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Why Do Wedding Photographers Charge What They Do?

A lot of people ask why photographers charge so much and, if you’re not a photographer, that’s a completely understandable question.

Weddings can be expensive. There’s no doubt about that. What are your biggest priorities? What can go? Where do you cut back?

Not the photographer.

Here’s why: Summed up very nicely by Kenny Kim in his book “Digital Wedding Photographer’s Planner” he writes:

“Weddings are expensive, and there are lots of unexpected costs that couples won’t anticipate. But after the food has all been eaten, the thank you notes written, the dress hung up and their life as a married couple well on the way, the photographs from the wedding will still be there to transport them back to that day, that time.”

Things that might be forgotten are solidified through photography. You will cherish these pictures for the rest of your life, show them to family and friends, your children and grandchildren.

If there are a few parts of the wedding you are going to splurge on, it should be the photographer. Look around at photographers, work up a budget, then ask for consultations and quotes from the photographers you like the most. Some photographers will have fixed, non-negotiable prices, but most are willing to negotiate- to an extent. Remember: you get what you pay for.

A Day In The Life of a Wedding Photographer:

  • I wake up extra early, often arrive early, and I do not charge extra for that. I want my work to be excellent, so if I know I’m going to need a little time to adjust my camera settings, figure out lighting or deal with any unexpected events, I plan on arriving early so that I don’t have to rush any photos.

  • We are on our feet- and in my case, back, side, balancing on precarious spots, whatever it takes to get an amazing shot!- almost the entire time (excluding quick bathroom breaks and a quick meal if it is offered or written into the contract).

  • Most photographers don’t take breaks like many other vocations allow/require. Especially if we don’t have an assistant, a second shooter or more than one photographer has been hired for the wedding. We need to be there ready to get every amazing moment, even the unplanned ones. Heck- ESPECIALLY the unplanned ones!

  • We carry heavy, expensive equipment. Most wedding photographers carry two camera bodies, an assortment of lenses, flash, light diffusers, tripods, multiple memory cards, filters, props, etc. Not to mention the case/bag to carry it all safely.And professional equipment is not cheap. Online, I read an article about why photographers charge what they do, and the writer said that some photographers carry up to “$1500.00 worth of equipment”. That is vastly understated. A correct amount for the any professional photographer worth their salt can carry photography gear costing anywhere from $8000.00 - $10,000.00.All so we can capture the amazing moments in your lives! And we love to do it!

  • Depending on location, there may be the cost of fuel, but normally that isn’t too much.

  • Most photographers scout the location days before the wedding, planning out what spots will help create the best photos, figure out where one shooter should be and when, and where the other shooter should be and when.

  • Consultations. We meet you at your chosen destination and I don’t charge for this because I love to meet my clients, talk about what they’re looking for and form a working relationship with them. It is important to be able to communicate with one another.Also, it lets the client figure out if they like you, as a photographer and a person. Nobody wants to hire the haughty man who pushes his ideas on you or the Grumpy Cat of photographers.(Okay. If the actual Grumpy Cat were a photographer, I might hire her. At least for the engagement photos.)

  • Contracts. Although many photographers create their own, some photographers hire lawyers to do it for them.

  • Prints and albums. Many of us like to bring along a professional photo book or album to show our clients what we can create for them, as well as prints and other services.The service I use is exquisite, with attention to detail, texture, fabric, color, size- the whole nine yards! It is a professional, quality printing service that I love and is only available to professional photographers.

There are other costs too, but I’m sure that helps one to understand why we charge what we charge. When the work is good, the price is worth it. You will thank yourself later.

It’s your special day! You will want to remember it forever!

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