Ever wondered why wedding photographers are so expensive? I bet you have, that’s why you’re here right? So, what exactly makes the cost of wedding photography so high?
First, I’d like to start off by mentioning that wedding photography is not an expense, it’s an investment. An investment into your future and your memories. Once your day is done and dusted, your photographs (and potentially video if you got one) are going to be the only things left to help you to remember your wedding, and bring back every emotion you felt on your day.
Once you understand this, investing in a great wedding photographer is a no-brainer!
There is so much more to wedding photography than just rocking up for a few hours, pushing a button repeatedly and randomly and then handing the images over. There is a massive amount of time spent behind the scenes, before and after the wedding day, and especially if your photographer is like me and is a full day wedding photographer.
On average, a hobyist will cost under $1,500, and amateaur photographer $1,500 – $2,500, and a professional wedding photographer will charge $2,500 – $4,000 as a base rate.
I’ll walk you through some of the factors that contribute to the cost of a wedding photographer…
Have you seen how expensive a professional camera is? Not to mention, the quality glass that goes with it (aka lenses). On an average wedding day, I bring about $25,000 – $30,000 of equipment with me that needs to be maintained and current to ensure your photos are of the highest quality. I’m constantly adding to my collection and replacing old gear.
Not only the equipment that’s brought on the wedding day, but also the editing software that needs to be purchased and the USB’s, hard drives, and any client gifts and presentation materials. It all adds up very quickly!
To ensure the highest level of delivery, professional photographers will spend not only a lot of time but also a lot of money on their education and ongoing training on both photography and post-production skills. This may be workshops, courses or conferences but in any case, it ensures that their skill level is at its best and we’re up to date with the latest industry trends and information.
The post-production/processing/editing of your images is a very time-consuming part of the wedding. Particularly when couples expect ‘sneak peeks’ within 24 hours of the wedding in the current market. For me, this means shooting a wedding until about 11pm, driving home and staying up culling and editing a selection of photos until 2am to have a few to send through the next morning. Once the sneak peeks have been received the proper editing starts – this takes weeks and many, many hours to complete and to make every photo perfect. It’s not something that should be rushed.
I’ve touched on it slightly above, but the time spent during the day and post-production isn’t where it ends. So much time goes into every email, every phone call, every meeting and driving from each location. On average there are about 40 hours that goes into each of my weddings.
General Business Costs
Just to cover the essentials, to run any sort of business you need to purchase insurance, a business name, a website, domain name, website hosting, a graphic designer and website designer (luckily I know how to do my own branding), pay an accountant, and purchse software such as Microsoft Office etc. I can keep going if you’d like?
My point is, the cost of wedding photography is high, because if you’re hiring a professional wedding photographer they are going to do everything in their power to provide the best quality images and experience for you – from using the latest gear and software, to putting in the time and ensuring best and legitimate business practices are in place.
You could go cheap, but that’s not an investment is it? You do get what you pay for.