Why weddings Photography cost so much?


raptor84

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Dec 6, 2005
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#1
An article from Peta Pixel. A wedding photographer responds to a classified asking why wedding photographers cost so much. While the scenario is based in the US I feel that same principles apply here too :)

Why Wedding Photographers Prices are “Wack”

My opinion is that the clients do need to be made aware that for good photographers, its not just about turning up and shooting at the wedding but also all the prep work before and after.
 

sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
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#2
Yes, across the US in this week or two there is a great number of these articles arising.

It is all responding to a Craiglist rant by a bride to be complaining that photography is expensive.

IMHO, her $3000 branded accessories bag that goes out of fashion in a season or two, is expensive, and it benefits only her vanity.

A humble photographer's $3000 package with album that her great granddaughter will one day see, after she had long expired, is not expensive, and it benefits her family.
An article from Peta Pixel. A wedding photographer responds to a classified asking why wedding photographers cost so much. While the scenario is based in the US I feel that same principles apply here too :)

Why Wedding Photographers Prices are “Wack”

My opinion is that the clients do need to be made aware that for good photographers, its not just about turning up and shooting at the wedding but also all the prep work before and after.
 

kei1309

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2010
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#4
while the photographer who wrote that has a point, one thing to take note is that having all that equipment doesn't make one a good wedding photographer.

although she has every right as a professional earning from her pictures to demand that amount of money, looking at the images in her gallery leaves me feeling that i can actually pay her the same rate as those wannabes charging $50 an hour and getting the same results.
 

sinned79

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Jun 18, 2009
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#5
while the photographer who wrote that has a point, one thing to take note is that having all that equipment doesn't make one a good wedding photographer.

although she has every right as a professional earning from her pictures to demand that amount of money, looking at the images in her gallery leaves me feeling that i can actually pay her the same rate as those wannabes charging $50 an hour and getting the same results.
i beg to differ.

although skills still matters but skills aside if you are a full time photographer, its a totally different story as compared to a photographer that is freelancing in his free time but got a FT job and dun need the earnings from these photography jobs to bring food on the table.

the photographer skills might be poor but he or she is doing this fulltime. if he or she were to charge cheaply, how to survive?

and come back to equipments, since he or she is a FT photographer, he or she needs to be responsible for his or her works, he or she had to invest on the right lens to do the job well (afterall its his or her FT job!), and by investing on the right equipments means he or she needs the right lens when shooting low light situations and not be limited by his or her equipments (he or she can't be telling "Sorry my lens cannot shoot well in low light areas, can I shift you to a better well lit spot instead?").

so medicore shooter does not means they cannot own expensive lens. likewise pro shooter cannot turn medicore lens/equipments into wonderful works (trying shooting with a f4 lens in a low light church environment with an entry level camera). regardless medicro or pro shooters, u needs the right lens/equipments for the right situations.

then now comes to how much he or she is charging, if he or she is charging awfully high price for medicore skills, its still up to the couple to want to hire him or her. It's a mutual understanding.
 

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sjackal

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Jul 9, 2008
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#6
while the photographer who wrote that has a point, one thing to take note is that having all that equipment doesn't make one a good wedding photographer.

although she has every right as a professional earning from her pictures to demand that amount of money, looking at the images in her gallery leaves me feeling that i can actually pay her the same rate as those wannabes charging $50 an hour and getting the same results.
I agree that listing those equipment costs is a bad move. As a consumer, I don't care how much your equipment cost. As a photographer, I care even less. To justify your prices but the price tag of your equipment is actually lowering your worth, not rising it. Equipment vs photographer debates are old and boring. It works both ways. Good equipment does not make good vision or expression of creativity. But good vision and creativity needs good equipment in order to properly express that visual creation in difficult situations and terrains.

In regards to image quality, I agree that her work is not the best I seen. But wedding photography is not just photography - we all know that. She might bring more value into her services in other soft areas than just photography alone. No way I am going to hire a wannabe noob for an event as important as a wedding. I got into professional photography because I think I have way more talent than an average hobbyist, and now its my 4th year and I am still feeling I don't know enough. It just like saying those jockeys just sit on the horse and enjoy, anyway its the horse who does the running and hard work. But the person saying does not know the work of the jockey beyond watching the jockey riding on the horse, nor does this person knows how horse crap smells like.
 

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sinned79

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#7
But good vision and creativity needs good equipment in order to properly express that visual creation in difficult situations and terrains.
yes, as quoted in my previous replies, if a photographer is limited by his own equipments, no matter how creative or good vision you are, you are still limited.

eg, a f4 lens with an entry camera in a church (low light situation) - no flash.

how are u gonna shoot?

although some may argue, i can increase ISO, but that will create noise, noise can be creative to some but some may not like it, end up u spent extra time to minimise the noise during PP stage.

having the right equipments sometimes can really save you alot of time doing PP. Saving those times can be put to better other uses.
 

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sjackal

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Jul 9, 2008
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#8
yes, as quoted in my previous replies, if a photographer is limited by his own equipments, no matter how creative or good vision you are, you are still limited.

eg, a f4 lens with an entry camera in a church (low light situation) - no flash.

how are u gonna shoot?
Not to go too off topic but local context is generally ok for church. In the western world where they have really old large churches, those few hundred years old type, poor lighting, even zero lighting save for candles, or have light sensitive precious artworks, historical and national treasures etc that could be damaged by flash, and really strict vicar/priest/rabbi, and especially holy grounds, movement and flash of photographers are really limited. Yes, need 200mm f/2, 50mm f/1.2, etc, at ISO6400

In Singapore, seldom. Our difficult terrain is more like night time on helipads, on yachts, etc, where you can use flash but you have no surface to bounce, to extreme tight places due to our precious little amount of land, while you can access but your lens must be wide enough...
 

kei1309

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Apr 12, 2010
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#9
i beg to differ.

although skills still matters but skills aside if you are a full time photographer, its a totally different story as compared to a photographer that is freelancing in his free time but got a FT job and dun need the earnings from these photography jobs to bring food on the table.

the photographer skills might be poor but he or she is doing this fulltime. if he or she were to charge cheaply, how to survive?

and come back to equipments, since he or she is a FT photographer, he or she needs to be responsible for his or her works, he or she had to invest on the right lens to do the job well (afterall its his or her FT job!), and by investing on the right equipments means he or she needs the right lens when shooting low light situations and not be limited by his or her equipments (he or she can't be telling "Sorry my lens cannot shoot well in low light areas, can I shift you to a better well lit spot instead?").

so medicore shooter does not means they cannot own expensive lens. likewise pro shooter cannot turn medicore lens/equipments into wonderful works (trying shooting with a f4 lens in a low light church environment with an entry level camera). regardless medicro or pro shooters, u needs the right lens/equipments for the right situations.

then now comes to how much he or she is charging, if he or she is charging awfully high price for medicore skills, its still up to the couple to want to hire him or her. It's a mutual understanding.
totally agree bro. but the point i was trying to raise wasn't that she's not allowed to charge that fee, but rather that her linking her website might be damaging to her reputation in the end. a double-edged sword, really.

if someone reading that post looks at the quality of the shots, and raises that issue up, that, comparing price vs what is delivered, how will she be able to substantiate her asking price? that person could make the same remark there that "i can pay an amateur a fraction of the cost and get the same results".

true, it might be her marketing and soft skills, like what sjackal mentioned, but in the end, it would be pretty damaging for her reputation if someone comments about the quality and if not handled well, could put a dent in her income. remember, her actual self and personality cannot be felt through the website.

but really, kudos to her for daring to step up to the plate and take a swing at those who think professional photography is all fun and games.
 

sinned79

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Jun 18, 2009
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#10
totally agree bro. but the point i was trying to raise wasn't that she's not allowed to charge that fee, but rather that her linking her website might be damaging to her reputation in the end. a double-edged sword, really.

if someone reading that post looks at the quality of the shots, and raises that issue up, that, comparing price vs what is delivered, how will she be able to substantiate her asking price? that person could make the same remark there that "i can pay an amateur a fraction of the cost and get the same results".

true, it might be her marketing and soft skills, like what sjackal mentioned, but in the end, it would be pretty damaging for her reputation if someone comments about the quality and if not handled well, could put a dent in her income. remember, her actual self and personality cannot be felt through the website.

but really, kudos to her for daring to step up to the plate and take a swing at those who think professional photography is all fun and games.
i guess she just want to be transparent by showing all the costs involved. but then again, reading it in a broader manner, its quite true that every photographers should factor in the costs that they have invested in their equipments (whether good or normal lens) and charge accordingly.

ROI is very important!
 

Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
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#15
Interesting read...

Here is some food for thought.

The bride mentioned about spending the whole month of pay on photography is too expensive. We can't blame her to feel that way, because people who work for others and getting monthly "nett pay" do feel that photographers who run their business who charge the "gross" charge is too much.

Basically, if a company is running at about 30% profit, if she get paid $3k a month, the minimum gross turnover that the company needs to turn over by hiring her is $10k. So in matter of fact, her pay is $10k but after minus all the company expenses, it is $3k for simple argument. In this case the company make no profit by hiring this person and generally would be made redundant. This is common in workplace and generally this is what they mean by "it's not personal and it is just business".

When a photographer who runs a business, to make a $3k profit, the company will have to turn over $10k gross and that's equate to 30% profit.

With these analogy, I believe the photographer can understand why the rant came about in the first place and the bride, if using these analogy would feel better and understand why we need to make profit running our own business.

A lot of people fail to understand the concept of business, though it is dead simple... If you put a margin on top of the cost, that margin is your profit. But many only consider the gross turn over as their "profit" and wondering where their money is at the end of the year as there were nothing much left in the bank.

Now, for this author, if the wedding is making her loss in business, I find it difficult to understand why she has to keep doing wedding photography, just don't make business sense.

There is a big distinction between people who make money (side income and not depend on photography to make a living) from photography and those who runs a photography business (people who livelihood depend on photography).

The first type, simply able to charge lower then cost as it is a hobby and doing it for fun and most of time, fuel the passion by paying part of cost from their own pocket.

The second, simply have to understand the whole concept of cost and make money to enjoy their life, nothing more than people are getting paid turning up to work.

I often joke when people told me that I am expensive is that, I will say, well, if someone is paying for my children education, a roof over my head, meal to keep us going, warm clothing for us, occasional small holidays and small saving in the bank for raining days, I am happy to do photography free of charge.

How I love to do photography out of passion and be an artist if everything else in life don't cost anything...

There isn't any justification needed in how much cost it incur in running a business... No one cares (apart from tax office)...

Just need to understand the concept of gross selling point and nett income.

Regards,

Hart
 

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weelian

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Jan 5, 2011
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#16
I feel that the post is one of those where you should smile and walk away. Customers do not care if you use expensive gear or a big iMac to edit the shots. The result is all they want. Listing out the cost of your business feels pretty whiney and bitter. To me at least.

Customers who gets it, gets it. Those who don't... well, they are not your customers.
 

Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
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#17
I feel that the post is one of those where you should smile and walk away. Customers do not care if you use expensive gear or a big iMac to edit the shots. The result is all they want. Listing out the cost of your business feels pretty whiney and bitter. To me at least.

Customers who gets it, gets it. Those who don't... well, they are not your customers.
I get what you mean, but there is a need for us as a photographer to educate our clients whether or not, they will book our service. This is more important in long run then simple acknowledge this as fact and move on simply they are not our client.

Regards,

Hart
 

Sep 23, 2005
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#18
Try using a compact cam, show them wonderful portfolio and charge them for $3k.
 

sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
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#20
I get what you mean, but there is a need for us as a photographer to educate our clients whether or not, they will book our service. This is more important in long run then simple acknowledge this as fact and move on simply they are not our client.

Regards,

Hart
Trick is to educate skillfully without sounding like a rant or 'trying too hard to justify'.