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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
12345
mee
By mee (Jan 29, 2012)

She has a valid point. What is $3000 worth of pictures that will last a lifetime compared to $30000 worth of wedding ring, wedding gown, catering, garden venue & decorations etc. that will be gone in a day (except for the ring). Wedding budget should be calculated as a whole and at least 10% should be allocated for your photo or video to cherished the moment. OR you can skip and save the 10% and keep your wedding day in your rightful mind. Maybe your friends, relatives, children and grandchildren etc are just not interested to to know about your wedding or how they came about into this world.

3 upvotes
Dave Weinstein
By Dave Weinstein (Jan 29, 2012)

Obsolete math. It's not about setting aside 10% of your wedding budget.

THe overwhelming feeling coming from the pros here is that they're actually ANGRY at their customers for wanting competitive pricing.

You've got consider the market rate for services, and the cost of alternatives (such as doing it yourself, or hiring a talented amateur)

It's become clear from watching this thread develop that there are 2 polarized viewpoints on that the two views are irreconcilable. The pros will never give in, and will always be bitter. And the consumers will always question why industry insists on overcharging.

3 upvotes
DUMB4SS
By DUMB4SS (Jan 29, 2012)

It's not overcharging. It's pricing to survive. You may be lucky and get a great shooter for $500, but at that price there will be no backup, no insurance, maybe no experience and no comebacks when they turn out badly, or the car broke down etc.

3 upvotes
thulegit
By thulegit (Nov 5, 2012)

If you're looking to purchase a BMW, you shouldn't expect to pay Ford prices. There are luxury photographers and there are economy photographers. You will save up for what you value. I'm a pro and my prices start at $3k which is common but low for my area. That might seem steep, but if you consider off the bat 20% goes to the government, 1 of my 3 cameras cost $3500, quality lenses cost $2k lenses each, 1 flash costs $500, not to mention computers, expensive software-- not many realize this but photoshop alone costs $700, website, marketing... that's TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars worth of overhead and variable costs alone. This doesn't even include transportation, office costs, and time spent shooting or editing. There is more to a quality production than meets the eye. If you only think it takes a $250 point and shoot camera to capture your day, hire that photographer and you will see what type of photos you will get. Otherwise, please stop complaining and just pay what you can afford.

0 upvotes
osage_archer
By osage_archer (Jan 29, 2012)

One commenter said it right: If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

If you think wedding photography is easy, go for it. If you've never tried it I think you'd see that it is extremely demanding and you must be able to capture a "moment" because it is literally there for just an instant and then it's gone.

I think it's almost like people complaining that a basketball player who gets paid millions makes way too much, because they too can shoot and make a basket, and have done it before a few times!

6 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 29, 2012)

That's not what the "photographer" is saying though. If she'd said her quality was worth the money, people would judge on that. Instead she is inflating overheads, for 20 jobs a year, so people are judging on that.

2 upvotes
jagge
By jagge (Jan 29, 2012)

Give me a break. As any trade its difficult for the amateur. Its a profession, once you master it its not difficult. Off course its demanding, many jobs are. Yep days will be long, after the editing there is time to rest and with a 3k pricetag there will be time to rest.
I find it a bit funny that a lot of posters here really try to inflate the role of the photographer as the "artist" . You get the feeling that the central person in a wedding is in fact the "arty photographer". Second and third place propably goes to the bride and groom, that is just the natural order of things ;0).

Come on not every wedding photographer is an artist, some are good some great and some mediocre, its like any trade.

Jakob

1 upvote
Twowheels
By Twowheels (Jan 29, 2012)

One of my friend was too cheap to pay any money for a professional photographer. He asked me to help shoot pictures at his wedding, at the end of the day, he didn't appreciate the hard work. I was shooting pictures starting at 7AM -1AM.

I'm not a professional, just an amateur who loves shooting pictures in his spare time.

1 upvote
tbcass
By tbcass (Jan 29, 2012)

It has nothing to do with how easy it is. It has to do with what people can afford and are willing to pay. Get used to it because the economy is not what it used to be. You are going to find fewer and fewer people willing to pay the big bucks out of pure necessity. What is going to happen is there will be a few big time photographers hired by wealthy clients willing to pay the big bucks while the rest will be fighting for the low cost crumbs that are left. The vast majority of wedding photographers will be part timers with day jobs to make ends meet. The easy times are over.

1 upvote
MichaelK81
By MichaelK81 (Jan 28, 2012)

It's really odd to see this on dpreview which is a website centered on reviews of photographic equipment.

2 upvotes
em_dee_aitch
By em_dee_aitch (Jan 29, 2012)

What they are fishing for is ad impressions and clicks, and they struck gold on this one. Expect more of this distraction now that this one was such a huge success.

2 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 29, 2012)

It would be nice if people would stop telling DP Review what it OUGHT to be. Like the specimens who get angry every time someone posts an actual photograph here.

It is what it is.

2 upvotes
Anepo
By Anepo (Jan 29, 2012)

I do wish however they did reviews on video as well.
And I feel like they could have done another comparison between the super zooms again as I think the last comparison was back in 2010 or 2009.

Dpreview I like overall the forums however I do not like the layout but the forums are really helpful.

Just my opinion.
I hope dpreview continues to become bigger and better each year.

1 upvote
jagge
By jagge (Jan 28, 2012)

sorry i am absolutely on the bride side. Sorry but 3k is a high price. Now off course if you are wanting the most spectacular photographer you have to pay the prize, no doubt about it, free market. BUT if 3k is supposed to be the "normal" rate and you then get this reply that in all honesty is a bit rich.

Sorry the season is "4 months", very well that might be but I dont think its reasonably to assume that you can base your entire income on that and put your prices accordingly. Well its a free world. If anyone will pay 3k for a wedding photograper be my guest. I applaud those who can charge rates like that, honestly. BUT trying to argue that that price is more than fair, and almost getting to the point that it actually is almost a bad deal for the photographer is a bit pathetic.

Sorry I dont find that response very compelling or convincing. She could shoot 3 weedings a month, use a week on each and lay in the sun the rest of the time with a 9k income. Thats quite ok, come on.....

J

5 upvotes
Dan Pettus
By Dan Pettus (Jan 28, 2012)

The latest U.S. Economic Board claims the average wedding costs $28,760. Asking roughly 10% to capture the day for generations is not over the top. We start at $3K as the base bottom and go way up from there. Plenty of business. Booked two yesterday and meeting with another today. I will book her. The thought that $9K a month super high considering a gross margin of 30-40% is the U.S. average on wedding photography is truly not my desire or wanted lifestyle.

2 upvotes
jagge
By jagge (Jan 28, 2012)

you must be kiddin...... How much the price of the photographer is has NO relation to what the event costs, that is a very flawed argument. I would like to see the photograper charging 100 usd documenting a 1000 usd birthday party.

I can see the good busyness in documenting events that are expensive and has a lot of emotions involved, a great catalyst for the argument "well you want the very best" on that special day right. Its a good way to drown a big bill in an even bigger one.

Kudos for running a good company, I have no problems with that what so ever. I would do so if I could. That is just not what this is all about. What does provoke me here is the kind of slight offended response from the photographer. Her calculation of expenses are severely flawed and the whole response seems to be based on a slightly offended attitude, "how dare they question my prices".

J

1 upvote
David
By David (Jan 29, 2012)

One of the industries that seem to weather the recession or any economic hardship is the wedding industry. It's wise not to ignore the fact and most photographers during their transition time will dabble into weddings. $3000 is fair considering that you are buying a piece of memory and art and to cover certain business expenses.

The author of the Craiglist post assumes that photographers are employees that gets a steady paycheque. She is probably an employee of a company. And this is the fallacy between people who are used to get paid twice a week or once a month, because that income is stable as long as you hold that job. A self-employed photographer (which is what Nikki is) does not have the luxury of a monthly guaranteed pay cheque. The only guaranteed monthly expense are her bills.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
jagge
By jagge (Jan 29, 2012)

Hi

Again I dont find your arguments impressive.

Now calling it "memory product" or even "art" is to inflate the role of the photographer quite a bit. Off course there are photographers out there who will produce something close to art and they will be abble to have a high price tag going along with it. BUT its not at all diferent to carpenters, mechanics or any other trade. MOST will be pure bread and butter photographers, its a proffesion and they will hopefully deliver a pro result. Calling it art and using that as a argument for a especially high price is just to inflated an argument to me.

Now regarding not having a stable income is not really the problem of the customer. Its called having a busyness and there are pros and cons to that. Again NOT different to a garage owner, a carpenter or any other person having a small busyness living of their trade. Its not unique. Having enough flow of customers is off course the responsibility of the photographer.

Jakob

1 upvote
Twowheels
By Twowheels (Jan 29, 2012)

I think if you're one of the best photographer out there, you can charge what you want.

My friend is one of the best videographer in the world and he charge $10K per wedding. Actually, if you want his service you better book him at least 1 year in advance.

1 upvote
jagge
By jagge (Jan 29, 2012)

Pretty trivial information. Off course he can. Steven Spielberg also does that, George Cloney even so

Thats hardly the core of the debate.

Jakob

0 upvotes
David
By David (Jan 29, 2012)

Jakob,

The beauty of the free market is that it naturally sets the price. If $3000 is too much, you'll won't pay it, but that's what today's market is willing to bear. What we are debating here is simply the "VALUE" we place on things we buy. Price consummates value. Some people are happy with a Ford Focus, but some people value a Ferrari. Both takes you from point A to B. There is no sense in this debate, because that's exactly we are discussing. Why isn't a Ferrari priced the same as a Ford Focus when both of them have 4 wheels and an engine?

Mostly photographers working full time have a business plan and a credit line. A stable income is important because you need to have the ability to ABSORB the inflation cost to a certain extent of running a business without passing it to your clients. If you raise prices, you'll loose clients. If you don't raise prices, you'll risk going bankrupt!
I suspect most people run a part time business with a day job to support expenses.

1 upvote
Canomixian
By Canomixian (Jan 28, 2012)

I've shot weddings professionally, but opted not to as a career. Nikki's response registered as mere high-pricing rationalization, and I do feel that professional wedding photographers have a great deal of room to lower their general pricing to a level that isn't so easily labeled as abusive.

True, the CL bride ignores the skill required to produce truly good results. But many wedding photographers charge those high rates for cookie-cutter shots that are merely framed correctly, exposed and lit properly, and delivered in a slick package.

She also mis-described the time involved. Adding 4-8 hours (pre-wedding) to Nikki's 28-35 hour estimate, $3000 for a full work-week is less egregious, though still quite expensive.

Finally, Nikki's listed expenses dwindle when averaged across the many jobs that actually pay for them. Her $200 second-photographer day-rate speaks volumes for how much she values the talent portion of the charge, and seriously undermines her argument.

1 upvote
jagge
By jagge (Jan 28, 2012)

he he that 200 dollar extra shooter caught my eye as well. Its just so fantastically hypocritical. She wants the big dollar, but have no problem actually paying another photographer very little. That tells the story quite precisely.

The argument about the way she lists expenses is also flawed. Does she really expect that 20 jobs a year should by her a car ?

1 upvote
em_dee_aitch
By em_dee_aitch (Jan 29, 2012)

In regards to $200 for the second photographer: The entire "shooting talent" (I'm counting "editing talent" as separate, because it is done later and possibly by a different person) portion of a wedding, when you break down all the business inputs, is about 20 percent. The second shooter typically only takes supplemental shots and is not operating on the same level as the primary talent, even if equally skilled (which they usually aren't), because there are clear primary/secondary duties at most key moments. Overall the second photographer does less, takes the less important shots, (typically) brings less experience, and (typically) has little and/or inferior equipment, often borrowing from the primary photographer. When you take all that into account, $200 to the second is very fair in many instances. Also, seconds almost never edit, as the primary will do all their editing for them.

0 upvotes
em_dee_aitch
By em_dee_aitch (Jan 29, 2012)

And back to your point about a full work week, that is exactly what it is. On the first page of this thread I made the point that a wedding generates about five days of work. So take expenses out of $600/day and you are left with somewhere between $180 to $300 per day--a reasonable middle class salary, not one that is excessive or will make you rich. It is true that price is set more by demand than by cost inputs, so what you see happening is overall quality declining in the market due to downward price pressure laid on by the recession. If people are not willing to pay what good photography costs, then overall quality in the market will decline to inexperienced newbies with Rebels and awful kit zooms who will burn out and drop from the market when they see how pointless it is to be lowest bidder, only to be replaced by the next. So sell higher or don't sell at all. I know one guy who makes a living as low bidder, and his work is awful and he offshores his editing. Not good.

0 upvotes
jagge
By jagge (Jan 29, 2012)

Hey

You are right that there is propably a weeks work in a weeding, I guess it depends a lot on what you buy and the photographer in question. You also have a point about the second photographer who off course often is learning at the same time.

I dont agree that 2/3 are expenses, ceartainly not in the US it might be different in many european countries though. The cost of gear s not that high. Really a 5d mark II, with a mark I as backup and 3-4 great lenses, a couple of flash, umbrellas, laptop, cards and disks are all you need. Actually many trades like mechanics, carpenters etc are at least and propably more expensive to work in. In the digital era cost of systems are reasonable especially photography. Once you have the gear it can be used for many years, glass does not go obsolete and DLSR now have a quality that will last many years.

Again her "expense" calculation is severely flawed as pointed out by many

2 upvotes
jagge
By jagge (Jan 29, 2012)

I dont have ANY problem with ANYONE making a great and fat living of being a photographer. I would love to do that.

What I object against is depicting a picture that a weeding photographer charging a rather good price for her work victimizes herself trying to the degree shown here.

If you make a good income be proud and say " yep I am that great", dont try to convince me that you can hardly survive on 3k per job, please....

1 upvote
Frame Seeker
By Frame Seeker (Jan 28, 2012)

Nikki's response was well done. You have to look at her intend to convey that there is work, resources, hardware and effort behind being a photographer. She has expenses just like everybody else and is doing a job like everybody else. Kudos to her for staying on the subject and letting bridezilla know the facts.

0 upvotes
Regan in DR
By Regan in DR (Jan 28, 2012)

Again, a fascinating learning experience just pops up! The thing that I notice besides superior technical skills with the best photographers is their ability to clearly communicate with their client. The finest photographers deserve the finest prices. Setting a business practice of educating potential clients why they are paying for a service that includes a product is not going to stop those that want Nieman Marcus goods at TJ Maxx prices. I know a bride that was so happy about the photos that an enthusiast took at her wedding because the budget conscience newby part-time pro wasn't able to provide what she had requested. She got what she paid for. As a business person it is important to protect your brand, which include your prices. When Cinderella's budget is short, kindly refer her to someone that can work in her budget. I do that in my business life and the positive word of mouth it generates can't be paid for in $$.

1 upvote
BluegrassBoy
By BluegrassBoy (Jan 28, 2012)

Hilarious!

But she's right of course. She should settle for "just-good-enough" (like her fiance is). After all, why bother spending all that money documenting a marriage that probably won't last anyway? Eventually her husband's going to figure out what a mistake he made marrying a fool that's embarrassed herself on the internet...

Little Princess in Pugent Sound should just ask everybody that attends her magical day to take photos with their own cameras and iphones and send them all to her. Then, when she gets back from the honeymoon she can sort through 15,000 mostly-crappy images and decide which ones to keep and touch up. Because 99 monkeys typing for 99 years....

2 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 30, 2012)

And there goes the old wedding blackmail. "If he/she doesn't pay for it, there isn't enough love." Strategy at work. Like the inflated prices at every restaurant on Valentine's Day.

Nonsense. I don't have to get ripped off to love someone. If you do, more fool you.

0 upvotes
Dan Pettus
By Dan Pettus (Jan 28, 2012)

I’m a person who is getting a new car this summer and have yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly fast, brilliant, fun to drive Aston Martin for under $180,000. Its such CRAP. Prices are WACK.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
jjl
By jjl (Jan 28, 2012)

This misses the point.

You don't have to spend $3000 on a wedding photographer. You don't have to spend $1. You don't need a cake, a dress, a DJ, etc to get married, you just need a loving spouse. I say this as a wedding photographer myself. The best weddings I've photographed were not the most expensive ones. All that glitz is skin deep - and a few months later, nobody remembers it. Sure, your wedding seems really important when it happens, but it's your marriage that's important. Invest in that. Spend the $15K on something you actually might need - like an education, a car, a down-payment.
If you can afford $15K, then party on... but, if you can't; don't spend it.
Personally, I eloped... and the only photographer was my own camera on a tripod with a timer :-)

3 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Jan 28, 2012)

The sad truth about this story is the bride to be doesn't have to pay anything really. She didn't have to post inflammatory crap on Craigslist either. And Nikki should have used better judgement and not answered.

It would not surprise me to find out a few weeks down the road that all of this fuss was just a ploy to get some websites A LOT of clicks (with all the SEO fixings that come with that).

There's the smell of a certain animal coming out of this whole thing...

Comment edited 57 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
alexzn
By alexzn (Jan 28, 2012)

This is unfortunately a trend that is spurred by the proliferation of digital cameras, Facebook, cell phone photos and such. People are used to paying for quality photographs less and less, and most expect to get their picture for free or dirt cheap. The bride's wedding deserves to be shot by a newbie with a rebel and a kit lens. After getting a cheap album of blurry poorly lit snapshots she will understand. Photography is a tough business and it is only getting tougher. Just about the only sector that still demands higher prices is "art" photography and it is a complete marketing scam.

4 upvotes
jagge
By jagge (Jan 28, 2012)

Sorry but dont blaim cell phones, cheap cameras or the internet. I think that photographers have been spoiled for many years. Back then where just having a great camera was reason enough for being hired it was easy. Now everyone can get the hardware required for the best quality reasonably cheap. Photographers cant market themselves anymnore on gear, they have to market themselves on talent. That is difficult for some off course.

Its like any trade. A real pro sets himself aside from a amateur by work speed and quality of work. You would have to expect that a "pro" edits pictures MUCH faster than the average joe. Dont whine about the work involved be fast, and deliver high quality, then off course you can make a good living, ask for higher prices and dont have to advertise.

Sorry to the photographer comes across as a victim. How dare they say I am expensive......

Jakob

0 upvotes
MMillar
By MMillar (Jan 28, 2012)

The answer to this woman's diatribe is in her own words. She cannot find a "exceptional, amazingly-talented, fun photographer" that is reasonably priced. You can infer from that statement that she looked and none can be found.
She probably found affordable photographers that were less than impressive. Though that shouldn't be possible because photography is so easy a caveman could do it, right?
She also probably found at least one exceptional, amazingly-talented, fun photographer that was out of her budget. The most obvious reason must surely be that exceptional, amazingly-talented, fun photographers must also be greedy monsters hell-bent on destroying dreams.
I wonder if she subjected her wedding dress to the same scrutiny. After all, a dress is nothing more than a bunch of string tied together.
I hope her husband-to-be sees what he is in for. This woman will expect everything from him for little to no investment on her part.

6 upvotes
Dafffid
By Dafffid (Jan 28, 2012)

$2500 a year for phone and internet? Change your provider...

2 upvotes
gloaming
By gloaming (Jan 28, 2012)

It is a very good response, although I am confused by his reference to a DVD printer that uses $200/annum on ink? Am I forgetting something?

0 upvotes
Phototroll
By Phototroll (Jan 28, 2012)

How can you compare the prices of one creative "product" to another?

It becomes even more complicated if you realize that a wedding photographer delivers more than just photographs. How about the "feel good" factor, the "click" between the photographer, you and your guest? Are you willing to pay for the simple fact you can tell everybody your wedding pics will be taken by the famous......?

Sounds strange? Well, most people are willing to pay $3 for a beer that is worth $0,30. Why? Because they like the exclusive restaurant they selected for their wedding. The couple also pay a heap of money for the invitations which are basically just paper, right? How much for the flowers? And why is that designer brides dress so expensive?

Get the picture? It is freedom of choice for the consumer how much to spend on their wedding. It is up to the happy couple to go for "expensive" photographs or to spend it on drinks. Give them what they expect and you remain in business.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Dan Pettus
By Dan Pettus (Jan 28, 2012)

Wow. I love this thread! So much passion and everybody has the answer.

Charge whatever you want and calculate your justification anyway you want. If you book clients then great. If not then change your approach or quit.

We just yesterday booked two more clients for 2012 at our regular fees and rejected one for not having the budget to afford our studio. We never discount .. never.

For those trying to enter this market remember that once you take money for services – part-time, as a friend, an experiment, or pro, you and all your assets are liable. Liability in the U.S. stretches beyond delivering worthless images but also incorporate damages from equipment failure to smacking grandma with your brand new 400mm 2.8 lens.

My haircut costs $20 and I’m completely satisfied with the results. My wife’s haircut costs $200 and she is totally convinced of value and has returned to the same $200 hair place for the past 8 years. My studio targets customers like my wife …. not me…

6 upvotes
alvaromorales
By alvaromorales (Jan 28, 2012)

I live in the Miami, Florida area and I've been shooting weddings for about 4 years now. I charge half of what the lady in this post is arguing about and I provide the couple with a DVD of the images for an additional price. That being said, I also work full time to sustain myself because it would be great to be able to shoot a wedding every weekend, but that simply is just not so. Most of the time spent AWAY from shooting is processing and actually getting other bookings (marketing and promoting yourself). I believe the hardest part of being a wedding photographer is getting the booking, and then (fingers crossed) hoping that they don't cancel or the plans don't fall through or that they choose somebody else. Then all you have is the deposit.
A good service comes at a premium. I agree, $3,000 is A LOT of money. But so is going to the salon, hiring a plumber or hiring a mechanic. Bottom line: it's a choice to hire the service, don't make it your service to complain about the hiring...

3 upvotes
David
By David (Jan 29, 2012)

I think $3000 is in a context of a full time professional photographer and relying on that as full gross income to the business. There is a confusion amongst people here calling themselves pro photographers and yet have daytime jobs.

1 upvote
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 29, 2012)

A pro anything works more than 20 days a year. And doesn't need to inflate costs

0 upvotes
alvaromorales
By alvaromorales (Jan 30, 2012)

"There is a confusion amongst people here calling themselves pro photographers and yet have daytime jobs" - It is with attitudes and comments like this one that helps portray the arrogance in today's "pro" photographers which in turn create the anger within the everyday client. I don't believe I mentioned I was "pro" photographer once in my post, but I assure you sir, that in the 4 years of experience as one, I have not had one dissapointed client. And it's mainly because of my humble attitude and personal approach to the project, rather than the crass and arrogant eloquence that you for which you come across.
I maintain a full time job because I can and because I like to work. I also do more than 20 events a year, not always weddings, but also corporate work. I recommend you don't provide your opinion on what a "pro" photographer is, and rather just do your work do the talking... that's what "real" pro photographers do.

1 upvote
Ryan Christensen
By Ryan Christensen (Jan 31, 2012)

For commercial editing, I bill @ $350/hour. Hmmmm...what would that be for a days worth of post???.....+ plus location hours? Forget what my equipment or marketing costs are. What is MY TIME WORTH?!

Anything less than $3000 is charity...or a gift. (Personally, I hate weddings, and wouldn't even consider one for under $4K...it simply isn't worth my time or stress). My advice for the Bride is to buy a point-n-shoot with a fast fixed lens (Samsung TL500) or a reasonable DSLR with a fast zoom (24-70/2.8) and get her brother to "get'r'done" (in RAW, of course). She can then spend as many hours as she needs until she gets a print (or facebook image) that meets her expectations.

0 upvotes
Douglas69
By Douglas69 (Feb 1, 2012)

The problem is always financial. Whatever happened to the concept "you only get what you pay for"? I've been shooting weddings for 40 years. It would have been longer but I took time out to try a different profession.

My first job (1961) was because the bride "couldn't afford" a main street photographer. My latest job (last weekend) certainly could and I'm it ...but I have a problem figuring out why someone with only 15 guests would want to pay $3k+ for wedding photography.

Someone told me once that poverty was dependent on your standard of living. Someone earning $10k per week will be poverty stricken if they miss a pay, just the same as someone on $100 a week will be.Put it all in perspective shooters.

Those people looking for a $500 wedding photographer are in a different income bracket to those prepared to pay $5000 for one. Target your market people. Don't offer the service everyone else offers and expect to charge big bucks for it. You only get the business a bad name.

0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 28, 2012)

There is also a response to the craiglist complaint from a photographer on another Blog http://www.randomn3ss.com/how-not-to-hire-a-wedding-photographer-ii/ I really like this comment from that blog: Well the old saying is, you can have two - but never three - of the following: Cheap, Fast, Good.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
ChrisKramer1
By ChrisKramer1 (Jan 28, 2012)

I read once about a place in Las Vegas where you can get package marriages for at really affordable prices - photos included. I don't get this white wedding stuff - always sounded to me like a drugs deal. And what's money if you love someone anyway?

0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 28, 2012)

The Erie, PA response makes some very valid points, although you can nitpick about some of the items. Bottom Line: People offering a service need to make a living and pay their expenses.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
1 upvote
OldZorki
By OldZorki (Jan 28, 2012)

One thing I never was able to understand - why, after all the $$$ paid people still do not own originals.
Most of the work done "for hire" presume that after the work is done all IP and such transferred to customer. If my company develops the software for a client, he universally requesting source code, and so on.
If I paid $4000 for a wedding pics and albums, why I should be held hostage by some company -and every time I need a new print, I have to pay them?

0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 28, 2012)

The pro photographer who shot my daughter's wedding gave her a DVD with all the photo. High res, fully corrected in Photoshop. I made prints myself. But I guess most photogs want to keep the digital files, hoping for additional print orders. Not sure how many additional orders they get long after the wedding, however.

1 upvote
OldZorki
By OldZorki (Jan 28, 2012)

Well, lets hope that it will be way more common practice.

0 upvotes
MMillar
By MMillar (Jan 28, 2012)

If you chose to sign a contract with a photographer that keeps the originals and charges for additional prints then how is that photographer holding YOU hostage? Unless of course the photographer was holding a gun to your head...
Just like your client that you develope software for, they got what they want in the contract at the price they agreed upon. If they didn't, then whose fault is that?

0 upvotes
OldZorki
By OldZorki (Jan 28, 2012)

You are correct sir, only of brides in their crazy days of preparation could read fine print on the contract... So while indeed it is a fault of a customer not to realize that their wedding pictures are not their property, the practice itself is not great.

2 upvotes
jagge
By jagge (Jan 28, 2012)

Yep that is just a joke. And in my view its another sign that photographers just dont follow the time we are living in.

Those days are over where people are so naive that they have to pay for all the work involved and STILL pay for every print. You cant have it both ways. If you want 3k for a photoevent hand over the rawfiles. The other model would be to be cheap THEN you can make people pay for every print.

Now precisely that reason is why I would hire a great amateur over a pro every time. I think pro photographers have to adjust to the times we are living in.

But again, if you are an amazing photographer you can do what you want. If you are middle of the road then adjust to the times we are living and stop complaining.

0 upvotes
David
By David (Jan 29, 2012)

It's to protect artistic creation. A lot of the best artists and architects do this including Frank Lloyd Wright. His clients NEVER got a hold of his blue prints. He merely loaned his blue print for the build. And we are talking clients that are paying millions of bucks. Bill Gates did the same with DOS. He merely licensed it to IBM. Look at IBM now -- sold their business to Lenovo while Microsoft still survives. You'll understand it when you run your own business. You will never understand if you are an employee. I take it that you are one of the employees of a software company?

1 upvote
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 29, 2012)

I agree with you. I have always considered this a scam.

0 upvotes
OldZorki
By OldZorki (Jan 29, 2012)

David, I am an owner of a small software consulting company. No client in his right mind will sign a contract, were source code is not his IP. This is called "work for hire". Gates licensed DOS to IBM because IBM refused to purchase it (for a tiny sum BTW). You arguments are all flawed.

0 upvotes
mandm
By mandm (Jan 29, 2012)

I do not give/sell DVD copies of images or the negatives in the old days to customers, yes it has cost me some bookings, but that's OK. Referrals have been my only advertising since the 1970's, top quality prints get us our future business, discount store reprints would cost us future business.
Many people think all print labs are the same and will use the cheapest one and then blame the photographer for the poor/average looking prints. Those cheap, poor quality prints will be around for decades, I don't want that kind of advertising.
I have a display with 4x6 and 11x14 prints on it, all from the same image and printed at W, T, R, a local specialty dealer and the lab I use. I have 3 different image sets and I use them to show that there is a difference in where prints are made and why I don't supply images for them to print.
I do sell E-Mail ready C/D's with low rez images for viewing, not printing and I sell high rez DVD's 3 years after the wedding date with a copyright release.

2 upvotes
260684
By 260684 (Jan 29, 2012)

Hand over the raw files? It's clear you do not have a clue what you are talking about noob.

1 upvote
ExNewt
By ExNewt (Jan 28, 2012)

I stopped reading after she said "your" instead of "you're" (maybe she meant "yore"?).
Seriously - in my experience one can choose to have a "buddy" shoot or tape your wedding, or pay for a professional. And I am not either, yes I'll take photos just like other guests, but no way would I ever be put in that spot!

We chose the latter (paid for a pro - and yes it wasn't cheap) and have an album full of some amazing, wonderful photos; our photographer even included free photos after each child was born.

I've been to friend's weddings where things like: 1) the buddy who is shooting photos has their camera fail, and no backup (although a lot were pleased as during the ceremony it was "*pop* eeeeeee *pop* eeeeeee" from their flash, 2) in another wedding far from civilization, the camcorder battery was left home!

And I do think you can shop and find prices a bit lower, just like with LASIK surgery, but you always get what you pay for.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (Jan 28, 2012)

Why do we have to attend the "fight" between two ignorant people?
Most people considers other people's jobs easier and better paid than theirs!
It's a low bred perception attitude, result of poor education and social environment!
Please dpr be merciful and respect us and your work so far!

4 upvotes
McDuff
By McDuff (Jan 28, 2012)

It's not an "excellent response", I'm afraid. It's daft: the photographer should not be loading her whole year's expenses on 4 months of wedding photography. And if it doesn't last the year, it's not surprising that she has to diversify.

A farmer sows crops that will sell, not merely what he wants to grow; then when he has harvested the summer crop he looks for a winter crop etc . . .

And it ends with the silliest of "I'm insulted" lines . . .

9 upvotes
Maxpilot
By Maxpilot (Jan 28, 2012)

I have to agree. I think her expenses are inflated to make a larger point. For example, if she really pays $15 grand in taxes on $50 grand of work, she needs to get another accountant.

1 upvote
Wojtegol
By Wojtegol (Jan 28, 2012)

First of all - Erie must be very unique place, where people get married only in 4 months per year.....
Second - this calculation is completely flawed. She puts whole year expenses against 4 months income. For example : cost of car should be: $400 x 4=1600 and cost of insurance is $200 x 4=800.All together is: $2400, and not $7200. Other thing - she uses her car not only for business, but also for other purposes like grocery shopping or to visit family or friends. Same thing with house expensive and all other yearly expenses. I wish I could go to my boss and tell him, that I just bought new home and I need a raise.
Also - taxes are paid AFTER all expenses, hence not off $50000, hence it will not be $15000.
And to include money for shoes ??? Does she walks barefoot after work ???
Third - in one word: this all "calculation" is big BS. I don't really care whatever she charges but the math is just wrong.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
brammp
By brammp (Jan 29, 2012)

This. To the bride's point, why is a struggling photographer enjoying a $400/month vehicle lease? It's fine if the photographer wants an expensive vehicle, but it is not fair to push those costs (in entirety) back on the customers. Whatever percentage Nikki claims on taxes for business purposes should be the percentage of the lease that the business revenue needs to account for. Nevermind the fact that Nikki is claiming a deduction on taxes for the business part of the vehicle as well. So that's double income.

0 upvotes
Walter A23
By Walter A23 (Jan 28, 2012)

Such hyperbole. If it's the choice between getting a good wedding photographer and not eating for months, or going with Uncle Bob, you go with Uncle Bob and stop whining about it. Yes, it's expensive, and it's also not mandatory.

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
OldZorki
By OldZorki (Jan 28, 2012)

The whole wedding business is out of hand. "Bigger and more expensive then others"... Weddings now often carry a six digits proce tag.. I know a guy who worked (no joke) as a "wedding night vidiographer" - apparently it is very trendy now to document the whole first night ordeal.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
1 upvote
KGIOR
By KGIOR (Jan 28, 2012)

" I know a guy who worked (no joke) as a "wedding night vidiographer" - apparently it is very trendy now to document the whole first night ordeal."

Are you saying what I think your saying? We are becoming very cosmopolitan aren't we!!! Holey S||t that's funny.

0 upvotes
OldZorki
By OldZorki (Jan 29, 2012)

KGIOR, yes, it is what you think. But no postprocessing included, newlyweds take all the materials right after the shooting.

0 upvotes
english_Wolf
By english_Wolf (Jan 28, 2012)

In my opinion pixel has published an answer from a fraud, a hobbyist w/o a clue.

The bride comment? Not worth an answer.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
camerosity
By camerosity (Jan 28, 2012)

ok, go ahead and hire a cheap photographer and see how you like the photos of your once-in-a-lifetime event, probably the happiest day of your life. when you get the pictures back, with poor lighting, the backs of heads, people chewing their food, and don't forget the photos you won't see, cake cutting, the toast, first dance, etc, because you wanted to save money and your cheap photographer was in the kitchen with the servers drinking straight from the champagne bottles. $3000.00 gets you 5-7 hours of High Quality Photography from a person or people with a book that is full of top quality photos they took at other weddings, and another book full of letters from their satisfied customers, many who hired them again for their second weddings. also, $3000.00 weddings get you lights and reflectors, to enhance the quality of portraits. Cheap wedding photographers show up with a flash on their "digital SLR" (usually a Canon Rebel).

2 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jan 28, 2012)

Balderdash, out of all hobbies I had, photography is the easiest. From the technical standpoint -- it's trivial, you can teach a cat how to take photos. On the other hand, a sense of beauty doesn't correlate a bit with whether one does it for money or for pleasure. Though in reality all those “pros” producing consistently worse pictures than enthusiasts, not because they can't do better, rather because they care mostly about how to get as much money as possible with as little efforts as possible, while the enthusiasts are moved by aesthetics, artistry, curiosity, seeking personal improvement.

4 upvotes
em_dee_aitch
By em_dee_aitch (Jan 28, 2012)

Forpetessake, you have pictures of a lamppost, a bird, and some flowers in your gallery. You have nearly zero people or event photography on display. Where is the portfolio showing that you have any clue what you are talking about? It is true that you could teach a cat how to take a picture of a stationary vase of flowers, which is something you know about. I think you need some more perspective. Doing weddings/events/news is about both getting all the shots and avoiding all the mistakes and doing it aesthetically all while under pressure. Yes, there are burnouts who operate poorly as you describe, but there are just as many who bust their a$$es every time making an honest effort with a good outcome. You're basically a flame troll at this point. In my experience, your enthusiasts have great ideas but screw up in execution way too often, which results in a low keeper rate, which means their work can't stand alone -- they make great assistant photographers.

3 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 28, 2012)

I agree. This summer we attended a wedding where the photogs were semi-pros, a mom and daughter with EOS Rebels. They were constantly shooting the backlit couple (on a beach against water and a bright sky) without flash. (They had one flash unit between the two of them.) I hope their fee was a bargain because I suspect that the photos from the ceremony were really problematic.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jan 28, 2012)

em_dee_aitch, let's see the great pictures you posted... oops, DPR says you're just a troll, who knows nothing about photography: "em_dee_aitch has not uploaded any photos to their gallery yet." And since your post shows you can't master logic even on a middle school level, it makes no sense answering your inane comments.

0 upvotes
em_dee_aitch
By em_dee_aitch (Jan 29, 2012)

Follow my signature link to an extensive wedding/event portfolio. And frankly I don't update it often enough, but it's dozens more actual event photography examples than you have posted. I don't see any website in your signature or profile.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
english_Wolf
By english_Wolf (Jan 28, 2012)

I have been a wedding photographer and I have yet to see so many lies and misinformation on photographer's cost, not counting the infamous $15k taxes on gross of 50k. Taxes are calculated on gross - expenses i.e. net profit - and that is just for starter...

A potential bride ('PB') posts a dubious comment on Craigslist...
A photographer answers with something that is as ridiculous as the 'PB' comment:

If you own your own business you will quickly spot all the half truths, lies and misinformation offered by the 'celebrated answer'. It is making the round in trade magazines.

Home: IRS allows only a % of a dwelling rent to be deducted if partially used by a business, same goes for any other expenses that are related to it (such has internet)
Car: A car lease cannot be entirely claimed at cost and deduction either (emergency rental can)
IT and photo equipment is prorated and can be taking out of the cost over x number of years, depending of purchase cost or lease.

2 upvotes
english_Wolf
By english_Wolf (Jan 28, 2012)

Repair, maintenance are fully deductible; exception: software.

WEB cost is grossly exaggerated. The cost of high speed is about $50.00 per month, the cost of ISP for storage is now in abysmally low.

Real cost of a wedding for the photographer takes a fraction of all the above especially when the 'studio' does other things. Like the mentioned family and senior portrait.

What the responder did not (for good reason?) approach is the difference quality between and mediocrity. Regardless of economic climate you pay for what you get, end of the ONLY story.
According to what I read this photographer is not worth any money she claims. She cannot even figure out her own cost!!! So take pictures?

The only things you can itemize as direct cost of a wedding are:

Digital photographer
Time passed to PP SOME of the pictures
Cost of media (disk or like media to deliver)

Cross over cost (digital/traditional)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
David
By David (Jan 29, 2012)

$50 per month for a 10 to 15Mbps upstream bandwidth? In North America, you'll be lucky to get 1Mbps which is not even fast enough to upload large RAW file or JPEGs in a fast enough time. All broadband service advertise FAST downstream (download) speed in the 10 or higher Mbps bandwidth. That's not going to help Nikki upload photos!

A typical North American provider provides up to 512kbps upstream bandwidth. I really love to know where I can get 10 to 15Mbps for $30 or $50 a month and which State?

Thanks,

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
english_Wolf
By english_Wolf (Jan 28, 2012)

Cost of traveling, per mile (from-to business)
Assistant pay, 'flat fee' (if any)
Cleaner cost (for 'uniform')
Time passed to shoot the wedding
Cost of printing (if any)
Time to create album(s) or folders (if any)
Cost of said albums and folders (if any)

For the film photographer (traditional)
Cost of film
Cost of processing
Cost of shipping
Cost of handling
Cost of lab PP

The rest is BS as it needs to be calculated over a year, using the total cost of running a business divided by the numbers of pictures taken in a year and multiplied by the number of pictures taken (VS. sold) by event.

Taxes ARE NOT A COST (unlike what that person said - 30% on 50k - cost??? wow!, this guy must be in France!)

As far as I know the tax is calculated on the NET profit, not the GROSS income to pay 15k you need serious net profit, not the measly gross of 50k. Sales taxes are limited to goods and not services. They are well bellow the claimed 30%, they are added to the bill and never inclusive.

1 upvote
english_Wolf
By english_Wolf (Jan 28, 2012)

Should have been taxes on gross profit NOT net profit.

0 upvotes
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Jan 30, 2012)

Two things I observed:

1) She claims taxes but also claims the cost of business expenses as coming out of her income. This is not correct. All those expenses are tax right offs. So she is actually paying quite a bit less.

2) She is talking about working 20 days doing photography and then maybe 20 days doing editing. And suggesting that because she only works 40 days a year she should be able to charge exhoribiant prices of 1250$ a day. This is not sensible either.

Not that I have an issue with the price. I am a wedding photog and to get up to charging that you first of all have to be GOOD. You have to be an artist, technician, psychologist, friend, amongst other things. The fact is she can charge that because that is what the market will pay for her. Weddings all occur in the summer, mostly on the weekends and almost always on saturday. That means she has very limited slots that she can sell and she can cherry pick clients because of this. That is the answer, not bad math

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
mrak
By mrak (Jan 28, 2012)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see how photographers can work 4 months a year, and spend the other 8 months watching their credit card bills accumulating and their expensive gears gathering mold. I mean, even if there are no weddings at all, can't they do other types of photography for money? If they have other sources of income, then the calculation is obviously misleading.

0 upvotes
RichGK
By RichGK (Jan 28, 2012)

I would suggest you read the whole article for her answer to that question.

1 upvote
wil13jak
By wil13jak (Jan 28, 2012)

If indeed you are a pro photographer you would understand. If indeed you are an amateur or shooting because you think you are a pro I can understand how one would take that attitude. It is simple people who are consumers that have no idea what it takes to run a business simply can not in any way fathom what it takes to do so. If you are a real pro shooting an all day wedding is tremendous work, stress, and the post production can be daunting if your work is to be done well and is to be respected. I like to save money and I am a careful consumer but as a business owner I respect legitimate ethical business people charging me for their products/services

3 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 28, 2012)

The question is whether the "expenses" mentioned here ARE legit.

They do not seem to be. I have my own videography business, and as one who knows how to fluff up budget and expenses when necessary I call bs on this expense sheet.

2 upvotes
wil13jak
By wil13jak (Jan 28, 2012)

Nahhh it is stupid!! Sorry

0 upvotes
wil13jak
By wil13jak (Jan 28, 2012)

For goodness sake people the photographer was simply attempting to justify the fact that she is running a business and doing so costs money. Nit picking her to death is really stupid. Her expenses, my expenses, how much one can pay for a website, on an on and on is dumb. She is simply trying to bring home a point that if you run a photo business it indeed has overhead and for many this can be very high. Sure anyone can get a cheap website. But she is simply defending our profession. If you don't agree with this why the heck are you on a photography website???

4 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 28, 2012)

20 jobs a year?

The problem is that both sides are inflating their issues. And that has nothing to do with whether we are on a photography website or not. When you give specific details to justify yourself, it's hardly unfair or unreasonable if people examine those specific details.

4 upvotes
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Jan 30, 2012)

uh.. because we are photographers, not BS artists. She is propogating false information and is making photographers sound liek lawyers or politicians. Expecting honest is not nit-picking and since her information is not correct her point is illegitimate. In the old school we just called this lying... and yes it was considered wrong to do.

0 upvotes
Alan2dpreview
By Alan2dpreview (Jan 28, 2012)

$3,000 sounds cheap compared to prices here in NYC. Also, no one seems to talk about videography as part of the package. So many people have photos and video which requires more assistants, processing etc, and money from the blessed couple. Also, videography sets aside the amateurs from the pros

0 upvotes
CMurdock
By CMurdock (Jan 28, 2012)

Nikki Wagner is paying WAY MORE for all the services she says she needs in order to conduct her business. As an example, she could host her web site for $8, not $30, and she could pay as little as $30 a month for high-speed internet, not $200. Furthermore, she should not be paying 30% of her income in taxes. The figures she gave in her response were mostly bogus.

3 upvotes
David
By David (Jan 29, 2012)

There is a difference in price between a 99.9% web service host and a 95% and under service host. Most high speed internet service provides a high speed DOWNLOAD bandwidth and very SLOW upstream bandwidth. When you are in the photography business, you need to UPLOAD to the website. You pay through the nose in getting faster upstream bandwidth. In my area, I have to pay $150 for 100Mbps download and 5Mbps upstream. For 15Mbps (that's when you are uploading those huge files), it's around $300 per month. Let me know where you get $30 for 15Mbps upstream.

1 upvote
GaryJP
By GaryJP (Jan 28, 2012)

Where does this wedding photographer live that people only get married four months of the year?

Where I live, people get married all year round.

And just twenty jobs a year that you expect to pay your whole year's expenses and salary, and outrageous internet fees and puffed up other expenses?

Say "I charge $3,000 because I am worth it", and I'll have no argument, if your photos are good.

I am sure Annie Leibovitz can charge more.

But this list is bs.

3 upvotes
RichGK
By RichGK (Jan 28, 2012)

I imagine what she meant was that the high-season for weddings where she is is about 4 months. During this time there is enough weddings about to keep her and her contemporaries busy. The rest of the year she probably does do weddings but not frequent enough as there aren't less photographers around during this time but there are less weddings.

1 upvote
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Jan 30, 2012)

umm I live in canada. People get married here primarily for three or so months a year... the rest of the year its nasty out. A few weddings occur but I would be in heaven if I could shoot weddings year round.

0 upvotes
wil13jak
By wil13jak (Jan 28, 2012)

A pro level wedding photographer may only do x number of weddings per year. However that same photographer will supplement their income with other types of shooting such as seniors, portraiture, event work, etc. I'm sure there are relatively few pros that survive on wedding work alone. Those photographers would be considered "carriage trade" photographers and believe me they pull much more than 3K/wedding. People who are in a real business learn one rule very fast. That rule is to never devalue your business, your products and your talent. There are plenty of relatives out there that are always most happy to "shoot" your wedding. Enjoy those wonderful images!!!!

1 upvote
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Jan 28, 2012)

Yeah, people who get Uncle Bobby to shoot their weddings deserve the quality they get. I don't regret one penny of what we spent for pro photographers when my daughter got married.

0 upvotes
jhinkey
By jhinkey (Jan 28, 2012)

Though the response to the CL ad could have been written much better than it was, the CL ad itself shows how few people really understand how a business is run or business works. All they see is their cost and have no clue as to the cost of doing business or the effort it takes the business to provide the product (in this case wedding images).

A classic example of a symptom of the poor level of education all too typical in this country.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
drwho9437
By drwho9437 (Jan 27, 2012)

The reply seems based on the proposition it is ethical to expect a business that lasts only 1/3 of the year to yield a yearly income. It isn't. If you wanted to make say 50K for photography on a full time yearly basis that would be fair. So the prices are about 100% to high by his own numbers it would seem.

2 upvotes
waterking
By waterking (Jan 27, 2012)

This girl is an idiot. Does she understand why a Limo cost more to rent than a Ford escort, why the Plaza Cost more to stay in than a motel, Why a meal is more at Mortons Steakhouse than McDonalds and why a wedding dress is more expensive at Bloomingdales than a thrift shop? Finding an "amazing photographer" isn't difficult! What is difficult is finding a photographer who is talented enough to be "amazing" but at the same time stupid enough to not charge enough to run a business. But then again who is going to be able to "LOVE" shooting "amazing" photos of a Bridezilla wearing a thrift shop dress, arriving in a ford escort at the OneNighter Motel with fast food burger stains dripping down her dress. Wouldn't touch this job for twice the price. Maybe thats why she can't find a photographer! (Let me check....OOPS, sorry...I'm already booked that day.) Never argue with an Idiot...Once the argument starts it"s hard to tell which one of you is the idiot.

5 upvotes
Alanmaja
By Alanmaja (Jan 27, 2012)

The price of $3000 is still high unless the photographer is doing some serious editing and touching up with gallery quality in the final product. Expense breakdown provided by Puget Sound is not really valid. Costs should be related to the business and spread out over a year's worth of business expense. Puget Sound is not busy enough. Most wedding photographers are part-timers, like realtors, and charge uncompetitive rates. Unfortunately, like all other wedding expenses, the emotionally charged event allows what amounts to a one-day event costing upwards of $50,000. No doubt, every aspect of wedding services are lucrative, to say the least.

4 upvotes
thrill2k
By thrill2k (Jan 27, 2012)

One question I have is what did wedding photographers make in 70's, 80's, 90's, etc. I think if you are good you should charge whatever you can get, but has digital increased the amount you can charge, because you can deliver so much more?

0 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Jan 27, 2012)

i think it should be cheaper in digital, beside the filmstock, the risk of analog photos is WAY mbigger

thats the reason why everyone is a photographer nowadays, because if you shoot 100 frames at a subject, there will be (probably) one excellent shot in those 100

with film, only the skilled photographer could deliver this 1 good shot without shooting 100

i mean you can still deliver that as a good photographer, but to get better with analog photography you had to make lists, handwrite exifs, to somehow learn from your mistakes ... now if you halfwhat clever you shoot two pictures and figure out the problem instantly

also darkroom/repro ... way more risk and timeconsuming then digital

2 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Jan 27, 2012)

Several aspects work against digital being cheaper. There is a far higher time cost for many photographers, in that you used to send the film to the lab for both developing and then printing, and while it was out, you could do all kinds of other office tasks. Today, unless you have a staff, you are the developer. And there are many, many more frames to get through, even with batch development tricks.

There is also the digital turnover rate that film photographers never had to contend with. Bodies and software keep advancing rapidly, which is a great blessing except that it means photographers continually have to pay to upgrade everything (bodies, software, computers) except lenses and lighting.

Oh sure, you could say you don't have to upgrade, but that's a more realistic approach for a weekend hobbyist photographer than a working wedding photographer. If you are competing for business, you want to keep your edge in areas like low-light capability and processing tools and speed.

1 upvote
english_Wolf
By english_Wolf (Jan 28, 2012)

You are talking about garbage collectors. Shoot as many as possible, it is cheap, hopefully one photo will be decent.

What is cheap here is the initial work.

0 upvotes
Ignat Solovey
By Ignat Solovey (Jan 28, 2012)

In 70's, 80's and 90's wedding photographers charged appropriately and no one complained.
Actually, the paradigm shift happened for the last several years. 5 years ago here in Moscow I charged $800 for digital-only wedding - 12 hours of shooting and like the same in net time for post. That was fine with everyone, and I was nameless, just a guy with camera. Now when I say $600 for the same stuff, and I definitely have much more experience and better equipment, people say "you're freak to charge that much!". When they say "how about shooting us on film?" and hear "how about paying me $1500 for film, complete with prints and scans?" they say "we'd better go digital and you are too expensive, we'd like our photographer to charge us three hundred US$ - complete with 400 4x6" prints and selected 20 8x10", plus a DVD" (they spent freakin' $250 on a cake and dunno how much on champagne and vodka). If a person is paid like $80 net for 12 hours of not the easiest work - guess the quality.

0 upvotes
Malvin Camina
By Malvin Camina (Jan 29, 2012)

$3000 Will depend on the Wedding Package. Majority of wedding photographers of todays era spent huge amount peny in buying Top of the line gears. There is no Pro Photographer that wants any equipments die when the big event comes. That will reflect to your reputation as Pro Photographer. Perhaps let me explain to her the Math.

Nikon D3s Full Frame Camera(Body): $5199.95
Nikon D700 Full Frame Camera(Body): $2699.95
AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8: $1999.95
AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8: $2399.95
SB-910 AF Speed Light: $549.95 x (2)
MB-D10 Battery Grip: $334.00
MB-D00 Battery Grip: $219.00
El-En15 Battery (2): $145.00
Remote Triger(2) : $180.00
Profoto D1 Air: $ 350.00
Profoto DIY Beauty Dish: $70
MacBook Pro Core i7: $2499.95
Western Digital My Book Essential 2T: $130.00
Creative Suite 5: $199.99
Adobe Lightroom 3: $89.99
LowePro Stealth Reporter: $180.00
Etc: $200
Rough Total: $17997.63

0 upvotes
Malvin Camina
By Malvin Camina (Jan 29, 2012)

With that amount how long will it take before you get the returns of investment? Time, Skills, Post Proccessing and Album Prints not yet included. The Photographer must get atlease 5 potential clients just to get the returns for the equipments and gears alone. You add the tax, expenses and other financial needs in a daily basis. In the span of 4-6 years you'll have to upgrade otherwise your outdated. Significantly You studied photography to make peny for living. I doubt if a Pro Photographer will earn that much with in the span 4-6 years. And by the way Videography is not yet included in the service.

0 upvotes
wil13jak
By wil13jak (Jan 27, 2012)

Reading the posts on this forum and in general on most of the forums on this site one should never be surprised as to why humans will never be able to live in an "agreeable" world. There are but a small few who have posted here that have made statements that are remotely logical and intelligent. Most of the others (foreign posters forgiven) really need first to learn how to express themselves using proper language/spelling skills. If how you write is reflective of your photo skills then brides beware!!! Three thousand dollars for a typical "all day" wedding in many U.S. markets is very acceptable. I'm tired of having to explain why I charge what I do. I am reasonable, fair and as has been said here if a client is not happy with my range of charges capitalism allows you to seek another photographer.

3 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Jan 27, 2012)

iam foreign so, sorry for my writing skills, but at least my posting wasnt about the fact that you/she charges what she charges, its about this list she made ^^

i think everyone should charge what he/she wants ... if theres a customer in that pricerange ... why not?!

THIS bride obviously doesnt want to spend that much, or her dad told her not to do or whatever, but to write down a list of expenses ... i mean THAT list ... i think thats too much

if a grown up doesnt understand that he/she has to pay for material AND labour .. why write down that list?

2500 internet provider per year HA ! HA !
600 for a loaned car ?!
her private residence ?!

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
David
By David (Jan 29, 2012)

Where can one get $30/month for a 5 to 15Mbps upstream bandwidth? When you are uploading photos to your website for your clients, it is the upstream bandwidth that's important. Typical consumer high speed internet has super fast download (downstream) and super slow upstream like 256Kbps to 512Kbps at least in the States. In some states, it's like dial up modem speeds. Some countries do charge much less for like a 5Mbps or 10Mbps upstream than in the States. So my question is, does Puget Sound area charge $30/month for a 5Mbps or 10Mbps upstream bandwidth?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Anepo
By Anepo (Jan 29, 2012)

Try Iceland I am running 50mbps net connection getting 6 mb per second download and upload.

0 upvotes
sean000
By sean000 (Jan 27, 2012)

I recently listened to an NPR interview with an author who wrote a book called "The Practical Wedding." The interview discussed ideas for throwing a memorable, but affordable, wedding. It was a short interview, but there was actually no mention of photography. Hiring a pro photographer was very important for my wife and I (and she was worth it), but I have certainly been to weddings where the couple did not hire a photographer. At one the bride and groom left disposable film cameras at all the tables and asked guests to take photos with these cameras. At the other the bride and groom simply encouraged guests to take photos using whatever camera they brought (from cell phones to DSLRs) and to please post the images on Facebook for everyone to enjoy. That couple later told me that they wished they had hired someone after all. Turns out that only a handful of guests took many photos, and only a few bothered to post them online. Fewer still were worth printing.

0 upvotes
petrocan
By petrocan (Jan 27, 2012)

I find that we put too much importance on a nice picture. That you will remember that day as the nicest of all.

Hell!!! I have picture that look like crap taken in china when we had only money to take one picture for like 5 years. And I appreciate them as much as you who have tons of beautiful pictures.

All that wedding crap, it has to be the perfect day, the biggest ring. All crap, have you want, don't let people tell you what you need. Does that ring a bell for us? Like some marketing dude telling you, hey dude you need that full frame, you need that lens that go 2.8!!! shoot at iso 6400.

All I'm saying if she kept he wedding simple, she wouldn't have to rant like this. Ask a friend to do it if you are on budget and appreciate what you have.

Let me go for a last example. Tv telling us we have to live our fullest. So everyear we put pressure to go on vacation. No just camping dude, I need to take the plane to a place where I don't speak that language.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Jan 27, 2012)

On the other hand, when the dress is in the closet, the cake has been eaten, and everyone has gone home, the only tangible evidence left of the wedding are the photographs and video.

Yet somehow people find a way to devalue the one thing that they get to keep from the wedding, other than the marriage itself.

1 upvote
doctor digi
By doctor digi (Jan 27, 2012)

That must be some internet/phone/cell connection she has! I don't pay anywhere near that. Or is America much more expensive than the UK (for once)?

Some of the other figures are rather strange too. I understand where she is coming from but I think stretchig figures and making disingenuous claims rather defeats the objective of this exercise.

2 upvotes
dodgebaena
By dodgebaena (Jan 27, 2012)

The best client is an educated client and telling them the "materials" cost of a wedding will make them appreciate the pricing structure.
They take this information when they shop around, and they can compare wedding studios, knowing full well the markup differences based on "artistic values".
Never underestimate the intelligence of your client.
Perhaps in a market like New York or Toronto a photographer can charge whatever "the market will bear" but in a small town like Erie or my place, pop. 120,000, the customer will appreciate where his/her money is going to.
I understand that the artistic input is not quantifiable but if I were a client, I need to know how much I'm paying for that "artistic talent" once I know the overhead.
Having said that, the photographer shouldn't attribute her total expenses to the 20 weddings she shoots. And $3000 is low-midrange quote that is reasonable. A wedding photographer is the Swiss Army knife of photographers and is worth what he/she asks for.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 784
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