For most brides and grooms wedding photography is an important aspect in their wedding planning process and they expect to spend a good amount of money on booking a great photographer. However, most people still have sticker shock when they see the price of different wedding photographers. Why is wedding photography priced the way it is? This blog post will break down some of your photographers expenses and help put it into perspective.
Time and Talent of Your Photographer
Out of all your wedding vendors, your photographer is one of the vendors that will spend the most time preparing and finalizing your wedding details. (Videographers and wedding coordinators fit into this category as well). Not only will your wedding photographer be with you for your whole wedding day but they also have to spend a good deal of time after the wedding editing your images. Before the wedding your photographer has probably met with you and had several email/phone meetings with you as well that is also calculated into their time. Even though they are only with you for around 8 hours on the wedding day, they are spending 30+ hours editing your images and have probably spent 5-10 hours in meetings leading up to your wedding.
Besides the time it takes, you are also hiring your photographer for the images they produce. A good photographer brushes up on their craft and talent and will attend workshops, classes, and expos to make sure they are up to par and are offering you the best products and services possible.
A lot of articles that talk about the price of wedding photography always includes the photography equipment into the pricing. I have always disliked that because we aren't buying a new camera for every wedding. However, we do have to factor in depreciation expense into each wedding. Our cameras, memory cards, hard drives, computers, bags, lens, etc all lose value with each wedding we photograph. Our cameras are only good for so many photos. After a certain shutter count our camera will start not working properly. Our memory cards are only good for so long before they can become corrupt, our hard drives can only hold so many images, our lens/bags/computers take wear and tear and need to be replaced after so long.
Each of these item's depreciation value needs to be factored into each wedding so we won't be losing money in the long run.
Your photographer will be editing your images and we need different software to do so. Some software will be a one time fee and others are monthly fees. These fees will be spread out across the different weddings we book.
We have to have insurance. Insurance for our equipment, car, liability, as well as health insurance. Depending on what state you live in, some photographers will even need a special insurance so they can photograph in certain venues. These insurance costs are spread out and factored into our wedding costs.
Bank fees, credit card processing fees, parking fees, website hosting fees, domain fees all are broken down and included in pricing.
We are a business, which means we must pay taxes! Ask any photographer (or any business owner) and we will shudder when we talk about how much taxes we have to pay.
Depending on your photographer, they may have employees. I just have one employee, a second shooter, but other photographers may hire a office manager, social media manager, and others.
We also hire accountants, lawyers, bookkeepers, etc. Even though they don't work directly for us, we still have to hire and pay them for their services.
Postage and Packaging
We must pay to mail your disc/usb/album/etc to you. Along with the postage we have to pay for the disc/usb/album/etc and all other things we include in our mailings.
Gas and Vehicle Maintenance
We have to drive to and from your wedding which causes wear and tear on our vehicle as well as gas expenses.
As someone who has a marketing minor, I can tell you all about advertising and how you must spend money to make money. I spend so much money on advertising. It is worth it, but we still have to factor it into our prices. Without doing any advertising, we wouldn't be able to reach new brides and grooms and wouldn't be able to book weddings.
There are still a lot more expenses that aren't listed above such as equipment maintenance, gifts, meals/snacks/refreshments during client meetings, and so many others.
Hopefully this shed a little light on why wedding photography costs what it does.
Monday Wedding Madness is a blog series that occurs every Monday and answers the questions you have about wedding photography. Have a question you would like to have answered or something that you wish you would have known before your wedding or are you a wedding professional who would like to contribute? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.