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Wedding photographer explains the reasons behind 'unrealistic' prices

By dpreview staff on Jan 27, 2012 at 02:31 GMT

PetaPixel has published an excellent response from a photographer to a Seattle-area bride criticizing the pricing of wedding photographers. In a remarkably calm response, Nikki Wagner details the expenses connected to her wedding photography business, dismissing the idea that wedding photographers set their prices high simply because they can. After reading Wagner's response it's understandable why the bride is having so much trouble finding an 'exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer' that she also deems 'decently priced.' The post also acts as a reminder that there can be good reasons why there's a gap between what a product or service costs and how much you think it should be priced. (From PetaPixel)

The poster 'has yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.'

Comments

Total comments: 784
34567
AnHund
By AnHund (Jan 27, 2012)

That is a pretty strange calculation.

20 weddings = about 200 hours at the weedings + post processing etc. 20x25= 500 hours. That is a total of 700 hours per year.

And your earnings are $50.000 = $71 per hour or propably more likely $80/hour (used max. number of hours you mentioned). That is not too bad is it?

Most people work at least 1500 hours a year.

Maybe if you lowered your charge and worked a little more there would be a much better relationship between your income and your spendings. And the customers would think the price was more fair.

0 upvotes
Bob Meyer
By Bob Meyer (Jan 27, 2012)

It's clear you know nothing about business. Her work isn't like yours (apparently) where you get to keep all your take home pay. She has legitimate expenses for business costs that have to come out of that $50K. Costs your employee pays for you.

You really are clueless.

3 upvotes
DLBlack
By DLBlack (Jan 27, 2012)

From knowing several good wedding photographers it takes about 80 to 100 hours to do the pre-wedding meeting with B&G , wedding day, photo editing and post wedding meeting with B&G. Then there is the equipment cost and the knowledge and skills of a professional. From my shoting of a few weddings for friends and relatives the 80 to 100 hours does seem about right.

1 upvote
Nikonworks
By Nikonworks (Jan 27, 2012)

I am reminded about the home owner complaining about her plumber's invoice for $100 for replacing one bolt on her home's plumbing.

The plumber responded the invoice breakdown was as follows: $1 for the new bolt, $99 for his knowledge of which bolt needed replacing.

This bride to be equates the photographer life with hers in an ignorant way.

She passes judgement on the integrity of photographers.

The one good thing is photographers reading her listing are warned to stay away by her comments.

The kind of bride to be will never be satisfied with her wedding pictures.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jan 27, 2012)

Unfortunately, the argument of knowledge (or "quality") is not the argument the photographer makes. The argument she uses is, using your plumber analogy, "I have a really expensive wrench".

That's a spectacularly stupid argument.

4 upvotes
DUMB4SS
By DUMB4SS (Jan 27, 2012)

But the bride who quite likely thinks that uncle bob with his compact camera can produce the same quality work as the pro with the great lenses is frequently proven horribly and irretrievably wrong

2 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 27, 2012)

"But the bride who quite likely thinks that uncle bob with his compact camera can produce the same quality work as the pro with the great lenses is frequently proven horribly and irretrievably wrong"

True.. But...on the flip side of that argument... There is the bride who thinks Uncle Bob with his pro full frame DSLR can and will exceed the quality of the so called pro photographers too

1 upvote
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jan 27, 2012)

And sometimes Uncle Bob IS actually better than several of the $3000 photographers, because, you know, there are actually a lot of absolute crap pro photographers out there.

Or Uncle Bob is just, you know, simply a good artist.

There is a snobism at work here. I know several bad, bad photographers with good equipment. I know several excellent photographers, pro and not, with mediocre equipment.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 27, 2012)

But the vast majority of photographers out there are mediocre photographers with mediocre equipment... at best ...

0 upvotes
DUMB4SS
By DUMB4SS (Jan 29, 2012)

Agreed, but many brides do not value talent, skill, integrity and dedication. All they want is some cheap snapshots, so book a cheap photographer and don't complain that the high end ones are too expensive.

0 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (Jan 27, 2012)

There is a lot of different prices out there. But if an honest photographer ask 3 grands for a total weeding shoot, there is some reasons.

If you can't afford it then, don't buy it !

Or ask a friend who have an Iphone or a DSLR to make your photos.

What an EMO post ...

Poor girl ...

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 27, 2012)

Knowone said the person couldn't afford it, they don't want to spend it. There is a diff. Just because someone doesn't have a pro photo business doesn't mean they are not as good with the camera. Again, some do do it for hobby like myself.. and they take same or better quality pics then the ripoff $3k to $5k so called pros.

0 upvotes
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jan 27, 2012)

Of course the bride is a douche, because there is no need to whine about the price. If she contacted Annie Leibovitz, what would the quote be? And would she post a whiny rant about that price at craigslist of all places?

If the bride had posted a simple want-ad without ranting she would easily have found exactly what she was looking for.

Because it's a free market.

But here's the kicker; the wedding photographer is ALSO a douche for posting that answer. It's basically "hey now I have really nice gear and it's expensive to make a living as a full-time photographer". Lady, both are 100% your own choices about your life and your work. It's no argument at all for or against the price for a wedding shoot.

The CORRECT answer would be "it's a free market and I'm good" (I do think she's pretty good, not the best, but good). I also think she's worth the $2500, in fact, probably more. And that's what matters.

But in this douche battle I'm strongly supporting neither side and so should you.

2 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 27, 2012)

Right on Magnus... why on Earth waste your time either way ?
:-)
Cheers!

0 upvotes
Atlasman
By Atlasman (Jan 27, 2012)

This should not have been dignified by this post. And any attempt at an argument sanctions validity.

1 upvote
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Jan 27, 2012)

There are a few logic faults in the response imo.

First, no one has to choose to pay 600 a month for a car. I make about 40k a year as a teacher and would never be so irresponsible to use about half of my take home pay for transportation. We saved and purchased our cars with cash. I've never had a car payment in my life. So leasing a car for $400 a month and paying $200 a month for insurance is a choice; one which I think is crazy.

Second, 50k a year for 4 months of work is very very good imo. What is she doing the other 8 months?

That said, $2000-2500 is not too much for a skilled wedding photographer. The results they can deliver is just so much better than all but the most skilled amateurs. I've shot weddings before for less money. I simply am not worth more, and most people who think they are "good enough" to jump in and do this without significant investment in time, money, and professional development are grandstanding.

My .02

3 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 27, 2012)

""There are a few logic faults in the response imo.
First, no one has to choose to pay 600 a month for a car. I make about 40k a year as a teacher and would never be so irresponsible to use about half of my take home pay for transportation. We saved and purchased our cars with cash. I've never had a car payment in my life. So leasing a car for $400 a month and paying $200 a month for insurance is a choice; one which I think is crazy.""

There is some flawed logic in this reponse. Telling people how to spend their $$, which I think is crazy. If you are going to tell people how to spend their $$, then...To some, leasing a car for $400 a month is nothing a drop in the bucket. It depends on your income and situation. It can also be said that paying cash for a new car is silly too, esp with 0% financing or if you want a new car that is always covered under warranty every 3 to 5 yrs, which leasing would favor.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 27, 2012)

"maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos :)"

Because LOVE does pay for roof overhead and food on the table...

Who's that? Soni and Cher?

0 upvotes
JMartinP
By JMartinP (Jan 27, 2012)

I think her arguments are brilliant! I'll use this for my next salary negotiation. "Since I only work one day a week, I should make at least five times more per hour than my colleges working full time"

10 upvotes
JMartinP
By JMartinP (Jan 27, 2012)

"And unlike most of my colleagues, I need extra money to finance a house and a car"

2 upvotes
skrulm8
By skrulm8 (Jan 27, 2012)

"And then, after I've spent all my money, I'm left with no profit. That's how hard my job is!"

3 upvotes
JMartinP
By JMartinP (Jan 28, 2012)

"And in contrast to most other humans, I even need shoes! Because my job sometimes involves walking"

0 upvotes
thinkfat
By thinkfat (Jan 27, 2012)

Seeing how a lot of responses here give "well-meaning" comments to actual wedding photographers confirming statements, how backing up data on dvd costs only that much and post processing a whole set of wedding footage can not last 25 hours.

In envy you all. Ignorance is bliss.

1 upvote
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jan 27, 2012)

Yeah. In fact, one of the reasons for me not happily doing weddings is the enormous mount of boring post-processing one must do. It's just not worth it and someone who hasn't done it (or one with low standards) cannot possibly imagine the dread.

3 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Jan 27, 2012)

"Yeah. In fact, one of the reasons for me not happily doing weddings is the enormous mount of boring post-processing one must do. It's just not worth it and someone who hasn't done it (or one with low standards) cannot possibly imagine the dread."

Sorry to say.. If you learn to get it right in camera, frame correctly (A skill that is disappearing with digital photography) use the proper camera and lenses for the job, then there isn't that much need for massive time consuming post processing. It's as simple as that. There are many pros that use best quality JPG.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
CharlieDIY
By CharlieDIY (Jan 27, 2012)

Yeah, of course, you can absolutely control shadows and zits and...pfui!

1 upvote
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jan 27, 2012)

Fullframer, you fit the description of "low standards" like a glove.

CharlieDIY: Exactly.

1 upvote
Vaards
By Vaards (Jan 27, 2012)

I agree with bride.
400$ for average of best photographers is good price. It`s just matter of time when some harder crisis will hit. After that, a lot of advanced hobbyists will go for wedding extra income. At that moment prices can fall to almost nothing. I have seen this personally.

0 upvotes
Stephen 06
By Stephen 06 (Jan 27, 2012)

Charrick.....
You keep calling the respondee photographer a "he". It's a woman. Who's the "douche" now, eh?

0 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Jan 27, 2012)

Caps lock, multiple screamers, un-grammar. Whatever the issues involved the above mail is written by a halfwit.
Roy

1 upvote
rightwinger
By rightwinger (Jan 27, 2012)

Half? You have higher regard for her than I.....

0 upvotes
Ohm
By Ohm (Jan 27, 2012)

I understand and agree with this pro point of view, and I think 2000 to 3000$ for a complete weeding "package" (shoot, book, dvd, extra hours, etc..) is clearly fair enough.

What I just can't accept is the unfair calculation he explains to prove his point.

For god sake, he removed his car lease rent and car insurance from his gross income ! (even the total rent is multiplied by 12 months for a 4 months season of work).
Same with the house, 600$ for the rent remove from weddings income.

Great, anyone has this kind of charges and doesn't simply ask his boss a higher pay to compensate it.

I strongly disagree with the way the articles try to look dramatic.

6 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (Jan 27, 2012)

Of course. Im amazed by this EMO post.

0 upvotes
Antonio RS
By Antonio RS (Jan 27, 2012)

1. The response is not calm at all.
2. He makes $50,000 in four months,not bad at all. And,8 months left.
3. I did not know you could add the price of your rent/mortgage, car, car insurance, shoe wear out, etc. that is, living, into "related" costs to justify what you charge. I am going to tell my boss to pay me more because my clothes wear out when in contact with the office chair :-)
4. He was doing so well (or maybe not), and then he ends with "on why we charge $3,000 for one day of your memories that are going to last you forever". And with that proved the bride completely right. Pity, after such long "calm" thought response.

My wedding was photographed by my uncle (he had a decent camera at the time). Now that I pay attention to others wedding pictures, they all look the same (similar type of background, same positions, etc). I saved a ton of money, plus, my pictures may not be the best but for sure are unique and kind of candid. Glad I decided to not hire a "real photographer".

3 upvotes
Antonio RS
By Antonio RS (Jan 27, 2012)

Sorry, please, replace "She" where "he". Did not check that who signed the letter was a woman.

1 upvote
maboleth
By maboleth (Jan 27, 2012)

We'd like to see your images so we could enjoy them in the same way you did. No offense, but your comment is typical for people who have zero understanding of photography and what it takes to make it work and look good.

"My wedding was photographed by my uncle (he had a decent camera at the time)."
You said it all with that sentence. Your uncle(!) had a decent camera...
Darn, I'd like to buy a decent camera so I could start taking great pictures!

2 upvotes
Antonio RS
By Antonio RS (Jan 27, 2012)

No offense taken.
I agree, there is more to it than a camera. I am sure most professionals are worth what they are paid.
And no offense, but to say "lack of understanding" is the typical comment of someone that does not know how to justify something. It is better to give arguments. I amd glad you agree that most wedding photographers take pictures that look almost the same since that part you do not criticize. In my argument you only criticize my uncle and his camera :-), I assume you did not find anything wrong with the rest.
Other than that, the answer of that photographer, imo, did not make a favor to the rest of professionals.

1 upvote
digifan
By digifan (Jan 27, 2012)

The problem is that you are employed and your boss pays taxes on top of what you "earn". If you earn 50.000 a year it means you company cost for you are ~75.000.
She is her own company, like I am. It's not only employment tax (salary tax) that comes your way.
I guess the other lady is right, there's so much problems with people and their bankaccount because they cannot do the math. Buy all stuff on monthly payments etc. They can't see the wood for the trees anymore.

Some expenses are tax deductable but you must be very careful, it's the same here in the Netherlands. If you deducted to much you can expect a nice fine your way.

I make nice money off of photography but I can't affort expensive sports cars.
You have to have a new car ever few years because you can't affort to be stuck somewhere driving to your appointment. The same goes for equippement.

Why do you think photographers carry backup camera's.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
CharlieDIY
By CharlieDIY (Jan 27, 2012)

You need to check the costs of running a business: even with a personal car, IRS allows a centers per mile for business use. If you don't figure in wear and tear on clothing that occurs when you're working then you're paying taxes on money you use to make money, which you should never do.

On a salary, you expect, or hope, to be making enough money to buy your britches when they get holes in them, but for on-the-job clothing that is seldom suitable for other wear, wedding, and other, photographers need to at least consider the tax deduction...and talk with their accountant about it.

I don't imagine you're buying insurance on your boss's office gear, you you can bet he is, unless the company is so large it self-insures. Talk to him about business expenses one day. You might be surprised.

0 upvotes
Inthebag
By Inthebag (Jan 27, 2012)

So this guy earns $50,000 a year from doing weddings.
He pays out for expenses $43,000 a year.

He's already said he does other things during the other 8 months.

So, the wedding side of his business is only for 4 months, or 1/3rd of a year.
So really his expenses from doing weddings is only $43,000/3= $14,334 a year.

This leaves a profit of £50,000-$14,334=$35,666 from weddings.
20 weddings / $35,666 = $1783.30 profit per wedding.

She may have a point.

Paul

4 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Jan 27, 2012)

Another one that has no business and cannot count. It's shamefull to see so many so called educated people being such idiots.
Go back and start an economy and business course you id...!

1 upvote
Daryl Cheshire
By Daryl Cheshire (Jan 27, 2012)

Yeah, I have a Canon 5D Mk II and most of the gear a wedding photographer has but but I'm not a pro and I have turned down requests to 'do' weddings because it is harder than it looks and the couple will never be happy with my work.

I'm not a people photographer and I cannot direct people for photos.

I photograph outdoors (as an amateur) and don't know anything about indoor lighting.

Wedding photographers (indeed, any photographer) has years of experience and run businesses. I'm not that person.

4 upvotes
JIMMYCHENG
By JIMMYCHENG (Jan 27, 2012)

Pretty good response. I like it from that point of view. I do have all these costs associated with every wedding and I charge £1300 per wedding. Don't forget that nowadays DSLR only last about 2 to 3 years depending on the number of weddings you have each year. Then you pretty much have to replace them. Each shutter has a life of around 150k to 200k actuations. Then each lens needs a service every year or two. Computer upgrades... I have to replace my computer every 4 years because of something wrong (completely broke down). Insurance, traveling (ever increasing petrol prices)... etc.

But most important is our experience and consistenncy to perform.

We are professionals, not amateurs. That's a big difference!

2 upvotes
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jan 27, 2012)

What in the world do you do with your lenses? Do you use Petri equipment?

0 upvotes
JIMMYCHENG
By JIMMYCHENG (Jan 27, 2012)

I shot indoor and outdoor weddings, locations... etc. Rain and dust will make your lenses less reliable over time, doesn't matter if they have seals or not. Servicing is needed to keep them good and reliable mate.

0 upvotes
Charrick
By Charrick (Jan 27, 2012)

What a self-righteous douche. I don't mean the bride. I mean the photographer who responded. Many photographers are like minimalist "artists" - they expect to get tremendous money from very little work...and they often do.

As has already been stated, this person works only 4 months, or 1/3rd of a year, and makes $50,000 from that. My advice to Nikki is to get a job on the side, like for the majority of the year. In fact, you can call your photography job your job on the side.

Does she not realize that most people work 12 months a year and don't make that much?...me, included.

Her logic is like this: I only take Easter photos, and I only have about a week to do it. Thus, I must make $50,000 in one week. In one week, I can only manage to do 2 shoots (because of converting RAW files), so I must be paid $25,000 per shoot. That's absurd.

Also, she acts like he wouldn't have broadband internet, or own a car in normal life, since those "luxuries" are listed as work expenses.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
10 upvotes
bigdaddave
By bigdaddave (Jan 27, 2012)

I couldn't agree more. Wedding photography is so easy in digital yet the guys who do it think they're so special.

They should try some still-life and commercial work before they inflate their charges.

7 upvotes
antiq
By antiq (Jan 27, 2012)

This is not true.

2 upvotes
John Motts
By John Motts (Jan 27, 2012)

"As has already been stated, this person works only 4 months, or 1/3rd of a year, and makes $50,000 from that."

Please get your facts straight. This photographer does not make $50,000 from that. She turns over $50,000. That's before all operating expenses. Why is this so difficult to understand.

If Walmart sell something for $10, they do not make $10 on it.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Jan 27, 2012)

No her logic is not that.
Most weddings are in spring and summer, so it's a limited time to have opportunity to have enough customers. There are more than one photographer available to shoot, you need to do marketing to draw clients, during the wedding season there's a lot of time involved in preparation for the shoot, the shoot itself (with assistant(s)) and the aftermath (editing, making a nice album, doing some enlargements and the DVD) that's more than a days work. A wedding may take 10 working days to fully complete. Don't forget that all is included. When running a business you have to pay for your facilities like your employer is doing for you. Or do you think the building rent tools is all free and the salary he pays you is the only expense he has.
I think you amateurs are very short sighted, with no business education or whatsoever.
Come on man, really.

1 upvote
Plasmoic
By Plasmoic (Jan 27, 2012)

exactly my thoughts...the photographer reasoning is far from being "perfect" as claimed...
get a job for those 8 months, rather than thinking how to spend that 7000 left after costs and live for another 240 days...
and afterall, if you let the equipment you claim is so expensive (and it is) to sleep for 8 months then yes it "surprisingly" will turn out to be expensive in your business model...
and if you do some other works during those 8 months, not including them into your revenue cost "analysis" is more than a dishonest attempt to posit facts in a biased but seemingly honest way...

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

THE COAST OF FREEDOM...

About me, I charge between 1 500 € and 3 000 € for a Wedding in Europe. More Abroad.
With 10 to 15 Weddings a Year, it is enough for living.
My Goal is not to be "Rockfeller". I want to have time for living with my Son, to travel, for me...
Each Wedding is one or two Days of Shooting and a minimum of a Week for an Editing...
I do not love the photographers and the video directors who complain all the time. We are Independents. We are free to work or not. It is necessary to know how to make an adjustment. Those who are not satisfied have to change their Job to become State employee.

2 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (Jan 27, 2012)

Well, for one, I like your response better than hers.

Some photography is expensive because people who are willing to do it, are willing to do it on this conditions and at that price.

Same goes for many other arts and industries.

0 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Jan 27, 2012)

Well WeddingEtCetera Com
From your post it's very clear to me you'tre no independant pro.
I don't believe you for a second.
You can try selling 15 weddings at €1500-3000 to me, but you fail. It means gross 30.000 max. You will starve after taxes. Come on don't sell me for an idiot, you have no business else your figures would look totally different!!!!

2 upvotes
7enderbender
By 7enderbender (Jan 27, 2012)

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 wife and the IRS. But it's 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.

That being said: Nikki Wagner should rethink his cost structure and business model a bit. Something is off there.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Dear Digifan
If you take a look on legal Mentions on my Website > WeddingEtCetera.Com, you will have all legal Mentions about my Company. It is an Obligation in France, in Europe tu publish Legal Mentions.
Cheers...

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Dear Digifan
If you take a look on legal Mentions on my Website > WeddingEtCetera.Com, you will have all legal Mentions about my Company. It is an Obligation in France, in Europe tu publish Legal Mentions.
Cheers...

0 upvotes
Andreas Roca
By Andreas Roca (Jan 27, 2012)

Another good reason not to get married... :)

11 upvotes
Hugo600si
By Hugo600si (Jan 27, 2012)

I payed around 5000 euro for my wedding and I'm perfectly happy with that price...why? Because I sat down with them went through all the options, special requests (multiple albums on hand made paper with special edge cut, framed poster prints etc) and I knew exactly what I was paying for. Part exclusivity as he is a rather famous photographer (high hourly wage). I did not want a 1 bundle price without insight, I would also not have someone work on my house without a more detailed quote.

I do not think this was an appropriate calm response, it sounds to me he's a bit of an amateur in dealing business. Business like this is done face to face, if the bride does not think the hourly wage is worth it they should look elsewhere for either a brilliant starter or someone who has less work. Alternatively the photographer can offer a different package, but if that's not part of his business model...no shame in not getting a deal, just make sure its all on the table.

0 upvotes
Fredrik strm
By Fredrik strm (Jan 27, 2012)

20 weddings with 33 hours of work (which sounds alot) is just 660 hours in a year.
Normal people work 2000 hours in a year, so of course you are going to have to charge 3 times as much as it is worth when you only want to work 1/3 of the time.

Do more weddings, then you can be cheaper and still make the same money.
You charge more because you can, just like she says.

/F

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 27, 2012)

it´s a woman.. bad at math i guess.

0 upvotes
tigrebleu
By tigrebleu (Jan 27, 2012)

Charging less doesn't means the photographer will automatically get more weddings.

In the wedding market, not a lot of photographers are doing more than 30 per year. Why? Simply because people usually marry on weekends (which means only 104 wedding days per year available to a single photographer) and between April and September (unless you live in Florida or another sub-tropical place where it's warm all year long), which is about 6-7 months a year, for a total of 48-56 weekends days. I don't know a lot of people who would marry on mondays or in the middle of winter, as brides want this day to be special, which usuallly includes being sunny and warm.

And a photographer shooting a wedding on a Friday is unlikely to shoot another wedding on saturday, because many brides expects the photos to be delivered on sunday or monday at worse. So we're now down to 24-28 weddings a year for a given photographer.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
tigrebleu
By tigrebleu (Jan 27, 2012)

And also, that photographer will not get all of these wedding assignements, no matter how good he or she is. Because some of these to-be-married people will ask their uncle John, their friend Linda to do the pictures for free or very cheap, or they will hire the photographer that made the photos at the bride's sister wedding.

And most brides want their photos to be unique. A wedding photographer doing 60 weddings a year usually ends up producing the exact same photos from one wedding to another. And yet the brides have no issues spending 2K or 3K on a wedding dress and another 2K on a reception and 5-course dinner in the chic ballroom of a beautiful hotel, but they refuse to spend a similar amount on a photographer that can bring back home magnificient memories of this important event.

If a bride finds wedding photographers prices too high, she can always convince a freshly out-of-school photography student or an amateur to work for much less. With the risks it involves.

0 upvotes
Fredrik strm
By Fredrik strm (Jan 27, 2012)

In sweden brides go on honeymoons after the wedding and don't expect photos for two weeks. If the photopgrapher can't fill the calender with weddings then there are many other things to photograph. Seems too lazy just to use the camera on saturdays and lay in bed the rest of the week. Perhaps get a real job and shoot weddings on the side?

0 upvotes
olyflyer
By olyflyer (Jan 27, 2012)

Exactly. Part time work means normally part time income. She works 1/3rd of what other people have to yet she wants full time salary. Nice. I want it that way as well...

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Jan 27, 2012)

This may scare off some would-be-professional photographers. :D

0 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (Jan 27, 2012)

1. The response does not mention the value of the photographers talent, so I will assume the photographer has none, or it has little/no value.

2. The photographer is hiring another photographer for only $200 a day, but expects the bride to pay 15x that.

3. 25 hours in post is just madness. Learn to be more efficient.

4. Editing on an iMac screen.

I get to hear wedding photographers bitch and moan about their clients queries all the time, trying to justify price based on the cost of their gear, the effort of having to carry such heavy gear, the effort of knowing how to blur away the background with their special f/2.8 lenses. The amount of time they spend in post fixing up their own mistakes. And then getting the client to wait several weeks while the images are sent to some other place to get printed by someone other than the photographer.

Perhaps brides and grooms should hire an expert to judge the value of a photographers talent, just like getting anything else important valued.

2 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Dear Fmian
I agre with you.
On a 2 000 € Wedding, my Assistant earns between 600 and 1 000 €
Not not forget in France, on each Service, we have 19,6 % of Vat and +- 30 % of Social Taxes.
Cheers

0 upvotes
jpfaria
By jpfaria (Jan 27, 2012)

Are there weddings all year around? I guess so or you would be charging more!! That's the point.....

0 upvotes
John Motts
By John Motts (Jan 27, 2012)

Firstly, there's nothing whatsoever wrong with working to a high standard on a calibrated iMac screen.

And secondly, spending a lot of time in post is nothing to do with fixing mistakes. It's about doing the job to the highest standards. Basically you're saying that Ansel Adams was a terrible photographer.

It's amazing how many people sit and criticise other people's professions with so very little knowledge.

We are talking about taking wedding photography to the highest level, which is what the client is demanding. Not talking about someone just producing a few boring old group shots.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Dear Jpfaria
I do not need an Assistant on all Weddings. An Assistant is an Independant, not a Salary. He has is own "Business"...
About me, I charge between 1 500 € and 3 000 € for a Wedding in Europe. More Abroad.
With 10 to 15 Weddings a Year, it is enough for living.
My Goal is not to be "Rockfeller". I want to have time for living with my Son, to travel, for me...
Each Wedding is one or two Days of Shooting and a minimum of a Week for an Editing...
I do not love the photographers and the video directors who complain all the time. We are Independents. We are free to work or not. It is necessary to know how to make an adjustment. Those who are not satisfied have to change their Job to become State employee.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jan 27, 2012)

Now I'm no mac guy (in fact I loathe macs) but imacs feature H-IPS panels from LG, so they are of very high quality.

Generally I agree with you though. But it's a free market.

0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 27, 2012)

3. "Learn to be more efficient"... That's funny. And a bit ignorant. A bit.

Let's see, my wife and I come back from a wedding with around 3600 pictures between the two of us. First selection pass means just opening the picture , look at it, rate it, close it, and so on. If one's very good and efficient, on good hardware, this can take 5-8 seconds per shot. Times 3600 means somewhere between 5-8 hours on first pass alone. I would love to be able to spend only 25 hours per wedding client.

0 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (Jan 27, 2012)

John, Ansell Adams was not a wedding photographer. He didn't charge by the hour. He charged per image I would imagine. So that's a whole different thing.

Most time spent in workflow management IS fixing your mistakes. Culling down to 2 albums worth of shots, making sure colour is consistent, cropping and re-framing. All the time spent doing this can be minimised greatly by not pressing the shutter button so much, scoping out the lighting temps beforehand, and tuning your eye to specific focal lengths. The current slew of wedding photographers shoot like the paparazzi.

iMac screens are low end 8-bit. IPS panels. Your DSLR is 12-14bit. Apple telling you they are perfect for color reproduction and such are feeding you garbage. Sure, you can do a lot worse, but you can do much better. Ignoring the internal panel itself, the glossy exterior alone will prevent you from seeing accurate colours.
Whether it is good enough for any one individual depends on what standard you are trying to set.

0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 27, 2012)

With all due respect fmian, I disagree with the "press the shutter less" statement. Apart from the formal shots, shooting a wedding is a very fluid situation that more often than not is shot in pretty poor conditions. From high-noon outdoor ceremonies to dark churches and weird DJ accent lights/ lasers, the average wedding warrior has to also be at the right time, with the right settings and right focal length in the right position every single time. That's IF that said wedding warrior is worth its salt. Even so getting everything right on the camera is unrealistic. I've been in this business for quite some time and I still have my challenges.
This wedding business is not an easy one... you're over-simplifying a bit...
Cheers!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (Jan 27, 2012)

Poss, sure I would not expect any photographer to get it right in camera all the time.
But 3600 shots is way over the top when you only need to fill 2 albums.
That's a 30:1 bin to print ratio, assuming each album holds 60 images.

0 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Jan 27, 2012)

@WeddingEtCetera...
Again you lie through your teeth 19.6% taxes or the 20% in hte Netherlands is customer side on buying luxury goods. You might have a very lenient tax climate but here in the Netherlands taxes are a little bit higher than the 30% you propose.
We are talking about a €30.000 to 40.000 turnover, which isn't your salary, you definately cannot calculate. Where in France can you live of off €10.000 a year, show me and I wil migrate to your beautiful france.
Oh yeah, and your trip expenses to get to HongKong, Avon etc you pay from your own pocket, come on man.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 27, 2012)

Fmian, 2x60 images for a full day of shooting is a pretty poor outcome for a full day wedding don't you think? We have never gave out less than 800 pictures to any of our clients. Not everything gets into an album and not every client wants one.

If one calls himself a wedding pro, one better have way more than just 120 pictures for that day.

Just out of curiosity... how many weddings have you shot professionally? Just curious nothing more...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (Jan 28, 2012)

Poss, giving 800 final images to the client is absolutely insane. My mind is blown looking at your numbers.
Your average wedding from 15+ years ago would rarely yield 150+ awesome photos. Have weddings become 8x more exciting since then? Or has 8fps cameras and 32gb cards made everyone think they are a better photographer?
I have made absolutely zero dollars from taking photos, except for a $900 prize I won for a self portrait. I have shot one wedding for free for a friend, without too much prior photographic experience.
Sure I made some rookie errors, but it took me 4-5 hours in post and they had low res images for web deployment the following afternoon. I initially took 1200 shots (not proud of that, but I was a first timer overcompensating) and gave them about 120. I did not show them any other shots. Why would I subject them to erroneous variations of the same shot? It was my selective eye that chose the images I wanted them to see, that I believe captured the event accurately.

0 upvotes
fmian
By fmian (Jan 28, 2012)

Continued.
I work casual in a mini lab/camera shop and run into so called 'pro' photographers all the time who don't know what 1/125 on the camera screen means, or don't know how to use an 18% grey card, or think sRGB is a colour temperature, or call light diffusers 'hoods'.
Sometimes I have the displeasure of printing a brides $5k wedding images where I am faced with the conundrum of trying to fix blown highlights, and creating a more consistent colour balance, and attempting to fix green/blue zombie bride skin.
So you can see why I am attacking $5k 'professionals' who cannot do their jobs correctly.
I'll be working casual as a camera operator this year, and having it possibly be my main source of income.
Will I call myself a 'Pro' photographer? Hell no. Not when the standards have dropped and most 'Pro' results are amateur at best.
I'm kind of reluctant to even call myself a photographer, for fear of being pooled in a sea of mediocrity.

0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 28, 2012)

Fmian, again with all due respect, all our clients today hire photographic coverage of their events. If we would be limited by the bounds of the set moments throughout the wedding day plus the formals then you'd be right. 15 years ago no one sold coverage because no one except perhaps a few lucky rich ones could afford it. The cost of film, processing and proofing would have been prohibitive.
15 years ago I would not have shot the whole processional, and recessional. No one did. Couple of shots of the bride walking down the isle, a couple of the newlyweds coming out after the ceremony and that was about the size of it. Grand entrances at reception? Again just two or three of the couple coming in...
Weddings are not necessarily more exciting today. We're simply getting more of what happens at the request of our clients, that's all.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 28, 2012)

In terms of being a pro, I can't comment really. If w're talking deriving some form of income from photographic activities then a LOT of people can claim that. If we're talking things like being and acting professional the numbers drop sharply. Adding being incorporated, paying taxes and business insurance brings about another, even sharper drop in numbers. I'm afraid to add deep actual photographic knowledge (technical and artistic) to the requirements. I would not be in that list anymore :-)

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Dear Henri
I aggre with you.
I film Weddings in London, Paris, New York, Beijing, Roma, Avon, San Francisco, Block Island, Saas-Fee, Capri, Marbella, Los Angeles, Portofino, Zug, Monaco, Bruxelles, Positano, Newport, etc.
A Photographer or a Videographer can live easealy a Year with only 10 to 20 Weddings a Year... I do it for 19 years.
Beyond, it is only to be a "Wedding Factory". Not an "Artist"...
Cheers

Pier-Yves
Http://www.WeddingEtCetera.Com

0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (Jan 27, 2012)

I have been married three times. These are vows you make to one another. Not to a dress designer, caterer or photographer. What you wear, how you look and what you eat and drink are irrelevant, utterly completely irrelevant.

If you choose to waste your money and your parent's money on stuff, that's your business, but if the bride imagines that somehow to be special she needs the most expensive clothes she is obviously a bad investment of their money and your feelings and your time.

But if you want to give me a lot of money to record your wedding.............

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 27, 2012)

three times.... so the vows did not work out i guess.... ;)

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 27, 2012)

Spot on and hilarious "munro harrap". Thank you for the post. Don't ever lose your sense of humor.

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
welshwizard
By welshwizard (Jan 27, 2012)

Having done weddings, I feel the responder hasn't taken full advantage and ripped the bride to pieces..

As for the bride - I feel for the groom, what a life he has ahead of him. She dispalys all of the hallmarks of an 'armchair expert' based on the acquisition of a cheap DSLR and then wondering why a $3000 wedding costs what it does when using a $500 camera will suffice. But when she starts baulking at the price having paid out $15k already, I begin to wonder what value she puts in the oath and sanctity of marriage - she knows the price of everything BUT THE VALUE OF NOTHING

7 upvotes
mjbauer
By mjbauer (Jan 27, 2012)

Just another Bridezilla that didn't get her way

4 upvotes
Dave Weinstein
By Dave Weinstein (Jan 30, 2012)

And clearly your response as a professional is better?

You've chose to BULLY and INSULT the customer!

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 27, 2012)

20 weddings a year.... thats his calculation? thats all he does in a year?
hell that must be a great life.....

that means he works only 40-50 days a year?

i envy him.....

4 upvotes
blacklion
By blacklion (Jan 27, 2012)

You think, post-processing, printing, etc. takes 1 day? I doubt that.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 27, 2012)

well i do post processing myself.
and i know how wedding photographer work.
my sister had their wedding pictures after 2 days.
my cousine also after 2 days.
and the photographer paid some student/freelancer 200 euro for doing it.
while he was shooting something else.

it´s not as most wedding shooter do beauty retouching on all the images they shoot.

so lets say maybe 40 days postprocessing.. now that does not change much.

the calculation still sucks....

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
jpfaria
By jpfaria (Jan 27, 2012)

@Henry M. Hertz: That's all you got from the article?? Of course it's not ALL that he does, or else, all the calculation that he does on the article that you didn't read would get to a negative value and every year he would mortgage his property or starve....
It's a pretty good discription of how complicated it is to run a small business!

1 upvote
Martin Grecner
By Martin Grecner (Jan 27, 2012)

I fully agree, such calculation is not fair. Attaching all his costs (even an Internet connection) to only 50 days of work is misleading.

0 upvotes
blacklion
By blacklion (Jan 27, 2012)

I cannot read all comments (TL; DR ;-)) but here are one item, that caught my eye: ""I pay $200/wedding for a second shooter for your wedding"".
Is it Ok!? Shooting costs $3000+. I understand, that part of this price is printing, etc., but, but... Second shooter needs her equipment, too. Yes, second shooter doesn't spent time on "developing" of images. But, in any case, it seems as huge disproportion!

And, as side comment: maybe, it will be better for shooter don't say "package is $3000,'' which looks huge, but something like ``Shooting is $100/hour, processing $5/photo, printing $1/photo + materials (here goes link to shop with price),'' something like this. In such case it will be much easier to accept "Total: $3000" I don't know, may be, in reality it is exactly what they do (I don't live in USA).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andreas-AM
By Andreas-AM (Jan 27, 2012)

a remarkably calm response.... no way!

This is a response saying nothing else but "Hey you stupid, you have no clue about business. YOu are childish and I explain the world to you - although I am really upset about your complaints!"

For one part I understand that people are upset, if their pricing is questioned (in this way), on the other hand - this kind of funny listing (at the end saying Hey bride, I do it because it is my opassion - I am not making money with it) does not help at all.

0 upvotes
jpfaria
By jpfaria (Jan 27, 2012)

How would you have said it?

0 upvotes
Andreas-AM
By Andreas-AM (Jan 27, 2012)

In simpe words: More kindly. More from a customer's perspective. Such as:

While I understand that you are not happy with the cost involved in getting professional wedding photos, I would like to make the cost transparent, hoping that you understand.

And so on.

The post, as is is just redicolus and ignorimg the customer's point of view totally - in fact it is banging my customer.

0 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Jan 27, 2012)

@ Andrea's-AM
Yes she has NO clue of business, and it's perffectly fine to make that clear to this "know it all" bridezilla.

0 upvotes
RicohGRDIV
By RicohGRDIV (Jan 27, 2012)

Its economics isn't it, pay how much they want, or end another photographer, or get a friend, or don't bother...

Pay your money and make your choice

1 upvote
Ceesprof
By Ceesprof (Jan 27, 2012)

I one find a marriage so expensive, one can decide not to marry.

1 upvote
RicohGRDIV
By RicohGRDIV (Jan 27, 2012)

Try getting divorced, its much more expensive

3 upvotes
welshwizard
By welshwizard (Jan 27, 2012)

I had one couple starting divorcing proceedings once I had put in a reprint order - nothing to do with the pics thought

0 upvotes
Hulamike
By Hulamike (Jan 27, 2012)

So far everyone is missing the point. The bride thinks you're ripping her off because most young people today don't see anything special about photography. It's something "everyone" does with their cellphones all the time. There's a new paradigm in place and professional wedding photographers are trying to ignor the obvious. It will only get worse as the immediacy of uploading to social media continues to trump tradition thereby eroding whatever special place wedding photography once inhabited.

2 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Jan 27, 2012)

Young people and social media aren't the root causes. Cameras are simply getting better, and people are starting to make photography part of snapping the moment to remember, not a professional art form.

0 upvotes
GreenmanToo
By GreenmanToo (Jan 27, 2012)

Good points and it's always been that way. The successful wedding photographer is the one who adopts styles/trends early, before they become commonplace. Eg. 35mm for intimate shots instead of static medium format poses; B&W when everyone else did colour, books instead of loose photo albums; DVDs; on-line albums before social network sites took over; decent movies...and so on. The wedding photographer has to stay ahead to remain relevant. This all costs money up front.
The next trend is interactive publishing. I am presently developing something along those lines with iBooks Author aimed at iPad usage. If the money is there, I might even include an subsidised iPad in the deal to provide something unique. I guess the message is, to stay relevant you have to invest(spend upfront) in the future then claim it back over the next few jobs whilst keeping an eye on the next 'thing' that might render your uniqueness redundant.

0 upvotes
VincentWSLim
By VincentWSLim (Jan 27, 2012)

Photography is undergoing an industrialization trend. In the past, equipment are expensive and require a lot of technical knowledge to get the most of of the photo.

However, newer generations of cameras has taken a lot of the technical out of the technique and render it easy for most people to get pretty good pictures.

Like the artisan who hand make the furniture, the weaver to hand wove the cloth, the artistic line of photography is subjected to the same democratizition process.

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 27, 2012)

So you say if a photograph is technically good it's a good one and anybody who can hold one of the newest cameras and press the shutter release is a photographer. Like people who sing in their bathroom think they are talented singers. It makes me wander if this is the level people value any form of art or a unique talent they must be paying a lot of money for a piece of crap because the packaging is shiny. But hey! why am I surprised in these days content doesn't matter as long as it covers up any inferiority complex I might have.

1 upvote
Giorgist
By Giorgist (Jan 27, 2012)

Well I have a story. A friend wanted to have a wedding at a reception. She asked to book a hall and have it catered. She said it was just for a family gathering. On the day she rocked up wearing a wedding dress. The price for the hall was half of what it would be had she simply said ... I want it for a wedding. They where upset, but they couldn't do anything. All she wanted was food and a hall for people. Same goes for photographers and hair dressers ... that said women do get carried away. They do ridiculous things to their hair and make it look like a bower bird in a nest. Honestly they start hyperventilating a year before the wedding and everybody in their path, photographers included can smell the cash flow

0 upvotes
delete
By delete (Jan 27, 2012)

The photographer writes

"All of that being said, I’m usually in the hole at the end of the year, and take on many family portraits, senior portraits and corporate jobs in order to make ends meet."

So why does she wedding jobs at all if she loses money on them? Doesn't sound logical to me.

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 27, 2012)

Eerrmm...Maybe she is brave enough to do a job she enjoys doing and make money from it as well as other kinds of photography to come up with a total so she can live. Is it so difficult to work out how one survives? Or maybe people like her shouldn't exist or be allowed to live.

1 upvote
sparkling elk
By sparkling elk (Jan 27, 2012)

2/2
there is only one problem: the photos are not satisfying. But for this, you can give a satisfaction guarantee. My point: a skilled and worked out wedding collection takes a lot of time. The time itself justifies such a price. If you count all the expenses and equipment, it is an idealistic job.

0 upvotes
sparkling elk
By sparkling elk (Jan 27, 2012)

1/1
This caculation (response from photographer) is explaining the situation of a professional wedding photographer, but not clearly the working time and artistic value of a good wedding shooting. Think about 3000 frames and viewing them all (this only takes a couple of hours), comparing similar photos to pick the right one, postprocessing basic parameters (contrast, light, frame etc), putting them into a context, postprocessing many of the selected photos to work out a pleasing touch (with a lot of care) – and telling the most beautiful story through 400,500 beautiful photos. If you spend 10 hours for the shooting itself (not to talk about traveling and all what comes with it) and if you really dedicate yourself to work out houndreds and houndreds of photos like that, spending 20,30 (or more hours) on them, where is the problem to justify 2500$ ?

2 upvotes
Fog Maker
By Fog Maker (Jan 27, 2012)

Anyone who takes 3000 shots at a wedding is an incompetent idiot.

1 upvote
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Dear Fog Maker
You right. I am "Professional" and I do only 10 to 15 Weddings a Year. It is my Choice. On each Event, I do only 1 to 2 hours of Raw Footage... A Photographer with 1000 or 3000 Shots is only a "Push Button"...
Cheers..

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 27, 2012)

what wedding photographer works only on 20 weddings a year?

he does not work the other days?

that calculation is bullsh*t from a 5th grader....

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Dear Henri
I aggre with you. A Photographer or a Videographer can live easealy a Year with only 10 to 20 Weddings a Year... Beyond, it is only to be a "Wedding Factory". Not an Artist...

1 upvote
dave_bass5
By dave_bass5 (Jan 27, 2012)

I have the up most respect for wedding photographers. Playing in a band and doing around 30 weddings a year i have seen how hard they work and know i couldnt do it.
Saying that, im just an amateur but talking to a lot of these guys it seems they aren't worth what they charge, based on the shots they show me and their amount of knowledge.
As someone has had, some use scripts to PP all thier images (ive also been told this on numerous occasions) and having seen some of the end results i think some do get ripped off.
Yes, the word Wedding seems to be a licence for making money to some.

Thats not to say the majority aren't worth what they charge, but price is not a 100% guarantee of quality.

I found the photographers cost breakdown a bit of a waste of time. split all that cost between 20+ weddings, over how ever many years and its not that much. Bands spend way more yet get paid less.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 27, 2012)

yeah sure it´s hard to work 20 days a years + 20 days editing. that really a hard life... ROTFL
his calculation sucks.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
D200_4me
By D200_4me (Jan 27, 2012)

Reading that lists of expenses from the wedding photographer reminds me of why I'm happy not to be a pro. The money, or lack thereof. I know some people can make it pay well, but most of the photographers I know personally that only have this as their income are not making much money. I fell for them. I'm content to do it as a hobby and keep my very good paying job. I don't envy pro photogs.

0 upvotes
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Jan 27, 2012)

I find the truth to be somewhere in the middle. As many pointed out in the comments, some things could be done cheaper by the photographer herself. I see this whole thing as a clash of a bitchy to-be-wife and a bitchy prfessional *art* photographer. No offense intended on either side.

While there is no answer from the bitchy to-be-wife, I cannot say anything in her defense, but I hope she read the reaction from Nikki Wagner and realized one or more things. It would be for her best.

The photographer gave some valuable arguments, but overall I have a feeling that she is also exaggerating a bit. The problem here is maybe her own view of Photograhpy as an ART (which si fine) and she wants the best to get the result, naturally with the highest costs (mentioned in some comments here already, I will not repeat that). That is also fine.

The problem here is a completly different understanding of the term Photography. Each side sees something different behind it.

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 27, 2012)

Most people compare apples with pears here.While the photographer's breakdown of expenses may or may not be flawed, the issue here is that someone is looking for an amazing,talented photographer but doesn't want to pay for it. Which of you amazingly talented people would settle for something as little as what a talentless person gets. It is also sad to see here that some people trumpet about market forces even when it is about photographs required to be aesthetically pleasing and captures the right moment so the viewer has an emotional response to them. Sure some people will do it better than others it is your responsibility to find the one before you judge how much a photo session should cost. But everybody takes pictures now and they even get the chance to exhibit them publicly on the net so we are all equally talented aren't we? While the corporate execs laugh all the way to the bank they will be so happy to have found some more people who suck up to their "free market" theories.

1 upvote
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Jan 27, 2012)

You are missing the point, if people are not willing to pay they will get cr*p, but that does not mean they can afford anything else. If there are not enough people willing to pay you for your work, find another job.

I looked into starting a portrait studio and gave up because most of the people doing it where I live have a fair amount of talent but also a rich, indulgent spouse. No way I can earn a living from it, just like most musicians and actors. The saying "don't give up the day job" is as valid as ever.

Professional photography is getting harder because rightly or wrongly people perceive photography as getting easier, and you know what? It is. It may be HARD WORK but the craft is a lot easier to learn than it once was.

1 upvote
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Jan 27, 2012)

You are right, I am not missing it, but cannot write such long comment including the facts you mentioned.

I am a professional system administrator and photograpghy is my hobby. I am happy to do some events that pay for the cameras and lenses I bought, well it did not pay itself off yet and hardly ever will. Knowin a few professional photographers who make their living with photography, it is far from easy. Also knowing the amount of hard work it takes, the prices of the gear, etc. But none of them is like the bitchy photographer who answered the original rant with another rant. I also play in a band (well, not anymore), and the moeny we got for our concerts hardly payed for the gas, not to mention the instruments. Nowdays I shoot concerts of other groups for free and give them the pics to support the blues community. I am NOT doing it for money and the fact that some of my pics came out printed in books makes me feel good that the pictures did not end up as just as 0-1s on the HDD.

1 upvote
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Jan 27, 2012)

Whoops, I had a serious eye-brain malfunction, I thought your comment was on my comment, now I see it is to another one. Sorry. Mine is just above the comment you replied to. Have a nice weekend.

EDIT: Both replies are to the reply from CriticalI, not the OP.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 27, 2012)

First, I am not defending the photographer. I am not surprised you decided not to go full time with photography. As you say you didn't have enough talent or you chickened out. Some people still prefer to do a job they like despite a low income. Ideas and visions make products not the other way around. Have you heard of a word "passion"? But you also say people will get "crap" if they don't pay. I fail to see where your argument starts. Photography isn't getting any easier but "taking photographs" is. Problem is, on what basis people differentiate a good picture from a bad one. And with the current trends and cultures the content is less and less important as long as the product is perceived to be good and trendy or "cool". So the lady who complained about the price of a photographer is probably one of those mindless consumer types trying to substitute her shortcomings in life with things without paying attention to content. I feel sorry for the groom. Or maybe they deserve each other.

0 upvotes
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Jan 27, 2012)

Perhaps you have a problem with reading comprehension. There is no need to get personal.

Talent and ambition are not in themselves professions. They only work as professions if someone is willing to pay you enough to cover your living expenses. Most artists, musicians and actors, some with considerable talent, have day jobs.

Even if only 1 in 1000 people has the kind of talent required to be a wedding photographer (and I am being generous) if 100X more people now have access to the necessary equipment and facilities there are still 100X as many potential wedding photographers.

What kept people out of photography was the high cost of entry. Costs are driven by supply and demand. There is now a huge supply side glut and the demand is not great enough to cover it.

0 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Jan 27, 2012)

Well I just quoted from your post. Those are your words. May be that you have a difficulty expressing yourself effectively and correctly ie; in photography

0 upvotes
Medy Siregar
By Medy Siregar (Jan 27, 2012)

Just a suggestion, for those who only has seasonal wedding photo, why dont you guys work with wedding photographers in tropical country, where wedding season is the whole year. IMHO

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

TO BE CONTINUED. That is what I write to the prospect. Part Three

About your photographer !!
- Does your photographer guarantee you for life his photos ?
- What guarantee does he give you for the expectancy life of his paper photo ?
- Will he still have your photos in 10 years ?
About us :
- I am video director, not videomaker.
- We use the truths DVD. They are guaranteed for life. I have all my films since I started 19 years ago.
- We exchange them to you free of charge if you damage them.
To finish, I am going to tell you a true story. A few years ago, I "lost" a Wedding film because the customer found me too expensive. She appealed to a video director who charged only 700 Euro for his services. In September, 2009, I received the following e-mail: << I paid 700 Euro, I had it for 700 Euro. Today, I cannot read any more my DVD.>>
Sorry for her but the quality buys itself. If a provider sells little expensively, it means that his service is worth only it.
I wish you a nice wedding…

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Jan 27, 2012)

there ar tonns of programs for backuping DVD. To pay 2 or 3 000 $ instead of $700 just because you can't make a backup copy of your wedding dvd is extremely supid.

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Your read wrong. I do a backup on all my Films.
I was speaking of an e-mail I received from a non Client I did not have.
Cheers

1 upvote
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

TO BE CONTINUED. That is what I write to the prospect. Part Two

In Video, the most important is not the shooting but the editing after...
I do not want to depreciate the work of the photographers. However, their work is easy.
- We can make beautiful photos with a camera costing 700 Euro. I am also photographer.
- It sets less than one hour to sort out photos and burn a DVD for a simple Celebration OR a Full Day Wedding. Most Photographers use a "script". It is an automatic process on Photoshop.
In video, my naked camcorder costs already 9 000 Euro. We are also dependent of an editing with Final Cut Studio 2 > 1 000 Euros.
I have not an iMac but a MacPro. Cost : 4 500 Euros.
For 20 minutes of recording, is needed a FULL DAY of editing. 5 to 10 days for a full day Wedding.
After, it is necessary to practise the DVD authoriging. Every engraving sets 45 minutes.

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

TO BE CONTINUED. That is what I write to the prospect. Part One.

Dear
I am tired to hear that we are expensive while you go to spend fortunes in elements which are not going to last.
- How much do you pay for this dress that you will wear only once ?
- How much do you pay for this meal which will be digested a few hours having been gulped down ?
- How much do you pay a for a Celebrant who is, in fact, just a Comedian ?
- How much do you pay to organize your Wedding in France ?
- How much cost a photographer in your own country ? When I go in your country, my rate begins in 2 500 Euro without flight, for Usa, it starts at $ 3,950.
- How can you say that I am expensive while you have never viewed my movies ?
Do you think that France is a "Banana Republic" ? In France, on every service, there is 19,6 % of taxes and approximately 30 % of welfare costs.
Did you see my references on my Website ? Do I am just a wedding videomaker for you ?

0 upvotes
WeddingEtCetera Com
By WeddingEtCetera Com (Jan 27, 2012)

Bonjour
I am Wedding Videographer in France, Europe and Abroad > WeddingEtCetera.Com
However, I think that Nikki Wabgner "cheats" a little.
• A Camera and equipment is for a few years. It passes in depreciation over several years.
• He deducts what he also uses for personal reasons. Car, Apartment, etc.
Examples :
• He does 50 Weddings a years. It is 50 or 100 Days of Travel. Not 365 Days.
• My Office is 10 % of the surface of my appartement. I deducte 10 % for accounting. For my car, I need to separate the kilometers for Job and the others for personal reasons.
• I am sorry but most of Photographers I met on Wedding have only a Camera and an iMac. They do NOT DO correction of Photographies ONE BY ONE. They do a Script with Photoshop. Most of them have ONLY a Nikon D7000 or Canon 70D for examples. To have a L Lens Series is not an obligation.
We have the same problems in France. Other problem is that the customer wants to pay cheaper for a Video report than for a Photo report.

1 upvote
delastro
By delastro (Jan 27, 2012)

This discussion is a documentation about the change of jobs in the digital age.

In Germany more and more people with digital cameras are looking for jobs and try wedding photography as working place because in the fields portrait, job-photos and children the prices fall down in the last years.

It is very interesting to find the discussion here because this shows the actual change in all parts of the world.

More and more people have digital cameras and more and more people want to earn money with it.

It is clear that "professionals" talk about the investment. But the question is what is a good wedding photo. And the reality shows that the standard has changed.

And the industray makes the rest: Albums can made online with very attractives covers for low price. Good photos can made with cheap cameras like a D3100 or a Canon 600D or other brands and so on.

Some people will say I want a photographer and I pay 1000/2000/3000 Dollars or more. But this group becomes smaller.

0 upvotes
njkdo
By njkdo (Jan 27, 2012)

Yes, and the surgeon took me 100.000 $ only for open my belly and sew it, I do the same with roast for free...what a shame.

0 upvotes
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Jan 27, 2012)

Wedding photographs are optional. Most people nowadays are HAPPY to settle for less because they don't see the point in spending $5,000 for an album when they can share photos with their friends on facebook for free.

No-one owes anyone a living. If you can't earn money doing one thing stop whining and do something else. Same rule for everyone.

0 upvotes
fillrobs
By fillrobs (Nov 30, 2012)

Surely paying a professional such as <a href="http://www.blackgoldphotography.co.uk">http://www.blackgoldphotography.co.uk</a> is well worth it as if it all goes wrong you can sue their ass!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Jan 27, 2012)

I do all my friend's weddiings for free. It's my gift to them and they have been more than happy with the results. I provide them with a slide show on an e frame and supply the same to friends and family for a small mark up if they ask for one.

I am not in any way a professional wedding photographer, but most of the time my friends are mature and on their second marriages and don't spend a fortune showing off on the day. They spend the money on a nice party for their friends and a holiday with each other, which is sensible.

Am I undercutting professional wedding photographers and doing them out of a job? No, because none of my friends would have paid that kind of money anyway.

And therein lies the problem. If you want to earn a living, you have to sell a service people are happy to pay for. You can't fight the market.

0 upvotes
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