Is professional photography dying out?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
PenguinPhotoCo Veteran Member • Posts: 6,284
wedding 'cost'

there are nearly as many ways to figure costs/prices as there are lenses on the market, but one that seems to work well for service businesses is per hour.

Go call ANY service business - as in car repair, furnace repair, etc.  Ask their hourly rate and you'll find it's rarely below $75 an hour.

You know the guy doing the work doesn't get $75 an hour. He gets 12-15, maybe $20, plus the other payroll costs. The rest goes to physical plant, tools, marketing, billing, etc.

OK, so you meet with a bride (an hour), prep for the wedding and drive there (hour total), shoot the wedding day (8 hours give or take), DL images, put gear away (an hour).

Some are truly shoot and burn these days - off the card to a disk to the bride, done deal. But most of us will go thru the images and only keep the best 400 out of the 1200 we shot. So what, 5 hours?

All told that adds to 16 hours, times $75 is $1200.  Pay yourself $20/hour ($320) and put the rest in the bank to pay for your accounting/marketing/gear time and materials.

the problem is 16 hours isn't full time work. Add in 4 a week for cleaning, marketing, etc and you've still only reached 20 hours. If you do 30 weddings a year that's only 600 hours of work. A full time job is 2000 hours.

So it seems photogs want to make a full time living from part time work - 30 weddings and $40k a year is $1335 in wages for each wedding. Addin the $900ish (from the earlier pricing model) to cover the marketing/accounting/etc and you're at $2250ish a wedding with no product other than files.

Yeah, unless you are a 'name' you won't sell that very often.

I aim for $100/hour plus the costs of the products. My low end wedding package is $1500. Add in a 'real' album and an assistant for the day and yes, $2500 is what I charge.
and that's why I do more than just weddings!

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