Indianapolis Family Photographer | So then what’s the balance for!?

Indianapolis Family Photographer | casey and her camera

If you read this last Friday, then you’re probably feeling like you have a pretty good grasp on what a retainer is, why I have it in place, what it’s used for, and why it’s non-refundable in the event of a cancellation. Of course, you always have the option of rescheduling!

I put myself into the shoes of the client last Friday, and as a potential client, my next question might be, ‘well then, what is the balance used for?’. Good question! You already know what the retainer is used for, and if you’ve booked a session with me, you know that the retainer is ALWAYS applied towards the total cost of the booked session or package. All retainers – Simple Sessions and wedding packages – are always 50% of the total cost and are paid upon booking.

The balance, then, is due 30 days prior to the scheduled event or shoot and completes the client payment process…unless the client chooses to purchase print products through casey and her camera.

The balance can be refundable in certain situations (specifics are always detailed in my contract) and covers the remaining costs of doing business, including paying the photographer for their services. Some of these remaining costs are as follows:

  • 30-40% of the total session or package fee (retainer + balance) goes to dear Uncle Sam
  • extending online proofing galleries (wedding packages, only)
  • postage for mailing packages! YAY!
  • compensation to the photographer for services rendered (shooting, editing, blogging, packaging, etc.)

Any money that is left over from the retainer is used to help cover these remaining costs. When it’s all said and done, the retainer covers regular business expenses that exist whether a client is able to attend or must cancel the shoot. The balance, then, is used to cover any post-session costs, as well as pay out the shooter(s). Always keep in mind, you are not paying a photographer for only the time they are shooting the photographs on location – this would make the shoot seem pretty pricey!

Instead, you are paying for a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that happens in between the shooting and the delivery. This is where most of the work happens for photographers, and where much of the ‘hourly rate’ comes from. For example, the hourly rate for a photographer often runs several hundreds of dollars per hour…. let’s say $200/hour. This would seem like a pretty high rate to show up and shoot photos of you and your family, when in fact, this hourly rate encompasses the time it takes to process the images, convert them, package them, post them, etc., all in one hourly rate so as to simplify things for the client. So while it looks like you’re paying $200/hour up front.. you’re actually paying $200/1 hour of shooting = about 3-6 hours of total work depending on the shoot or event shot. Sometimes more.

With everything out in the open there shouldn’t be any feelings of illusion when it comes to the pricing of a photographer. If you’re looking at the costs – whether they be mine or someone else’s – and you can’t seem to figure out where the money goes… don’t hesitate to ask! It’s always better to ask then to be wondering… these are your memories, and your money is hard-earned. You may just learn that one photographer’s hourly rate is higher than another. Maybe they’ve been in the business longer, have more experience, or allow only limited numbers of bookings each season.

So go! Run! Be free! Book those sessions! And make those memories that you will keep forever. 🙂

Indianapolis Family Photographer | casey and her camera

casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Family Photographer specializing in family, couple, lifestyle, senior, and wedding photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.





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