much.

At the end of the day, photographers pursuing this as their job need to pay their own personal bills on top of keeping their business afloat. I hope this gives you more insight into what a photographer does!


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