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Author Topic: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.  (Read 6508 times)

JonB8305

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in the process of putting together an RFP for a wedding, and would like to know what good photographers typically charge for an 7-8 hours worth of shoot time
Canon 6D, 24-70 II, 70-200 II.

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privatebydesign

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 02:00:37 AM »
How long is a piece of string?

Where are you, where is the wedding, how many guests, shoot and files only or inclusive of editing proofing and printing, second shooters, assistants, gear rental, etc etc?

Between $500 for a decent second shooter with their own gear on a capture fee/for hire basis, to $5,000 for a seasoned first shooter with a decent portfolio, assistant, insurance, contracts and reputation.

The most I regularly hear of are the $10-15,000 people, and there are a decent percentage of women in this category, they are hard working pros with high profiles, endless connections, top notch second shooting partners/teammates, very efficient post workflows, they like stuff like Profoto B1's and f1.2 primes, they can also tell you the intricacies of all the top wedding and reception venues for many miles.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

fatmanmedi

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 12:22:30 PM »
I agree privatebydesign, the rates that i charge is all dependent on what I'm doing and what gear I'm bringing.

If it's a single shooter and post prod and printing for the main event then it's around $5000.  It goes up from there.

The biggest one I ever shot was a 2 day event with behind the scenes shots, a video of the main event, studio shots of all the women in the dresses (on the day!), the men in the suits (on the day!) group shots, shots of the couple after the ceremony and before the reception, the reception shots and video of the reception.

All done on an island with no mains electricity (had to bring a power generator), the studio was set up in a 12*6 foot marquee with Scoro S 3200 RFS generators and a ton of reflectors and black out material with an h5d60 for the camera.

There was 3 dedicated shooters all with D4's and an F5 with cooke lenses for the video.  Transport costs were included so I didn't have that worry.

The total cost for that event was over $50,000

So as you can see the rates can huge or quite low.

Fats

JonB8305

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 07:03:44 PM »
6-8 hour event.
2-3 shooters
raw files only, no editing needed.
South Florida shoot.
Shoot for that day and be done with me.

Do clients typically have specific gear requests?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 07:06:30 PM by JonB8305 »
Canon 6D, 24-70 II, 70-200 II.

privatebydesign

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 07:09:21 PM »
6-8 hour event.
2-3 shooters
raw files only, no editing needed.

Shoot for that day and be done with me.

Do clients typically have specific gear requests?

I am always wary of file only shoots, invariably the end result is not what the customer actually wants. However, two shooters $1,500, three shooters $2,100, the third shooter shouldn't cost you more than $200.

Clients don't normally have gear requests, well I have never had one, but getting a feel for what they want and expect, and the venues needs from a lighting point of view, can mean rental makes sense.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

JonB8305

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 07:28:24 PM »
6-8 hour event.
2-3 shooters
raw files only, no editing needed.

Shoot for that day and be done with me.

Do clients typically have specific gear requests?

I am always wary of file only shoots, invariably the end result is not what the customer actually wants. However, two shooters $1,500, three shooters $2,100, the third shooter shouldn't cost you more than $200.

Clients don't normally have gear requests, well I have never had one, but getting a feel for what they want and expect, and the venues needs from a lighting point of view, can mean rental makes sense.

One of the preferred vendors of the facility had a vendor that has done many shoots at the wedding location offered a price of $1700 which I think does include some editing. We saw a photo book of his work and it was pretty good stuff.
Canon 6D, 24-70 II, 70-200 II.

privatebydesign

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 06:25:30 PM »
I was close then :-)
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 06:25:30 PM »

Chisox2335

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2014, 08:47:48 AM »
My wedding photographer is 8 hours, 800 edited pictures that I have full rights to have printed as I choose, 2 shooters and a printed book (about 50 photos) for $2000. He has done two different weddings I/my fiancé have been in and he does excellent work. One of them was even cheaper because he was a preferred vendor for the location.

I'm in New England so not exactly a cheap area of the US.

danski0224

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2014, 09:02:49 AM »
My wedding photographer is 8 hours, 800 edited pictures that I have full rights to have printed as I choose, 2 shooters and a printed book (about 50 photos) for $2000. He has done two different weddings I/my fiancé have been in and he does excellent work. One of them was even cheaper because he was a preferred vendor for the location.

I'm in New England so not exactly a cheap area of the US.

Honestly, that hardly even seems worth it.

That's $2.50 per picture.

Is the "8 hours" total time (event + editing) or just event? 

privatebydesign

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2014, 09:10:12 AM »
My wedding photographer is 8 hours, 800 edited pictures that I have full rights to have printed as I choose, 2 shooters and a printed book (about 50 photos) for $2000. He has done two different weddings I/my fiancé have been in and he does excellent work. One of them was even cheaper because he was a preferred vendor for the location.

I'm in New England so not exactly a cheap area of the US.

Honestly, that hardly even seems worth it.

That's $2.50 per picture.

Is the "8 hours" total time (event + editing) or just event?

It isn't a per picture price, it is an hourly rate of $250. Deduct the actual costs, a 25 page book for $200 (you can get them for less than half that too) and farmed out RAW editing for $250 (or do it yourself for the time, batch processing is a snap) and you are looking at $193.75 an hour. I am sorry but that is good money.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

JonB8305

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 09:15:35 AM »
My wedding photographer is 8 hours, 800 edited pictures that I have full rights to have printed as I choose, 2 shooters and a printed book (about 50 photos) for $2000. He has done two different weddings I/my fiancé have been in and he does excellent work. One of them was even cheaper because he was a preferred vendor for the location.

I'm in New England so not exactly a cheap area of the US.

Honestly, that hardly even seems worth it.

That's $2.50 per picture.

Is the "8 hours" total time (event + editing) or just event?

It isn't a per picture price, it is an hourly rate of $250. Deduct the actual costs, a 25 page book for $200 (you can get them for less than half that too) and farmed out RAW editing for $250 (or do it yourself for the time, batch processing is a snap) and you are looking at $193.75 an hour. I am sorry but that is good money.

I agree
Canon 6D, 24-70 II, 70-200 II.

mm

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 10:45:16 AM »
As a small business, with a desire to take care of our client's needs, most of our work comes before or after the wedding.  We scout every location before we shoot, whether we've shot there 15 times or never.
We create a shooting plan for rain or shine. 
We take time to look at engagement photos to see what angles and poses work best. 
We scan fashion and pop culture for new image ideas.
We edit every image we hand over ourselves.  It's our business, and as a personal services business, the only one with an interest in what our clients ultimately want is us.  The photos we take are part of the story we are trying to tell.  We need to edit them to ensure that the story is seen through our eyes. 
We lay out our own books (we took the pics, and again, we know that story we were trying to tell) and our raw book materials cost nowhere near $200.  We use true archival photo paper printed by great vendors.

I'd say that we spend an average of 30-40 hours on a wedding outside of the wedding day.  We don't use second shooters, we, my partner and I, shoot every wedding, we don't split up or double book. 

I can't stress enough that as this is our business, we demand the highest quality possible from ourselves (though we do need to hire someone to help us out with re-designing our website).

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  For us, it's our personal attention and experience.  Especially our experience of what to do when the schedule is steamrolled.  :) 

I realize that there is no $ in this post, but it really depends on where you are.  If you want a 'celebrity' photographer in southern Cal, you're going to spend a lot more than a great / creative photog in Denver.

Orangutan

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 11:24:12 AM »
I'll add one more "it depends."

What's it depend on? 

Artistic:
  • Style -- do you want a glam shoot or photojournalistic shoot?  Or something else entirely.
  • Do you want someone with experience creating dramatic, elegant or elaborate poses, or do you want someone who does minimal direction
  • People skills: do you want someone who will make the bride feel like a princess for the day, or someone who'll just "git 'er done" like a sports shooter.
Technical:
  • One shooter?  Two?  Three?
  • Let's face it: gear does count, though it won't make up for lack of skill or experience.  Keeping up with recent body/lens/software advances takes money, especially when you need to outfit more than one.
  • Ambient light?  A few Speedlites?  Or a full mobile studio kit?  Maintaining gear costs money, and maintaining skill with lighting takes even more time.
  • Will there be non-shooting assistants?
  • Is it a challenging shoot location?
  • Video too?  If yes, that's another huge topic for someone else to address.
Deliverables:
  • How many images will be delivered?
  • Prints, files or some of both?  Quality of the print medium?
  • Albums or other mementos?  (coffee mugs?   :) )
  • How much editing?  Basic crop, exposure adjustments and color balance, or full artistic treatment with retouch?
Experience/reliability:
  • Most people who shoot enough weddings will be able to assemble a portfolio that looks impressive.  Ask to look at several full wedding sets, including at least one under challenging conditions.  I remember seeing some photos from an evening wedding where the bride had beautiful deep brown skin.  I remember thinking that, with the bright white wedding gown, dusk lighting and dark skin, I certainly didn't have the skills or experience to get nice shots like those under such challenging lighting.
  • Talk with several previous clients.  Find someone reliable -- it doesn't matter how good, if they don't show up on time, or lose their memory cards it's all worthless.

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 11:24:12 AM »

mm

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 12:05:48 PM »
Perfect Orangutan. 

I couldn't agree more with the idea of meeting with the photog (after all, you will spend all day with them) and looking at full weddings.  Not just a best of gallery.

Also couldn't agree more, style is also of critical importance.  Don't hire someone who creates portraits if you want little people in a big frame of architecture or landscape - or vice-versa.

One other comment I'd make. We'd never hand out unedited images.  If we hand over RAW, it's only for a few select images.  I'd like to think that we're hired for our vision and people watching skills as much as our camera and photoshop skills.  That being said, we really don't like to hand out unedited images as they wouldn't conform to our entire vision.  If someone is willing to agree to this, they may not have a style or vision and you may not be able to estimate what you'll get without this grounding.

That being said, early on we did a few 'shoot and burn.'  I'd agree that for 8 hours, little to no editing, $2K is in the ballpark.

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Re: Whats the going rate for a decent quality wedding photographer.
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 12:05:48 PM »