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Author Topic: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?  (Read 5455 times)

cayenne

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Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:33:08 PM »
I came across this article the other day...a lady was complaining about the high prices photographers charge for weddings, etc.

This was a very interesting article about the lady complaining, and a very well, logical, thought out response.

Give this a read and let me know what you think......

http://petapixel.com/2012/01/26/why-wedding-photographers-prices-are-wack/


cayenne

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Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« on: December 09, 2013, 01:33:08 PM »

Hardwire

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 01:45:47 PM »
I like this post.
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Eldar

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 01:51:16 PM »
She puts her hours at the wedding in perspective. The complaining woman is probably quite typical. They don't understand the pre and post work, equipment required and the cost of running a business. It is almost funny when she compares the cost for the bride's dress to the services of the photographer.
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YuengLinger

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 02:14:09 PM »
I appreciate the sentiments in the reply, but it is angry and whiny. 

Nothing in the explanation of the price would convince any bride to buy the photographer's services at any price.

Why even reply to a craigslist crank? 

Think of dining out.  You can find a fast food restaurant or splurge on a gourmet dining experience.  You will never convince a customer who can get a fried fish sandwich for $2 that it is worth paying $40 for a platter of fresh stone crabs--if all they want to pay for a meal is $2.

We could consider the food at the wedding too.  Why not "cater" from a fried chicken drive-through or McD for your daughter's wedding? 

As photographers, we understand quality costs, but we have to be oh-so subtle with the soft-sell when somebody is truly pinching pennies for an event they'd love to splurge on.

If a wedding is a truly precious day to be documented with the best quality images affordable, with drama, grace, and beauty shining from every shot that makes the final cut, then a fair price can be worked out.  Don't worry about the customers who want a $2 fish sandwich!

If cheap and quick is what a prospective client wants, don't get angry, don't preach, don't ask for pity because it costs a lot to run the business.  Direct them to somebody else and move on.

Name any business in America that doesn't face crazy costs.  Photography is labor intensive and the equipment costs a lot, but at least we don't have to buy and throw away expensive seafood and beef on a daily basis, as fine restaurants do.  (Even the best inventory control can't stop 100% of waste; waste is built into the expense of running a good restaurant.)

What the photographer says in the reply is all true, and we can complain over beer to each other, but you'd be a fool to show this reply to the next client who questions price.  My point is, complaining about how much it costs to run our businesses is not good salesmanship.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 02:19:03 PM by YuengLinger »

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 02:14:46 PM »
And that gets the the crux of the problem.  Out of 365 days in a year, according to the article most of the revenue is generated by 20 events over 4 months, most likely on weekends.  A full time employee is spreading 2000 hours over 250 days.  The consumer will see that it is costing him 6% of his salary or 3 weeks of work (assuming 50k/year not even acounting for taxes) or maybe 10% or 5 weeks of work including taxes for 1 day's worth of shooting for the photographer and a few days of processing.  The consumes see little to no value in the weblogging, mentoring, advertising and other aspects of what the linked photographer claims he does because it does not affect his finished product.

Trying to make a living off seasonal jobs is hard.  Some find other lines of work during the "off-season".  For full-time photographers, all that income needs to sustain them for the year, which is why they are vulnerable to those that do it on the side (i.e. weekend job) and can charge less.  Those that excel in quality that the customer recognizes can and do charge more, but it is much harder for those whose work do not stand out.

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 02:22:16 PM »
...

If a wedding is a truly precious day to be documented with the best quality images affordable, with drama, grace, and beauty shining from every shot that makes the final cut, then a fair price can be worked out.  Don't worry about the customers who want a $2 fish sandwich!

If cheap and quick is what a prospective client wants, don't get angry, don't preach, don't ask for pity because it costs a lot to run the business.  Direct them to somebody else and move on.

...

Don't disagree with what you wrote, but photographers are not the first things on the list for prospective brides and grooms.  Typically, the venue, accomodations and food are.  Unfortunately, those are the largest ticket items and have already caused the clients to spend more than they want (i.e. What do you mean I can't afford a typical 25k wedding on a budget of 10k?).  At this point, a lot of them are trying to squeeze blood from rocks.

YuengLinger

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 02:24:50 PM »
Exactly, Random Orbits.  Customers aren't paying to support a photographer, they are paying for value.  If you can't sell the value of the images as keepsakes that both document and dramatize the great day, it doesn't matter how good your work is.

With all the good photographers around, the ones that can connect with the client and sell can keep afloat.

"You seem expensive.  Why should I choose you?"

"Because I have to spend so much on gear and insurance."

Really?

As for the total price of a wedding, today's economy sucks no matter how positive our thinking.  The pool of customers is smaller.  The ones doing great in the stock market and elsewhere are going to choose the best photographers with the best people skills.  Period.  It sucks, but it's the water we are swimming in right now.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 02:28:53 PM by YuengLinger »

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 02:24:50 PM »

alexanderferdinand

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 02:35:45 PM »
Wedding pictures is nothing you need like a hospital or a flat/house.
So take the price or leave it.
It has a reason why good wedding fotographers cost that money.

My 2€- cents.

Valvebounce

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 06:57:22 PM »
Hi Folks.
Wow, she wrote all that and then put her business details at the end so everyone knew who to avoid!
Not suggesting she is wrong about why she needs to charge this much, but I think this is the sort of thing you keep to yourself and sell your strengths.

Cheers Graham.
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Grumbaki

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 10:38:33 PM »
I'm not a pro photog and I'm an @ss when it comes to negociating.

For all it worth, my stance on that whole stuff would be to direct them to a craiglist 150$ soccer mum with a SL1 on auto. Once enough poeple cry over crappy pictures or find themselves on http://youarenotaphotographer.com/ the market will settle.

That or get them to read Stiglitz's work on asymetric market markets. The former might be easier.

Radiating

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 04:15:46 AM »
I love how 99% of the replies in the comments bickered about the specific prices she listed as being off by 20% 30% or whatever. And otherwise mentioned that photographers are being replaced by amateurs and photographers are just complaining.

I think a large part of what is missing in this argument is the skill photography takes.

If anything photographers are under paid, it's been studied and shown that it takes around 10,000 hours to be good at a skill and with photography it's no different. Even being paid at minimum wage, a highly skilled wedding photographer with 7 years experience, and 10,000 hours of practice on their free time in that time frame would add around $1,000 to each wedding just to reimburse them for building their skill set if spread over all those years, and even without that most photographers barley make ends meat due to overhead.

Skill isn't worthless, and if you think it is, then I encourage you to walk through a war zone with your uncle bill watching your back with an M16 and see how comfortable you are with the idea that equipment is all that's important. Oh that's right, you'd soil yourself 10 times over and beg for someone with military training or a special forces escort.

When I was initially learning photography my rate of creating truly stunning photos was maybe 1:5,000. After years of effort I was able to move that to 1:500 and then 1:250. When I switched to shallow depth of field lenses things got even harder, and I moved to 1:500 again. Then with more practice I got to 1:150. Adding in more and more complexity and more challenging and expensive equipment moved the rate at which I created good results down further and more practice brought it up. Finally after years and years of even more effort I can make a stunning photo about 1 out of ever 40 times I push the shutter button.

Your uncle bill with more money than skill makes really good photos every five thousand times he presses the shutter button. A pro makes good photos every 50 times or less.  If you want to pay 100 friends and relatives $200 to shoot your wedding, go ahead. It will cost $20,000. Or for a low low price, I will do it for $4,000, and you'll get the exact same number of good photos.

On the back end it's also worth mentioning editing. I started out as a photo editor doing work for major magazine and gravitated gradually to photography. Every keeper I take results in 20 minutes of editing. For a 4 hour wedding I would spend 120 hours editing photos. That's another $1000 at minimum wage. Editing is the single greatest difference maker when it comes to photos.

Example:








In any case it doesn't take someone "just a day" to shoot a wedding. A dedicated wedding photographer will spend that entire week editing those photos. The effective pay rate for a $3,000 wedding shoot is $37 per hour. For seasonal highly skilled traveling work that supplies it's own very expensive tools and maintains all it's overhead. That is a very reasonable price.



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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 08:57:02 AM »
I came across this article the other day...a lady was complaining about the high prices photographers charge for weddings, etc.

This was a very interesting article about the lady complaining, and a very well, logical, thought out response.

Give this a read and let me know what you think......

http://petapixel.com/2012/01/26/why-wedding-photographers-prices-are-wack/


cayenne

Interesting read ... both sides have a point from their own perspectives ... but if one is going to get married and spend $hit loads of money on food, drinks and whatnot which hardly lasts for a few hours, I see no reason why they cannot spend $3000 for life time of memories ... if one cannot afford a $3000 photographer, hire someone who charges less ... there are plenty of people who charge less and you get what you pay for, such is life in any field. A bus and a taxi both take you from place A to place B, but one cannot crib that the taxi is charging more.
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unfocused

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 10:54:07 AM »
Thanks for reminding me why I never wanted to do wedding photography.
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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 10:54:07 AM »

AcutancePhotography

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 12:17:11 PM »
Why should I choose you?"

That is the question every "professional" photographer needs to ask themselves.  There are no shortages of "professional" photographers out there.  I know that I want a "good" photographer, but why would I choose you?

If the photographer can't immediately, completly, and measurably answer this question to themselves, the potential customer probably can't/won't.

Professional photographers need to put themselves in the position of the customer.  A photography customer does not care about the photographer's education, experience, time invested, equipment, overhead, taxes, etc.  What the customer cares about is the results -- "what will I get for my money?"

This is what makes marketing photography so difficult. And why anyone who wants to make their living soley from wedding photography needs serious professional help.  :)
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distant.star

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2013, 01:09:24 PM »
Thanks for reminding me why I never wanted to do wedding photography.

And exactly why I would never do it today under any circumstances. It was much easier and simpler 40 years ago!

One thing I'll add to this discussion is something I often tell people -- When the house is burning down, people are saving their pictures. They're not looking around for the wedding day dress or the bronzed baby shoes or the college diploma. The pictures are what hold the powerful memories of our lives, and under all the talk, we all realize this.
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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2013, 01:09:24 PM »