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Author Topic: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?  (Read 6979 times)

Botts

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2013, 02:38:21 PM »
I have read that article before, it was a good read.

I would like to attempt to do a study on wedding photography price regionally.  Here in Edmonton, AB it seems that $2,750 is about where pricing starts for a photographer who has IMO a quality portfolio.  The median income in Edmonton is $56,338 annually.  The average price for a single family detached home is $376k, and the average condo is $222k.

It would be interesting to determine how much of an impact the external labor and housing markets have on photography pricing.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 02:40:13 PM by Botts »
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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2013, 02:38:21 PM »

RobertP

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2013, 03:06:35 PM »
My brother and I both got married about 20 years ago before the internet or digital photography had been invented. He hired a professional photographer who probably used a Nikon or Canon.  I had less money so my father and I shared the photographic duties using a Praktica BC-1.

My wedding pictures are more memorable and technically better than my brother's. You don't always get what you pay for.

Don't tell me how much your equipment cost or how many year's experience you have. If you want $4000 then show me pictures I'd pay $4000 to own.

And don't complain about people who want $400 photos. That's like Rolls Royce whinging about people who want Toyotas. There are lots of price points in the market. If a customer isn't offering what you're worth then politely decline. Don't waste your breath arguing unless you think you can upsell them.

Botts

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2013, 03:56:18 PM »
My brother and I both got married about 20 years ago before the internet or digital photography had been invented. He hired a professional photographer who probably used a Nikon or Canon.  I had less money so my father and I shared the photographic duties using a Praktica BC-1.

My wedding pictures are more memorable and technically better than my brother's. You don't always get what you pay for.

Don't tell me how much your equipment cost or how many year's experience you have. If you want $4000 then show me pictures I'd pay $4000 to own.

And don't complain about people who want $400 photos. That's like Rolls Royce whinging about people who want Toyotas. There are lots of price points in the market. If a customer isn't offering what you're worth then politely decline. Don't waste your breath arguing unless you think you can upsell them.

Exactly.  Never hesitate to ask a photographer for a bigger example of their portfolio.

If he's got 8 photos online as his portfolio, you don't know if those are the only good 8 photos he's taken, or the best 8 photos of hundreds. 

Find a photographer with a good body of work, that is in your style, in your price range.
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surapon

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2013, 02:34:19 PM »
Dear Friends.
Let me share my sister story :
We, Live in North Carolina, And my Sister's Daughter Live and work as Doctor in Tucson, Arz, And she get Marry with her DR. friend in Tucson---My Sister's and my Brother in law Hire the Local Photographer in  his City, NC. for two day( 1 day for rehursal, and 1 day and night for marry day), Fly to Tucson. Yes He  go with one Light support girl, His Fee = $ 11,000 US Dollar, Plus Airplane ticket for 2 seats, two nights  at the Hotel, and all meals in that two days---The Big Plus = All the cost of Prints and BOOKs that my sister want. Yes, After the wedding day = 3 months, My sister family get to see the Photos = 400 Photos on hie web site, and My sister start to order the Photos---Yes, After 6 Months of the wedding day, My sister get the Photos, But not the Book of wedding= That another 6 more months--------Ha, Ha, Ha, When my sister call the Photographer, He tell her that, The Great Photos must use a lot of Times to make the Best, Like the Great Foods, Must have a slow cook, until the perfected Taste.
Yes, That why he not get more job form my Sister.
Surapon

PS. Yes, All of my family tell me that, DO NOT BRING MY BIG CAMERAS AND  BIG LENSES-----Ha, Ha, Ha, I just bring Pocket camera Olympus 12 MP ( $ 150 US Dollars , 2003) and my Cheap $ 29 US Dollars Cell Phone that have 1.5 MP camera---And Shoot the wedding photos that My sister love .
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 02:54:38 PM by surapon »

Rienzphotoz

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2013, 02:57:10 PM »
Dear Friends.
Let me share my sister story :
We, Live in North Carolina, And my Sister's Daughter Live and work as Doctor in Tucson, Arz, And she get Marry with her DR. friend in Tucson---My Sister's and my Brother in law Hire the Local Photographer in  his City, NC. for two day( 1 day for rehursal, and 1 day and night for marry day), Fly to Tucson. Yes He  go with one Light support girl, His Fee = $ 11,000 US Dollar, Plus Airplane ticket for 2 seats, two nights  at the Hotel, and all meals in that two days---The Big Plus = All the cost of Prints and BOOKs that my sister want. Yes, After the wedding day = 3 months, My sister family get to see the Photos = 400 Photos on hie web site, and My sister start to order the Photos---Yes, After 6 Months of the wedding day, My sister get the Photos, But not the Book of wedding= That another 6 more months--------Ha, Ha, Ha, When my sister call the Photographer, He tell her that, The Great Photos must use a lot of Times to make the Best, Like the Great Foods, Must have a slow cook, until the perfected Taste.
Yes, That why he not get more job form my Sister.
Surapon
Oh my God! 6 months? and $11000? that's just crazy.
By the way, in Canon Rumors, when you say "Marry with her DR" you are going to give the wrong impression ... the hard core DR supporters might think you are talking about Dynamic Range in Sony/Nikon sensors  ;D ... come to think of it, I hear the word "Wack" (of this thread title) means something else to the Italians  ;D
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surapon

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2013, 03:09:12 PM »
Dear Friends.
Let me share my sister story :
We, Live in North Carolina, And my Sister's Daughter Live and work as Doctor in Tucson, Arz, And she get Marry with her DR. friend in Tucson---My Sister's and my Brother in law Hire the Local Photographer in  his City, NC. for two day( 1 day for rehursal, and 1 day and night for marry day), Fly to Tucson. Yes He  go with one Light support girl, His Fee = $ 11,000 US Dollar, Plus Airplane ticket for 2 seats, two nights  at the Hotel, and all meals in that two days---The Big Plus = All the cost of Prints and BOOKs that my sister want. Yes, After the wedding day = 3 months, My sister family get to see the Photos = 400 Photos on hie web site, and My sister start to order the Photos---Yes, After 6 Months of the wedding day, My sister get the Photos, But not the Book of wedding= That another 6 more months--------Ha, Ha, Ha, When my sister call the Photographer, He tell her that, The Great Photos must use a lot of Times to make the Best, Like the Great Foods, Must have a slow cook, until the perfected Taste.
Yes, That why he not get more job form my Sister.
Surapon
Oh my God! 6 months? and $11000? that's just crazy.
By the way, in Canon Rumors, when you say "Marry with her DR" you are going to give the wrong impression ... the hard core DR supporters might think you are talking about Dynamic Range in Sony/Nikon sensors  ;D ... come to think of it, I hear the word "Wack" (of this thread title) means something else to the Italians  ;D


Ha, Ha, Ha dear Friend Rienz---You make my day DR. = DYNAMIC RANGE.

"  I hear the word "Wack" (of this thread title) means something else to the Italians " = ???
Have a great FUN day.
Surapon
« Last Edit: December 12, 2013, 08:33:57 PM by surapon »

shunsai

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2013, 07:43:48 PM »
There are lots of price points in the market. If a customer isn't offering what you're worth then politely decline.

I think that's mostly where I stand on this discussion. I'm no Professional Wedding Photographer. I'm the guy that friends want to ask to shoot their weddings (usually for free). While at my current skill level I would never dream of charging $3000 for a wedding, I think "free" for anyone not joined to me at the hip would be grossly underselling myself (and very presumptuous). Don't get me wrong, I have shot several of my friends weddings for "free" (and to gain experience), but in general, I've always felt that they got the better end of the deal.

I can see and agree with both sides. Customers want the best value. Photographers want fair compensation for their work... and for most, their work doesn't end after the dancing stops,  the lights go out, and the decorations come down.

Lately, I've been declining to shoot as the sole or main photographer at friends' weddings. I don't want the pressure- I just want to enjoy the day like a regular guest. Of the probably 10 weddings I've shot, only one I can think of has ever paid me for it.

As a photographer who knows that some good photos are luck, but consistent good photos are skill, I tend to side with the photographer charging what they believe their skill is worth. If the customer doesn't believe you're worth your price tag, I'm sure there are plenty suckers like me (friends, relatives, etc) that will shoot for "experience." In some cases it's legit to complain about the prices photographers charge, but in most cases, it's best to just find someone that fits your price point for the quality you're willing to accept.

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2013, 07:43:48 PM »

scottkinfw

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2013, 11:41:57 PM »
This site makes me feel smugly adequate in my own photography work!

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.
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Nishi Drew

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2013, 11:53:21 PM »
Man, the US is insane for photography costs in general!
Here in Japan I'd be lucky to get over $500 worth of pay... and by that price there are photography business monopolies that do everything everywhere, most people aren't even aware of "freelance photographers", and these companies can be cheap for events. But most people don't understand what they're getting, the cheaper they go the less quality they get, naturally. The largest sum I know a photographer has charged and received for a major wedding was about $2000 and most think that's insane. So average starting prices of $2,750 over there in the US is wow.
I once was negotiating a shoot with a couple and they agreed to what I had to offer, they contacted me a while later and told me that they decided I was too expensive, so I said I could drop down to below $500, they said still that was too expensive, and that they found a "professional" who would shoot all day for far less, I couldn't believe them but they signed up with that guy before I could negotiate some more... a Pro is a PRO, and anyone with a good camera should be good at what they do. Portfolios??? No one seems to care, and I think I saw some of the photos from that couple's wedding and they didn't look good at all...

Though, most of the time a wedding just takes place in a chapel or small place, rarely does it become a large scale deal or be planned out in any unique/interesting way with themes and stuff, usually simple reception with simple photos

Twostones

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2013, 12:36:03 AM »
I think anyone who has shot a wedding will agree it is more difficult than most people imagine.  I shot free pictures at a wedding for a friend because they could never afford a pro.  That experience humbled me.  A good Professional wedding photographer has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the art or they would be out of business.  It takes time and considerable effort to produce great wedding photography even if you have the equipment and know how to use it.  My hat is tipped to those that have the art mastered.

PhotographAdventure

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2013, 02:13:37 AM »
Not sure if I read the article correctly, but it seems she wrote that she pays taxes then lists all these business expenses coming out of her take home net pay.  Really should be the other way around. 

Efka76

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2013, 07:00:15 AM »
Dear colleagues,

in original article I see many many conceptual mistakes. Let me explain:

1) Photographer expects to shoot 20 weddings a year and live from that income the whole year. This is conceptually wrong. Even if you shoot 4 weddings per month and remaining time use for retouching photos you will spend maximum 5 months for that work. To spend 7 remaining months for marketing is too much luxury.
2) Equipment (camera / lens/etc.) costs should be depreciated during their useful life. 2 cameras  - during 4 years, lenses - maybe during 6-8 years. If you shoot 20 weddings per year, your equipment should even last longer. Of course, here we might have moral depreciation issue, however, many wedding photographers still using their Canon 5DMKII and do not see any problem in that area :)
3) House, electricity, insurance, car costs calculated for the whole year. Which is wrong. One of the main accounting rule is that you have to match income and costs for the same periods. Accordingly expenses, that are attributable to that 5 montsh would be significant smaller.
4) Also, she attributes the whole house rent expenses instead of attributing small portion (garage rent costs) to business expenses.

In summary, she needs to do other activities / work during remaining 7 months in order to have sustainable income for the living. Not long ago I saw very good workshop "How to become 10k wedding photographer". Lecturer was prominent photog who makes 10k per wedding and he showed rough calculations which very clearly indicated that he needs to do a lot of other activities (he is doing photog workshops and lessons) in order to keep earn sufficient income for his living. In summary, it is very hard to live from photography only. You caan be successful photographer if you have another profession and photography is your serious hobby. In case you earn something from photography everything counts to profit :D In my case I would be very have if my income from photography matches my equipment costs :)

Also, I would like to respond to comment who says that you need 10,000 hours to become really a pro. In such case you have to spend almost 5 full years (working 8 h a day, 22 days a month) learning photography secrets.  I disagree with this statements as:

a) If you are really interested it is very easy to get technical knowledge that relates to equipment, how it operates, what are main principles of photography. There are many on-line and other course which lets you understand these aspects. For me it took maximum few months (during my free time from my main work as BIG 4 Audit director). Of course, I can not compare myself to such experts as Neuro or few others, however, my current technical knowledge is fully sufficient for photography.
b) Composition, lightning, ability to see that light. In order to master these things you need practice and tutor. I saw many cases when people became prominent photographers (especially wedding pros) after 2-3 seasons (they also have other full time jobs).
c) Photoshop - in my opinion, if you are seriously interested in retouching 2-3 months are more that sufficent to master that skills to acceptable level (for wedding photographers).


  USD 3,000 / per wedding price is too high. Clients are not interested in your experience, equipment, lighting equipment, insurance. They want to buy specific product - wedding photos. Nobody cares about your expenses. If someone is doing wedding photography during weekends, has a good equipment and required skills he  / she is able to make wedding photos much cheaper.

Surapon, I was very surprised that your sister paid USD 11,000 for wedding (not including indirect photog costs) and had to wait for such a long time. It seems that person is not a professional as real professional demonstrates professionalism in all aspects (communication with client, timely delivery of high quality results, significatly assissting in preparation for weddig ceremony). In my opinion, your sister significantly overpaid for taht services.

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LewisShermer

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2013, 07:16:25 AM »
It's difficult to know what to charge or what you're worth for weddings if that's not your main source of income. I have a steady job where I run a photography studio and shoot mainly product for advertising in magazines, on the internet and billboards. after being asked to do a wedding for a friend as they couldn't afford a proper wedding photographer I kinda just fell into it. I do maybe 1 a month on average and I'm taking bookings now a year or 2 in advance based on my portfolio, I'm still only charging £400 (I've recently put my prices as £800 on my website but obviously that's up for negotiation with regards to who it is, how I know them and who has referred them). I don't advertise as I probably couldn't handle the workload if I were shooting more than 1 a month (not that I'm arrogant enough to think that people would use me if they didn't know me).

How would one go about assessing their own worth as a photographer?
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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2013, 07:16:25 AM »

Efka76

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2013, 07:38:44 AM »
I think that is relatively easy to estimate you worth as you are going to charge the market rates. In US that would be around USD 3,000. In Lithuania - EUR 1,000, in UK  - ? If you are very prominent and known photographer you might charge USD 10,000 in US, EUR 3000 - in Lithuania. If you charge your price and have many orders, you increase your price until you have a number of orders that you can fulfill :)
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LewisShermer

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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2013, 07:55:23 AM »
Artistically speaking, rather than mathmatically
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Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2013, 07:55:23 AM »