Why professional photographers charge high hourly rate?

The hourly rate that professional photographers charge actually covers

- The work/time making communication with clients before and after the photo session through phone, email and/or text message.

- Depreciation, damages, insurance, and usage of the expensive professional photography equipment.

- Labor, time and skill level serviced at the photo session

- Labor, time and skill level provided at the photo post process work after your photo session. (It normally takes about 4 times of the work/time of the photo session. When you hire me for 1 hour of party photography service, I actually spend another 4 hours after your party on photo post process work, before having your photos delivered.)

- Lots of other fees/expenses apply to photographer for running a professional service, such as photo storage (both local and online), licenses, insurance, photo editing software, business advertisement, marketing, equipment maintenance, etc...

You probably do not care how much expenses that a professional photographer needs to spend for running a photography service. What you need to know is, an hourly rate actually covers total 5 hours of work from my service (1 hour of photo session + 4 hours of photo editing work). 

Therefore, when you hire someone to take photos for you at $100 hourly rate, if same amount of time/work is provided, that's about $20 per hour, that people make by flipping burgers. And the expectation for what you will get should be at $20 per hour service level.

What is the definition of a professional photographer?

In short, when your major income comes from photography, you are entitled as a professional photographer.

When someone makes $10k a year from a part time job, and $20k a year by doing photography, this person can call himself/herself a professional photographer. The equipment used, the result delivered, and the services provided, do not affect the fact that this person is a professional photographer. That is why some professional photographers charge $150 per hour and some professional photographers charge $450 per hour. You get what you pay for. Of course, there are people who own some photography equipment, claim themselves a professional photographer, charge at bottom market rate, and try to get your case.

What are the differences between service packages?

Majorly, it is quality and quantity. When a package comes with lots of photos as a result, the quality of the photos may not at its best, comparing to another package which comes with less photos in quantity.

When you need something like a photo record in life, a package comes with higher quantity and lower quality of photos could be right for you. When you need photos that you would love to share, post online, or even make it becomes a wonderful memory in life, a package comes with lower quantity and higher quality of photos should be your best choice.

Why original photos are not provided from most of my services?

There are 2 major reasons that I do not deliver original photos.

1. I take multiple photos from the same scene in order to have a best photo from there. I then choose the best one to edit and deliver. While we have the best photo from a scene, the very similar and worse ones will not be needed. And I select, edit and deliver all good photos.

2. Except very few packages that I take in JPEG format and deliver all JPEG photos, I majorly shoot in RAW format. RAW format is a data file which is not viewable like regular JPEG photos. I use certain software to view, select and edit from RAW file, then export the final result in JPEG format for delivery. While original photos is in RAW format, as it's not viewable like JPEG photos and the file size is huge, I do not deliver originals.