For a full time photographer his/her work must cover his liabilities and financial living needs, including professional equipment, but also basics such as food and rent. Let me give you a quick run-through, on how this is achieved.
A photographer's job may involve a variety of services such as private shoots, coachings, studio leasing, event documentation, etc., but here I would like to focus solely on private shoots, as this is my main work.
Firstly, although shoots are typically wrapped up within a few hours, the planning and organizing, communication, editing, and product delivery are all rather time consuming. For this reason, the costs of a shoot must also cover the hours needed to prepare and post-process the event itself, as well as the time spent editing and preparing the photos themselves.
Furthermore, the costs of the equipment used must be covered. These vary strongly depending on the time of acquisition (as equipment may depreciate over time), and the portion used to pay off this part of a photographer's assets depends on the frequency of use and personal needs.
Thirdly, a stylist or make up artist may be desired, which naturally also creates costs, as well as a light assistant.
Then there are indirect costs, such as electricity or software maintenance costs, and travel costs, and lastly possible location costs, such as studio rent.
Let me summarize these:
- photographer costs (/hour)
- individual photograph costs (may be included in photographer's basic costs)
- equipment costs
- stylist/make up artist (fixed rates or hourly in addition to work load)
- light assistant (hourly)
- indirect costs
- travel costs
- studio/location costs