Wedding season is in full swing and many newly engaged couples are now looking for their wedding vendors for their 2013 and 2014 weddings. Many couples choose to have their weddings photographed by professional wedding photographers but do not know why wedding photography costs what it does and what goes into the backend of the work that is produced for them. I hope to provide you with an understanding of how much work, time and financial investment wedding photographers put into the final product that is provided to couples. This is meant so that couples can understand the value behind the art that photographers are creating and why their wedding photography investment is a substantial portion of their wedding budget.
Our jobs as photographers has been greatly glorified by the media and shows like America’s Next Top Model. Everyone seems to have this glorified view of what our jobs are like. We all sit at our computers all week in our pj’s, then work an 8 hour day on a wedding day and suddenly make a ton of money. Unfortunately, that is not how the world of photography business works.
On top of being photographers, we are small business owners. We have the responsibility of marketing our businesses, managing clients, creating our own websites, being our own IT department, mentoring others, learning on a constant basis, blogging, facebooking, researching, and the list goes on.
There are many uncle Bob’s and mom’s with cameras out there who claim to be professionals. Wedding photographers spend thousands of dollars and even more time in education, training, attending seminars, etc. to bring our clients the best creative genius we can. That’s only the start of it.
So once we have all this knowledge, what happens next? That beautiful album that couples receive, the software used cost about $500 just to design it. Those beautifully edited photos which require programs of the likes of Photoshop which costs thousands of dollars and photo management programs such as Lightroom and Aperture. Why not also add some effects with OnOne Perfect Photo Suite. None of this is inexpensive. Every year or couple of months there are updates. Yes, wedding photographers always update and that too costs money depending on the program.
The wedding reception venues asks wedding photographers to provide proof of insurance. That professional liability insurance is not inexpensive. Not to mention the equipment insurance because replacing one of those Canon 5D Mark III’s would be the cost of a wedding shoot for many photographers and then some.
Photographer’s who take themselves seriously all register as businesses in their state. They also owe taxes to Uncle Sam.
Couples may have found their photographer through a wedding directory via a google search. It costs money for to advertise on those sites. That beautiful website where photographers host their pictures are also charging a yearly fee. There is also a yearly subscription fee to the site that hosts the website and product orders.
That is just a quick recap of what wedding photographers have to maintain in order to keep their businesses up and running. This is where the fun part begins.
Before the wedding, couples typically email and speak to their wedding photographer about an average of 10 hours. Many times photographers will also visit venues with couples to ensure the best experience possible.
Wedding photographers spend the full wedding day with the couple at the event photographing an average of about 4,000 images. Couples receive roughly 500-1000 images which means the wedding photographer spent many hours culling out images from the best ones.
Once the images have been culled to a range of 500-1000, the wedding photographer begins going through each image with a fine tooth comb. It’s the couple’s wedding day… one of the most if not the most important days of their life. Wedding photographers want couples to remember it looking their best. Every image is made to look its best and anything that seems out of place is retouched.
Once the couple has all of the beautifully perfected images, it is time to create an album. The images are now culled down to 100-200 images. This will take a wedding photographer anywhere from 2-5 working hours.
Designing the perfect wedding album also takes time and expertise. Albums are designed in spreads and layouts which can take another 10 hours of working time.
A true professional photography business puts in more than a week’s worth of work into the production of a couple’s wedding.