What Photography Really Costs

What Blog Photography Really Costs - Dress Up, Chow Down

Investing in professional photography is a really personal decision and depends largely on circumstance. Sometimes you want to hire one but you simply don’t have the money. Others – like Jesica from Classic in Gray – find taking their own photos to be more beneficial. What’s the right answer? Is there one?

Today’s blog is for the bloggers that are considering hiring professional photographers but don’t know what to expect. I want to shed some light on the actual costs you’ll incur from hiring them and how it can still be worth at the end of the day. After all, I can’t ignore all the questions I’ve been getting 😉

(I’ve worked with 5 professional photographers, 1 non-professional, and also shoot my own photos.)

What Blog Photography Really Costs - Dress Up, Chow Down


Rate is the cost per unit of a service. Sometimes the unit will be time related like rate per hour or rate per two hours. This is common for portrait sessions. For big projects like weddings and engagement photos, you’ll get a rate per project. You may even get a rate per # of photos edited, although this is not as common.

In my experience, fashion photography qualifies as a portrait session so rates per hour are most commonly given. I prefer to shoot in two hour blocks because I can fit in more outfits, so I always ask for this rate. Expect anywhere from $190 CAD to $300 USD per two hours. Rate will vary by experience.

Of course, there are ways to save money on photographers. You could go with someone who has less experience. I’ve had new photographers ask for permission to shoot a portrait for me in exchange for helping them build their portfolio. You can also save money by having a friend shoot you or getting another blogger to shoot you in exchange for shooting them! I can’t guarantee the results though… 👿

What Blog Photography Really Costs - Dress Up, Chow Down


Sh*t gets real stressful when you’re shooting with a photographer. You have to operate within time constraints and sometimes you don’t get to shoot everything you want to shoot. Which means you may have to drop an additional chunk of change just to get it all done i.e. sponsored content with tight deadlines.

You also have to fight the sun as well as traffic. When I shoot at golden hour in the evening, I’m always feeling rushed because I don’t want to get stuck in a situation where the sun has set and I still have another outfit to go. And being from Windsor I also have to worry about potential jams at the border! Ugh! 🙁

It takes experience to figure out how many outfits you can get done in an hour or two. Don’t worry. Just shoot once, figure it out, and adjust for next time. To be safe, leave early for your shoot. Efficiency is key.

What Blog Photography Really Costs - Dress Up, Chow Down


When you shoot by yourself, you can decide when you want to go. If the weather is horrible, you can shoot another time, no problem. But, when you shoot with a photographer, you have a lot less wiggle room – especially if the photographer’s schedule is jam-packed with other sessions AKA no rain check, honey.

With this one, you can’t really work around it. You just have to accept that you have 1 or 2 hours to really make it count. From experience, I know that squeezing 4 outfits in 2 hours can be tough. So I always go into a shoot expecting to finish at least 3 outfits and I’ll bring a 4th outfit to shoot if there’s some time leftover.

What Blog Photography Really Costs - Dress Up, Chow Down

Final Words

Although I have an eye for photography – particularly landscape and architecture – and although I DO shoot some of my blog and Instagram photos, I’m pretty slow at it. Like Gary from Spongebob Squarepants slow 🙂

Hiring a photographer for portraits means I get more done in a certain time span. At this technical skill level, I could never shoot myself as quickly as a photographer can. I also can’t edit as fast as a professional. Plus, it’s nice to be able to focus on the other aspects of blogging.

Like writing – because writer’s block is a b*tch, amirite? 👿

At the end of the day, remember that someone’s best practice is not necessarily suitable for you. Do your research and assess the fit of the value and expense with your lifestyle. Personally, I wanted to hold myself to a certain standard of quality when it came to the visuals for my blog (I even got a logo done) and decided that I was willing and capable of making the investment 🙂

What are your concerns with professional photography? Leave me your thoughts in the comments!



  • More efficient shooting and editing
  • Possible long-term business relationship
  • Less worry for equipment and props than shooting alone


  • High investment cost
  • Time restraints
  • Flexibility issues

Check out Mattieologie’s Periscope for what it REALLY takes to become a SUCCESSFUL full-time blogger.

Photography by Alora Rachelle

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Thuy from lifestyle blog, Dress Up, Chow Down shares tips on choosing your photographer. Photos by Alora Rachelle.