Professional photography is an investment. And usually, it’s one of the biggest ticket items of your wedding. Rightly so, when it’s about preserving your memories in a beautiful way, and considering the equipment and skillset of a photographer.
To make this decision more clear, I’ll break down the expenses I personally put in every month (both in resources and in time), and to every wedding, along with detailing my level of experience in this particular industry.
- Personally, about 10 years of photography experience. I’m not the photographer I was when I started, or even just a few years ago.
- I’ve photographed dozens of weddings – so when it comes to the day of, I know what to expect, how to problem solve, how to run efficiently, and how to avoid missing big moments or favorite images. An unexperienced photographer can easily become flustered on a wedding day, miss important shots, and not give you the quality it needs.
- I’ve bene able to practice over and over how to take charge of a situation, capture the best lighting, and deliver images in the best way.
We sacrifice weekends to photograph weddings. But many of these other tasks have to get done in evenings and weekends too. By the nature of this industry, we’ve sacrificed weekend trips, gatherings with friends, and even other friend’s weddings. With that, we value our time very much.
- 8-12 hours at a wedding, factor in travel time
- 1 day uploading and culling through photos
- ~40 hours editing images
- 10+ hours spent gathering info, emailing clients and wedding planners, putting together timelines.
- Does your package include and engagement or bridal session? Add 10 more hours.
- time spent updating and blogging on website, staying relevant on social media, answering inquiries that we never hear back from
Day-of expenses and equipment
- Camera body
- Lenses (at least 3)
- So many SD cards
- Backup camera body
- Camera straps and bags to carry everything in (you don’t think about it unless your cheap ones break and the nice ones are over $100 a piece)
- I personally have invested in collecting items for a Details Kit (ring boxes, ribbon, textured mats, plating) for unique details photos.
- I also have invested in a set of fractals and prism that I keep with me that let me get unique reflections in my photos
- I also offer items like Photo Albums and personalized USB drive of their images, so my couples can have a tangible way to preserve their memories
- Second photographers don’t come free!
- A reliable computer that can handle your software and large files
- So many external hard-drives
- Repairs (things break, and they’re expensive)
- Photoeditting software
- Software to cull through photos
- Accounting software
- Client management software
- Online gallery and file transferring service
Education and Marketing
- Website and hosting
- Features on wedding vendor sites
- Online or workshop education on editing, posing, lighting, business, you name it! I personally do not shy away from investing in education because it’s shown to be so crucial.
- InDesign or other software to create personalized guides
Business + services
- Tax services
- Legal business fees
I tried to do things as cheap as I could. But after a while, the demand just got too high.
I base my prices off of honest calculations of my time, effort, and business needs. A photographer that has not yet come to realize these expenses has probably not yet reached the level of experience where these expenses or their skill level have burdened them. Therefore, be weary. You can find a talented photographer, but if they have not have much experience in wedding photography- the day of could cause some problems.
Invest wisely. Ask all the questions you need.