Why Does Wedding Photography Cost So Much?

by Lydia

SEPTEMBER 3, 2016

My clients value my artwork and my experience, and that means so much to me! I know that weddings can be expensive. I know that first hand, I promise. And I'm writing this post, not to justify my pricing (my nearly busting calendar is all the justification I need) but to explain to those who wonder about the investment in wedding photography. What is included? Why are the prices at a premium? Is the investment worth it? 

Every wedding is different, special, unique, sacred. You have put countless months, hours, work, and money into your wedding. You've planned the details, the colors, the dresses, the food...the list goes on. All of this hard work deserves to be documented in a beautiful way! Yes, professional wedding photography is a luxury service for your wedding. But, it is one you DON'T want to go without. But, just in case you are still wondering about the value of your investment, let me explain a little about the wedding photography industry and pricing.































































































































Gear

Time

Marketing (to reach potential brides)
Corresponding (usually via email, text, or              phone)
Consultation
Booking
Billing
Website Design
Engagement Session
Editing Engagement Session
Social Media Publishing of Engagement 
     Session
Wedding Day Preparation
Wedding Day Shooting
Wedding Image Editing
Social Media Publishing of Wedding
Gallery Styling and Delivery
Album Design and Layout
Album Revisions
USB Design and Layout
Final Correspondance

                                                   TOTAL HOURS

2 Hours
2 Hours

1 Hour
1 Hour
1 Hour
3 Hours
2 Hours
4 Hours
1 Hour

2 Hours
10 Hours
20 Hours
1 Hour
3 Hours
4 Hours
2 Hours
1 Hour
1 Hour

61 HOURS     

Business Costs

Adobe Creative Suite (For editing and publishing)

Web Form Plug-In/Web Payments
Website Hosting
Gallery Hosting
Microsoft Subscription
Album and Print Costs
Business/Gear Insurance and Liability


                                             TOTAL MONTHLY

$53.99

$29.95
$29
$29
$6
$100
$87


$334.94     

Now, assuming that I shoot an average of two weddings per month, that brings my hourly gross income to $16.92 per hour. After taxes, this doesn't amount to a huge income. NOW PLEASE HEAR ME! I'm not complaining. I love what I do! But, so many people do not understand what all goes into maintaining a successful wedding photography business. It's a joy and a privilege to photograph your wedding! But, with this privilege comes certain financial obligations and time constraints. Thank you for reading! And I hope this has given you some insight into the wedding industry.

There are so many operating costs (in addition to the gear) for being a photographer. I also have to have a great computer with an incredible monitor for editing purposes, software, hosting, insurance, etc. Each and EVERY month that I'm in business, I'm paying:

So now if you look at my income per hour per wedding, I'm grossing $19.67 per hour. Still decent, right? Oh, but there's so much more cost involved.



You see me at your wedding for approximately 8-10 hours, and it would be easy to assume that I show up and shoot for that amount of time and magically make $1200. That's around $120 per hour! But, unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. As a small business owner, I'm also responsible for marketing, scheduling, consultations, booking, accounting, billing, website design and updating, social media, corresponding, teaching, and then shooting and editing. So, for a typical wedding, this is a more accurate breakdown of my time management:



I wouldn't dream of a shooting a wedding on anything less! As I've learned and as my craft improves, each piece of equipment is vital to capturing the various elements of your wedding day! But, all of this gear is easily valued at $15,000 or more.

For each and every wedding that I photograph, I bring along some of the top Canon gear used by professionals in the wedding photography industry. You can see from the list of my gear below that these are high ticket items. Some of them, I'm still paying for. Not to mention the cost of service plans to keep my camera bodies and lenses in top notch shape, and the bags and cases to carry them in!

Thank you for contacting me.  
I will respond shortly.