Or this post could also be captioned "why do you charge for your work?"
"Sure all you do is press a button, stick it on the net and wait - isn't it?"
Its a question I've been asked a few times of late, and always at the end of the conversation the person leaves me feeling they have a much better understanding of whats involved, and why it is we believe we can put a price on things. While the question itself sums up whats involved, it really doesn't cover what else is also involved and why photos don't appear online instantly after an event. While this blog post and explaination might appear to some to be a little simplistic, its only when you understand the full process that you can properly appreciate whats involved.
So lets begin at the very very start - you buy your equipment. For even the smallest list of necessary things you have your camera, a suitable lens, a laptop/pc, some suitable editing software and an internet connection. Most of these things won't factor into price consideration for a photographer as if you love taking photos you're going to have them anyway - but they're expenses all the same. If you hope to display your work, and possibly sell it, then you'll need to set up a website which adds the costs of hosting, software and domain registration. These are expenses that a hobby photographer will most likely never encounter, but they're costs that do have a bearing on product pricing. We'd all love to be in a position where we could offer everything for free, but sadly the reality is that its just not possible.
Once you have everything in place you're ready to go - except you need subjects for your work. This means travelling places and taking the time to get the photos you want. This is the easiest part of the process relatively speaking. What comes next is what really takes the time - post processing & product presentation.
When you get home after shooting your photos the really time-consuming work begins. Post-processing is the term given to what happens to get the photo from the camera to the public. Once you have the photos downloaded from the camera to your laptop/pc you can start the editing process. Without giving any secrets away, this is a very time consuming process but is needed to present the best quality photos that you can.
For some subjects, such as the dog shows, a considerable number of photos simply aren't useable. Its no exaggeration to say that for every useable photo there's at least one un-useable. Whether its random heads getting in the way, blurry due to the movement, the dogs legs being unflattering - there's a myriad of reasons why a great number of photos can't be used. As we show dogs ourselves we understand that people always want their dogs displayed in the best possible way, and that no-one likes an unflattering photo. We give careful consideration to every photo we use, as at the end of the day we wouldn't want bad photos or badly edited photos of our own dogs online, so we know others would be the same.
Once the photos have been selected and edited, they can be sorted, uploaded, titled, watermarked and displayed.
Wait. And hope that someone likes your work enough to buy a print or other item with it.
If you've read this far then you now have a much better understanding of what goes into that nice photo you've seen online, and hopefully a better appreciation for the time & effort involved.