Why Do Wedding Photographers Cost So Much?
One question that comes up fairly often is why wedding photography is so expensive? I’m going to attempt to break it down here and hopefully give you the information that will help you more fully understand the answer to that question. These figures are average and will vary from one photographer to another. Also, keep in mind that a single unmarried photographer will probably have a lower cost of living than one supporting a family of five. Individual differences between photographers such as this, among others, does impact what a photographers needs to charge to survive.
Let’s assume the photographer lists a price of $2995.00 for 8 hours of coverage, an engagement session, a flush mount album and a 400 proof prints. Out of that $2995.00 you need to consider the photographers expenses. First, there are the annual expenses that take a part of each weddings income. Among those expenses would be insurance, advertising, updates and maintenance of their website and sample albums, advertising, accounting and legal expenses, repair or replacement or upgrading of very expensive cameras and computers, continued education, wear and tear on their automobile, and for some…studio rent, electric and telephone. All this may come to $500.00 per wedding.
Next, there are the fixed expenses for each wedding. Include in this figure…proof albums and proof prints, consumables such as DVD’s or CD’s, and the cost of the coffee table book. This figure may come to $800.00.
After these expenses, the photographer is left with $1900.00. Federal, state and local taxes, social security and payroll taxes will take, on average, 40% of that $1900.00, or $760.00. This leaves the photographer with a little over a thousand dollars in earnings for photographing your wedding.
Wow, you say…a thousand bucks for a few hours work on a Saturday sure isn’t bad. If it was that simple…you’d be right…it would be pretty good money. So, let’s look at the time investment for each wedding.
2 hours for meetings, emails and phone calls as you interview the photographer.
3 hours for the shooting and editing of your engagement session.
12 hours on your wedding day.
10 hours to process your images, get proofs printed, etc.
10 hours designing and producing the final album.
5 hours for misc. meetings, phone calls, emails, planning sessions, trips to the lab, etc.
All this and you still need to add in the hours each week needed to run the business.
All told…a photographer invests 40-50 hours in each wedding. Also consider that the wedding photographer’s season in this part of the country is about 40 weeks long. There are relatively few weddings in December, January, February and August or September.
The national average income for wedding photographers is approximately $28,000.00 per year. So if it seems like wedding photographers make huge amounts of money…they do not. On average their incomes are pretty much in line with the rest of the employed public. Some make more and some make less, depending on experience, talent, the actual type of product being delivered, and overhead costs specific to that photographer.
I hope this information is helpful in understand why your photographers prices are what they are.