pp168: Uhm... nice to read a lot of excuses right here, but all I can say is, that the bride is right! :D
C'mon... 3 grand for a wedding in the US?! It's almost three times more than you would pay for a really good wedding photographer right here in Germany...
I think I have to get a green card... :D
She's not in Germany, what the market bears in Germany has no relation whatsoever to Seattle. Not to be harsh on Germans (you guys make some awesome stuff) but I don't see a lot of influential wedding photography from Germany. Maybe the German market prefers a more straightforward technical approach that flattens out the high end of the market.
fransams: If you are a Pro, and photograpy is your job, you should have to work at least about 1800 hours a year. Then you can do about 50 weddings or other orders per year. So US$ 1500.- is more realistic. There is no reason why the client should pay for an 8 month holiday each year.
And if the Pro would not be a Pro, would he/she not have a car, a computer and internet?
fransamsI look forward to seeing you at WPPI during our "8 month vacation" I am sure you are filling out your business license right this very minute eager to join the rest of us on vacation!
7enderbender: Here is the problem: this discussion can go back and forth and back and forth. "You're a rip-off" - "But here are my expenses plus markup" etc etc.
I think part of the reason why a lot of photographers, artists and actually a lot of other businesses aren't doing so well is because they don't understand pricing.
Here's the rule: Never - and I mean never - justify your price based on your expenses. Yes, calculate your expenses to understand your profit margin. But that's between you, your spouse and the IRS. It is irrelevant to your client. They can care less about your three 5D Mark IIs and how much they cost you. The only reason they hire you is their perceived value they get from your pictures. That's it. End of story. There is no cost+markup argument.
Getting to the actual value is of course difficult in an artistic and emotional field.
That being said: Nikki Wagner should rethink her cost structure and business model a bit. Something is off there.
Gross-Costs= profit this will determine whether or not you can stay in business and thrive. 7enderbender is correct though, the market doesn't care about your cost- the buyers determine what they are willing to pay for a given service and that is a complex thing based on thousands of variables.
capteneo: This conversation confirms what I've long believed about the DPReview community: that it consists mostly of tech-heads who care little for the craft of photography. Many of the comments below are predicated on the belief that with expensive equipment comes good photos (a convenient fiction for all of these hobbyists with pricey kits!); few take the perspective that photography is, in fact, art. When you hire a photographer for your wedding, you're commissioning an artist to bring his vision to bear on your event. If said artist is conscientious, the process will surely require much time, effort, and gear. But that's not the point. You're paying for the art, not the bodies and lenses and flashes. Wedding photography is not some mercenary business, like plugging holes in leaky pipes. It's an artistic endeavor. If you're happy with the results that $2000 of raw gear can buy, more power to you. For those who take photography more seriously, the eye of an artist is worth paying for.
Anyone who creates something with subjectivity is an artist. The artist that can find an audience that values their work will prosper. The marketplace will decide. I for one am amazed at how much great work is being done. Wedding photography is more about art now than ever before.
waxwaine: So you work 4 months of 12 a year. I want that job.
Very few of us work 4 months a year. Those that do have very likely worked very hard to get to the pinnacle of the market first. That is the great thing about our market- you want "that" job? Ok what is stopping you? The argument presupposes that somehow those folks won some random career lottery.
qwertyasdf: I support the bride.Somehow, over generalizing is a fallacy.There are so many photogs out there, I am sure many will charge $3000+ and produce invaluable memories for the newly married
I am sure that even more photogs are charging $3000+ and produce pictures that don't even worth $3...or maybe a value of negative $3000...why? Because ones biggest lifetime event will be trashed...
And applying high school statistics, extreme outliers will skew the mean significantly...probably the mean value produced by photogs are way south of $3000
This is a silly argument. First of all $3000 is a number pulled out of this air and not the true mean. There are photographers charging 100K and some charging $300, this is an incredibly subjectively priced market. Photographers that don't deliver get weeded out pretty quick unless they are truly scraping the bottom of the market in which case you get what you pay for. There are review sites and word online travels very quick if you suck you will not compete very long if at all there is just too many great alternatives.
Eyes: I agree that most wedding photographers are abusing this special moment with an expensive price tag. Sure they want to use or have the best equipment they can use. Having 2 FX bodies and two zoom lens cost nearly $10.000, no car no flash. But they will have a big competitor soon.In Europe Chinese Photographers 3 person will do a complete Wedding reportage including Albums and a video Disk for €1200,-And it looks Professional ! and they come all the way from China!Don't ask me how? That's the price tag and product delivered in 2 weeks time.
If you identify a market that you think is "abused" by overpricing then you have a tremendous opportunity to offer a service at a better price and profit. This is why capitalism (true capitalism) really works. Scarce resources are allocated by supply and demand. If you think we are overcharging then take some classes and come take us on!
DJNPhotog: Two words, "Hazard Pay". I've seen women who are normally nice, mild mannered, sometimes even sweet people turn into absolute monsters when dealing with their wedding. I don't shoot weddings because of that fact. But the bottom line is that as a photographer and business person, I can charge what ever I want. If I decide my time is worth a certain dollar figure then that is my prerogative. The potential client can either hire me or not. That is their prerogative. I don't have to justify my choice to price my services a certain way. If you are curious as to why my service is "expensive" I will gladly explain what I do, how I do it and why I am the best at what I do. But don't expect that I will reduce my price because you think it's too high.
This craigslist ad is a classic example of a bridezilla who has gone all batsh*t crazy and instead of finding a different service provider she goes on a rant and says some really nasty things about an entire industry of people. Not right.
Very well stated, imagine if the wedding photographer market model where applied to healthcare. It is free markets at their purest and best!
nikos theodosiou: Well done Nikki! As a pro wedding photographer of 12 years I hear this a lot!Trouble is now days that digital cameras have devalued photography somewhat and because everyone thinks they are a photographer these days their perception is that is should be cheap! Wrong!Professional wedding photography is a skilled art and if a bride wants everything that a pro comes with then she will have to pay for it!If she wants a Weekend Warrior for $600 fine and good luck to her!I get regular calls from bride saying I'm too expensive or how can I justify charging $1000 for the copy right disc, well for just the same reasons you stated in your reply.I can usually tell now who is the amateur photographer as they always give away their copyrights within their package, why? because they hold little or no value to their work!Professional photographers should charge more for what they do in my opinion.
I have found it is best to just charge enough at the outset and grant the rights to the images always. It doesn't mean I don't value my work- I have charged for it from the very beginning. I see many 10K plus wedding photographers who now grant copyright inclusive. I doubt that you will be able to continue not doing so in the wedding market for much longer. Digital has changed the market and the way people share their images has changed. Charge what you need from the very beginning to deliver images that are ready to share and print.
Nikki's points are valid- although I agree, overstated. I am a full time professional photographer. About 30-40% of my business is wedding photography, the remainder corporate and editorial. It is a myth that wedding photographers are overpaid. Many artist (myself included) underestimate our costs and time especially early on leading us to charge too little in the beginning. The other big disadvantage photographers have is that we don't build equity in our businesses, as most other business owners do.
My bigger concern is the lack of understanding of capitalism and market freedom in general. I think it is great that some wedding photographers can charge 10x what I do and others are 1/4th my pricing. This is the diversity of a free market and competition. It forces all of us to be our best and to solve problems. Free markets allow almost every bride to find a photographer for her budget and tastes. Two axioms hold true: You get what you pay for & There is not such thing as a free lunch