Why is wedding photography so expensive? This question gets asked all the time on bride forums, in emails to me, and pretty much everywhere! It’s easy to throw down $800 on a wedding dress or $500 on flowers, but somehow when it comes time to find someone to take pictures of these important details of a bride’s wedding day she chokes. She starts searching Craigslist to find someone “reasonable”. Now I don’t want to totally knock Craigslist. We have done a wedding from Craigslist once before. We were new, trying to get into the wedding market and the bride was a perfect fit for us. The wedding worked out well and all were happy. There are brides who honestly don’t have the money to spend or don’t care as much about the pictures. That is totally cool. When I got married our budget was as-cheap-as-we-can-get-it budget. Of course I lucked out, going to photography school and having good friends do my wedding for under their normal price as a friend. I hope some day to return the favor somehow! This post is for those brides who have the money but feel they are somehow being cheated by these crazy wedding photographers “rolling in the money” making a “quick buck” off of you because as I have seen brides say on forums before “if you add ‘wedding’ to it, it will be double!” just beacuse. I promise you that is not the case with wedding photographers. I thought I would share with you why we cost what we cost. I hope it educates you and makes you feel better about your decision to spend a little more on the photographer than you thought originally. To make it as short as possible I will list it out.
*48 hours of labor. Have you ever figured out how much it would cost for someone to work for you for 48 hours? How much would you like to get paid for a 45 hour work week? 30 minutes of initial emails back and forth, 1.5 hours to meet you and going over contract to sign. If we can’t meet you then it’s spent talking on the phone, printing out contracts that you have emailed us, mailing them to you. 1 hour preparing for your wedding the day before charging batteries, cleaning equipment, ect. Ben and I each spend approximately 12 hours on the day of your wedding. Then there is 15 hours editing your wedding, .5 hour blogging it, 20 minutes getting them uploaded to Facebook/online photo gallery, 30 minutes custom designing a cd case, 15 minutes in emails finding a time to meet, 1.5 hour meeting in proof session, 30 minutes making changes and ordering products, 30 minutes of looking over the final product to make sure it is correct then delivering it to you whether in hand or by mail if you are a bride of ours from out of town.
* Equipment– we revamped all of our gear this past year spending close to $20,000. Photography is a job that requires constant upgrades to computers and computer programs. Every so many years requires camera body upgrades.
*Taxes– each wedding costs us about 16% of the total cost of the wedding. Along with this is paying social security and b&o taxes.
*Bills- heating and lighting our office along with all the electricity of running a computer 24 hours a day.
*Continuing Education- Photography is constantly changing and there is always something new to learn. It’s important to be a part of photography groups to stay in the loop so we can be the best we can for your wedding.
*Website– these days if you have a sucky website, you will not get business. It costs money and even more time maintaining it.
*Insurance– indemnity and equipment- which is a lot when there’s $20k worth of gear
*Marketing– brides have to find out about us somehow!
So here is just the basics, not to mention all the incidentals nor factoring in experience. I hope this helps as you decide how much a photographer is worth 🙂