Are you underestimating the time it takes ?

Often I see people who hire out for exorbitant fees when they only do a few hours. I see people gripe about this often enough, though i generally try to think about it before i do, but i just wanted to point a few things out.

A photographer, comes in to take wedding photos, and he charges you $4k for what appears to be a quick easy money job.

What actually happens: That person sits down and finds out what you want (i hope!). They find what car you are in, check what room is in the car, where the bride will be dressing, where the groom is dressing, where the church is, what route the cars are taking. they will often spend a week before hand checking out driving routes and alternative routes to make sure they can get photos of all these places and not get stuck or lost.
They will spend time checking out the venues before the take, the lighting inside the church or reception area, and any potential other backdrops for official photos.

Often they find out how much family is going to be there, to arrange what photos they will have with what family members, and on the day they will usually have lists and lists of these.

For the next week or so afterwards they sift through the thousands of photos, editing, touching up, and removing the little shit in the background who was doing the finger etc.

So now we are getting an idea on where the money is going, but wait, you are not only paying for the work, but the expertise.

Knowing what positions will look good for those who are a bit chunky and missed the wedding diet. Knowing how to arrange a group of people so they look balanced and good. Knowing how to tell people who don’t want to be told where to sit or move to and how to hold their hands. Knowing body language and how that translates into photos, and most of all, knowing how to make people smile.

Knowing what light looks good, what is flattering, whats not. What gear to use and what settings to put that gear on is another whole paragraph at least just to begin with, But what a lot of it boils down to is experience and knowledge.

Whilst I’ve used wedding photography in this example, this covers a lot of other industries. You are not paying a Designer for the 5 hours he spent doing the design, but the years of knowledge he has about what is going to look good, what wont, general do’s and don’ts that your nephew may not quiet have the hang of, even if he can do some design work.

So next time you think about what somebody gets paid, check out what really goes into the job 🙂

6 Replies to “Are you underestimating the time it takes ?”

  1. This brings to mind an oldie, but a goodie:

    Pushing button: $1
    Knowing exactly which button to push: $199

    The other thing that needs to be taken into account is that very often you just _don’t know_ how long a particular job is going to take.

    Many people try to mitigate the Planning Fallacy (ask Wikipedia) by padding estimates, often by doubling or tripling what they think the job will take – and, even though they do their absolute best, the actual time spent is almost always closer to the double or triple than it is to the initial estimate.

    They may not know it as the Planning Fallacy – more likely, they’ve learned it the hard way.

  2. Hey! Is it okay that I go a bit off topic? I am trying to read your post on my iPod Touch but it doesn’t display properly, do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance! Hipolito

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