Just why do photographers charge such high prices for taking pictures at weddings? Are they profiteers charging high prices because they know people will pay? Are 4-digit (and up) fees required to cover costs of doing business? Or is there something else driving the prices of wedding pictures through the roof. It is a question many people ask and now, a wedding photographer, supplies the answers.
Inspired by a Craigslist ad by a woman bemoaning the fact that she can’t find a “decently-priced” photographer to shoot her wedding, wedding photographer Nikki Wagner drafted a response to the Craigslist ad poster explaining why wedding photography is so expensive. Wagner’s piece soon found its way to Petapixel.
So, why do wedding photographers charge so much?
In her response, Wagner takes a novel approach: start with the gross take in an average wedding season, then subtract various business and living expenses from it. The biggest hit: taxes. Since many wedding photographers are self-employed, they bust pay both employer and employee halves of taxes, which is nearly a third of one’s income gone right there. Next big expenses: travel (to get to the shoots) and insurance (in case something bad happens). Another big cost, though not as big, is all the advertising and marketing that is done to get exposure for one’s business. After that, there are other expenses which, by the time it’s all said and done, bring net pay down to a mere $7,000.
And that doesn’t even figure in equipment.
After going through the costs of doing business, Wagner goes on to list her equipment for shooting the event and how much it costs. For her last list, Wagner goes into the costs of her editing equipment, which also runs into the thousands.
Net result: if Wagner was to shoot weddings alone, she’d be in the hole. To make up for the loss (and to net some cash), she also offers her services for less expensive business ventures like portraits and corporate jobs.
So, what does this mean? Answer: being a wedding photographer is very, very expensive for the photographer too, hence the prices. As a last, interesting bit, Wagner goes onto point out that many couples are willing to pay thousands more on things like flowers and venue, which they will only have one day, unlike photographs, which last a lifetime.
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