Since I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, I got this content from (http://tiffinbox.org/the-new-wedding-guest/). A Connecticut based wedding photographer, Richard Esposito did a very good, but extremely long, article about today’s wedding guest. I agree with and love everything he said, but I feel the second half of his article was more important, the price of wedding photography? Suzie Q down the street, who is a professional too (she has a website, she must be professional), has the same camera as you and charges $500 and I’ll have the images in a week or two. Website and camera do not make someone a professional. Imagine if that was true for a doctor or lawyer. You can find answers to almost an question on the internet, you don’t need a degree. Just put up a website, meet your client at Starbucks and trust all your legal woes to them. NOT! You’d be in jail or on the losing end of a lawsuit.
Please take a few minutes and read the second half of Richard’s blog post. It is extremely interesting and may make you think next time you ask a real professional to do it for free…
So how do we convince an engaged couple to spend $3-10k with a professional? According to Market Watch, wedding photographers are the most overpaid jobs in America, saying “Total work for each wedding is generally a sit-down consultation combined with a single day spent following the happy couple. While equipment costs and film development must be covered, thanks to digital technology such costs have been heavily reduced. Unfortunately for the consumer, photographers do not offer any reduction in price for missed photos, amateur shots, or other mediocre work product.”
So let’s talk briefly about what it costs to be a professional wedding photographer. My second photographer here was looking to buy his own equipment. Just to start off with the basics he was up to $8,000. Imagine the cost of what I carry. Oh, and I have to insure all of it. Then there’s vehicle expenses, commissions for running credit cards, equipment repairs, I spent $1200 on postage this year (postage!!!), continuing education, computer and software upgrades, hard drives, hard drives, hard drives, it costs to make albums, some of us pay staff… I really could go on. Oh wait! providing for my family? Putting food on our table and the discount outlet clothes on our back? A professional photographer doesn’t have a “real job” during the week so we have to pay our own health care for our family, save for retirement, and hope for a weeks vacation that comes out of our pocket. I did 25 weddings this year and my expenses were double the average 2 person family income in Connecticut (according to census.gov).
For the other side of the story, the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers did an awesome survey of photographers recently. I know when I started my business, everyone I knew thought I just worked weekends and did nothing during the week. We have a great lifestyle of taking photos, traveling, and partying.
Here’s reality: 70 hours a week through our 6-7 month season and 40 hours a week off season. There is no mention in here regarding time with family, charity work, and taking any time off. Only 12.2% off our time during business hours is spent taking pictures.
If I didn’t have the expenses that I have, or spend this much time getting everything done, I’d be out of business. I’d have to get a full time job and just do photography on the weekend. I’d be your Uncle Bob.
Again, huge shout out to Richard for a really well done article. Digital is NOT free. It actually cost my almost 2x as much as film. Why – new cameras every few years, new software or software upgrades every year, tons and tons of time behind a computer tweeking, editting and prepping images for the lab. Your right, I am not buying film or paying for processing – that was cheap compared to today.