Thanks to the proliferation of cameras in our daily lives (primarily from our smart phones) it’s easy to overlook how much photographers invest in equipment to take a spectacular image. Today we’ll look at a few images and explore what it cost to make it!
Before we begin, I think it’s important to note that there are “hidden costs” in producing an image that won’t be reflected in the totals below. Those costs include the money invested in photography workshops/education, hardware and software for editing, and various other costs involved in getting the shot. We’re only looking at the retail dollar amount for the camera, lenses, lighting, props, and accessories used to capture the image. With that said let’s look at some images.
Photographer: Peter Nguyen (http://500px.com/peter_n)
Gear/Accessory cost to produce image: $4000
Gear breakdown: Nikon D700, Nikon 85mm 1.8
Photographer: Marliese Carmona (http://www.marliesecarmona.com)
Gear/Accessory cost to produce image: $2035
Gear breakdown: Nikon D300, Nikon 35mm 1.8, ePhoto Reflector
Photographer: Ashley Baker (www.ashleybakerphotography.com)
Gear/Accessory cost to produce image: $1450
Gear breakdown: Nikon D7000, Nikon 35mm 1.8, Cowboy Studio Backdrop Stand, Backdrop, Ikea throw, Bean bag, Crochet hat
Photographer: John Francis (http://www.catchlight-studios.com)
Gear/Accessory cost to produce image: $6000
Gear breakdown: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70 1.8 Lens, Quantum T5 flash with battery pack
Photographer: Akram Soliman (https://www.facebook.com/akramsolimanphotos)
Gear/Accessory cost to produce image: $5800
Gear breakdown: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70 2.8LII
Photographer: Miguel Quiles
Gear/Accessory cost to produce image: $6800
Gear breakdown: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 85mm 1.2LII, Einstein strobe, Kacey Beauty Dish, Fotodiox large softbox, Alien Bees B800 strobe, Cheetah C-stand, Linco backdrop stand, 9ft black seamless paper, Materials for hair props from Jo-Ann Fabrics
Photographer: Julie Clegg (www.bailyandbanjo.com)
Gear/Accessory cost to produce image: $3780
Gear breakdown: Canon 5DMK2, Canon 24-105 F4L, Alien Bee B800, Paul C Buff Octabox, Pocket Wizard Triggers
The Bottom Line
Photography is expensive! This post just highlighted the cost of the gear used to take a certain image, but if you combined everything (editing hardware and software, time, education, etc) you’d easily see these numbers double, triple, maybe even quadruple in some cases. What can’t be priced is the pride and joy of those photographed who now have a lifelong image of themselves that they can share with friends and family. The next time you ask a photographer to shoot for free, don’t be offended if they choose not to take the assignment. For many, the investment made thus far has been way too great.
Thank you to all of the photographers who contributed to this post. Make sure you check out their websites to see more of their work!