Pricing {{Understanding}} Wedding and Custom Photography Pricing

This is why we (professional photographers) can’t shoot your wedding and just ‘give’ you a CD for 1,500. It is shocking the average person has NO Clue how much work we do AFTER the wedding and we don’t just go home to “burn” your cd.
Shooting is MAYBE 20% of our job the other 80% is what most people don’t understand.

While you will always have new photographers who are new, don’t pay taxes, don’t realize they are in the RED until Tax time will charge you very little and shoot your wedding even ‘throw’ in a book for under 1,500.00 but I promise you give them a couple years IF they are still in business it won’t be long OR their work is for lack of better words crappy.

Wedding Photography Prices
article by Megan Lyles

A Photographer’s Expenses:

High quality camera bodies can cost $5,000. Lenses – which the photographer will need several of to capture different parts of the ceremony and the reception, can cost $1,000 each or more. And at 2,000 frames per wedding, even a good camera will need to be replaced every couple of years. Then there are flashes, light meters, tripods, camera bags and other miscellaneous gear that all cost a pretty penny.

Your photographer is paying taxes on every dollar she makes, just like everyone else. So if her fee is $3,000, almost $1,000 will go to Uncle Sam.

Photographers must also insure their own camera equipment. Each of these types of insurance costs several hundred dollars per year.

Other Factors that Determine a Photographer’s Pricing:

Hidden Work.
A photographer doesn’t work for you only on the day of your wedding. Every meeting with potential clients is an investment of his time, whether she gets the job or not.

Once the wedding is shot, your photographer will spend hours editing, retouching, and color-correcting hundreds of images and then creating an online gallery of your wedding photos. Album design takes a lot of time, or costs money to pay someone to do it!

Intangible Artistry.
Photography is a skill and an art. A professional doesn’t simply memorize what all the camera buttons do; he or she is able to capture the beauty and emotion of your day in a unique way. Good photos are more than just technically correct, they are special.

Like professionals in any other field, wedding photographers have worked out their pricing system for a reason, and it’s not just to part you from your money! Professional photographs are a wonderful way to capture your memories. They are not essential, but they are priceless.

You should never feel pressured into paying more than you want to pay for wedding pictures, but neither should you assume that higher prices are simply a scam or a rip off. Once the cake is eaten and the flowers wilted, your photos (and your marriage!) are what you have left. A good photographer will provide you with photos that are worthy of becoming part of your family’s history.

Stacey Reeves on Pricing
The harsh but true reality of being a professional photographer is that most photographers who think they’re making money in their business actually aren’t. Most people think that if they’re getting any kind of payment at all, they’re turning a profit. Sadly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In 2006, Professional Photographers of America released a Benchmark Study that looked at the numbers of 180 different photographers across the country and analyzed how photography businesses are being run and how much money they’re really making. Here are some shocking findings from that study:

-The average photographer brings in a salary of approximately $30,000 a year. (You can make more than that as a manager at the local McDonald’s!)

-The best-run photography studio owners keep about 41% of their gross profits, while the average studio owner keeps approximately 30% of their revenue. That means that for every $1,000 paid, the average photographer gets to keep about $300.

-Most wedding photography studios need to charge around $5,000 a wedding in order for the studio owner to be able to make a reasonable living.

The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers recently published an article on the Secret Life of Wedding Photographers. Based on public perception of wedding photographers, this is what most people think our lives are like:


ISPWP followed up on that perception by studying the weekly routines of 50 wedding photographers. Based on the results of that study, here is the ACTUAL breakdown of time spent during an average week in the life of a wedding photographer:


although it may seem like you’re only paying for a few hours of shooting time, there’s so much that you don’t see, so many hours of behind the scenes work that you’re investing in without realizing it

  • January 27, 2010 - 10:03 pm

    Angela - LOVE your post! I totally and heartily agree! I struggle so much with brides who think my charging a starting price of $1800 is outrageous! And even after explaining to them why my starting price is what it is, they still don’t really grasp how much work it is.

    Thanks for posting this! I would love to link to this post so that I can hopefully show my brides the statistics!

    Thanks a ton!

    Oh, and I found you on!ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2010 - 12:17 am

    Michele (Pinkle Toes) - This. This is it. This is it, exactly.ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2011 - 7:11 pm

    Mamie - Love this! Thanks for explaining.ReplyCancel

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