How much does that photo REALLY cost to create?


So for something different lately, I have been working on a workshop. I get a lot of people asking how I get that ‘look’, or lighting/processing questions.   So for some fun over the winter I thought  I’d share the bit of photo lighting knowledge I have with those that are up for it. Workshop dates coming soon.  The first workshop will be more where you’ll get to shoot in studio, and do shoot stuff you normally wouldn’t be able to, and I’ll be there to help you and make you a better photographer. Hopefully.

Last week we were working on images and setups we would share with you all.

The image above is one that garnered a lot of attention from photographers. They wanted to know how it was created. A few people even commented saying that they would like a photo of them self like this and asked how it could done… well this is how:

I thought I would take a different angle in today’s blog.
Instead of saying we need to get paid, how about say I do it for free BUT now you need to get everyone to do the shoot, what is the real cost of putting a shoot like this together, not including the actual photographer?…..

I hear a lot about exposure, credit etc.  So for today’s blog, presume I say sure “I will do your photo on for free but you have to cover the costs”…sounds great right. So today is an estimate of if you wanted me to recreate  the shot above for you. We will say you the reader are the model for that shot.

One of the things I think people are not aware of is the cost of doing a shoot – not what I get paid – but the cost to make it actually happen. For the blog’s sake, I am not gonna talk about the hour or two I have to sit and plan the shoot with you, set up everyone involved or talk about the time processing, nor will I talk about my studio lights costs or my Nikon camera or lenses etc.

So the day has come, let’s shoot:

1/ Studio Space ~ half day rate approximate $300.00

2/Motorcycle – liberally $75.00 to cover gas, time, insurance. Also, you don’t want to be the one moving their bike around, so the owner is gonna stick around, gotta compensate them for their time.

3/ We need 2 – 9ft black seamless background papers $150.00 give or take for the backgrounds. For the shot above we used one – to get the extra space of the 2nd would make the shot much better. By the way, some one needs to pick these monsters up and get them to the location.

4/ Make Up artist – approximately  $150.00

5/Assistant  – $50.00

6/ Gas, food, variable expenses $50.00

So to recreate that shot would be about $750.00.

To do  a shot like that one, you need a large place inside that you can bring a motorcycle in for starters, then you need a high ceiling to get the light up and above. For that shot I used a 5ft Octobox over Tamara, then used 2 strip lights on the sides.  The backgrounds work out to be about 20 feet wide and we need to be about 15-20 feet back. That’s a LARGE space.

I didn’t mention that maybe you might want to pick up new clothes for your shoot. Maybe even hire a stylist to help you at the shoot as well since they come with loads of clothes, props, extra jewelery etc. Then you might want your hair done.

Imagine paying everyone but the person that brought it all together. That shot costs about $750.00 and that doesn’t include the photographer’s time, skill, eye, gear, or post processing. A lot of great people, planning, tools, and time go into making a good photo.

I just thought it might be fun to share what it would cost (give or take) to do a photo like the one above.
What’s scary, is that’s probably on the cheap side.  The shoot for most of the people in involved will be 3hrs.

They all gotta get their prep and set-up, get the model ready for the shoot, then shoot.

Just thought I’d share what it costs to shoot a beautiful lady on a motorcycle.


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