A Photographer’s Iceberg

A Photographer’s Iceberg

As a brand photographer I create images to help you post with purpose. Images that showcase you and what you offer, to help reach your ideal client, customer or community.

I don’t just take pictures.

A few years ago I heard a story that stuck. Let me paraphrase

A couple had a dinner party, serving a gourmet meal. They spent all day creating the feast for their friends. One of their guests was a photographer and the host commented, “your photos are beautiful, you must have a very good camera”. The photographer replied by saying, “thank you for the wonderful meal, you must have a very good oven”


We have likely all seen the iceberg infographics that shows what the consumer, or client sees a business do above the water, versus the actual involvement under water. The many tasks and expenses that are behind the scenes. 

Every industry has such an iceberg. Some more obvious than others. 

Recently I was on a networking call with creators. A lady showed us a stained glass tea light holder she had designed and made in her art studio. It was $30! I remember silently scoffing and thinking, no-way. Then she explained her process. The detail of her design. The expense of the glass. The precision of her cuts and sauters, and the time involved. Really at $30 she gains to make very little profit. 

I did not understand her iceberg.

A photographer also has an iceberg. As does a social media manager, graphic designer, an event planner, and a chef. Pick an industry and consider their iceberg.

Now I have been a photographer my whole life. My first big girl full time job as a photographer was at 20, and 30 years later (ignore the math), as an entrepreneur my iceberg is real.

Typically what a client realizes involves them is the discovery call, the proposal, the shoot and the actual photos. Everything else is under, or within the iceberg. 


Under the iceberg are all the things we do as a business, for the business. The things within the iceberg are for the benefit of the client, but behind the scenes.

The base of my photographer’s iceberg includes years of training and experience. It includes my equipment (not shown) and all the parts of creating a business. All this before I even get to talk to a potential client. 

As a service provider, when deciding on fees it is not just the one-on-one time spent with a client that goes into the pricing. We don’t always understand this in others, and vice versa.

I really appreciated this when I meet my daughter for lunch after a mini session. She asked what I charged, and I told her. She was shocked that a 30 minute shoot is $225.


What she didn’t realize is that 30 minute shoot likely had a couple hours invested before I even packed all my equipment in the back of my car. Then after the shoot another few hours in post production. Selecting the final images. Enhancing them in photoshop, sizing and saving them for their required use. Uploading them in a gallery, then more emails for delivery and invoicing. So the 30 minute proverbial iceberg was closer to 5 hours of work. 


I recently hired a service provider to create a program for me because I have neither the time, nor the skill set to do it myself. When she gave me her quote I nearly choked, so I had her explain to me the steps she does. I realized the time involved. The learning curve she is releasing me from, and results I will get for my money. Once I understood all that, I did not hesitate in booking her. I understood her iceberg.


What is your iceberg? How surprised do you think others would be at what is below the water line?