Everyone keeps asking on average how long it takes me to edit a session. Since I don't have a lot of sessions right now, I figured I would try to clock editing my newborn session that I recently did. I don't provide as many photos with newborn sessions as I do during family sessions, but I consider it equivalent because I spend more time on each image adjusting skin tones, getting rid of newborn acne, erasing "safety fingers" from the images.
The session itself took 3 hours, from preparing the area, setting up my equipment, posing and shooting the baby, mom and dad changing and feeding the baby, getting the baby back to sleep, shooting some more, etc.
I also drove to Jackson from Ann Arbor and back, so that would be about 50 minutes each way, so, let's say 2 hours for driving, especially since I got lost in the subdivision and spent 7 minutes driving around like a crazy person!
So right there, 5 hours already! Ok, next onto trying to time editing.
The day I shoot photos, I ALWAYS go through and pick some of my favorites to show online. I spend about an hour to an hour and a half uploading all of my images onto my computer and backing them up onto my external hard drive, incase anything happens. That hour also includes shuffling through the images and editing a few of my favorite photos to upload onto facebook and other social media sites, to promote my business. So now my total is up to 6.5 hours.
I have a tendency when I edit to get distracted by things on the internet, so timing was always really difficult. But today, I hung out at my mom's house and pretty much worked on this newborn session until it was over. Starting at 12:30pm, and taking some time out to take care of our sick puppy, eat dinner, and distraction breaks, I ended at 11:45 pm, and equaled to about 8.5 hours of working on photos, just today.
8.5 + 6.5 = 15 hours.
Throughout the last week, when I got done with working a full day at my other job (I also work about 35 hours a week at a bakery), I came home, made dinner, gave my kitties and my husband some affection, and tried picking up the house. When everyone is up, it seems like I can't get a good work flow going because I haven't seen them all day and I want to spend time with my family. So, Derek goes to bed about 10 or 11, and then I am up until 2 or 3 am editing and watching Doctor Who on Netflix. so, I spent about 3 hours a night actually getting to work on images, times 5 nights, totaling another 15 hours.
30 hours total.
I recently adjusted my prices, so currently, my regular sessions are $150. So, automatically deducting 30% for taxes, I have $105 to divide by the 30 hours I spent driving, photographing, and editing. That equals out to $3.50 per hour. Wow. That's NOT as much as I thought it would be.
Now, I'm not going to go off on a complete rant on what I spent to get to where I am, but I'll go into it enough. I spent approximately $55,000 for my Bachelor's degree, studying art and photography. Since I just graduated, I am still paying off those student loans. I have spent nearly $10,000 in cameras, gear, rentals, props, photo editing software, and my laptop. I hope this puts things into perspective as to why photographers charge what they do, and why I really should be charging more, or figure out how to stop being an OCD stickler on editing.
Ok, my "mind-blown" moment is done.