Why do wedding photographers cost so much!?
I've heard it before, brides want to know; "why do wedding photographers cost so much??" When I first started photography, I have got to be honest, I thought the same thing. It seems whenever someone mentions the word 'wedding', professional's bump their prices up ten-fold. Hopefully this post will give all seeking the answers, a little bit more insite behind the madness! For your ease of reading, I've listed the things that photographers have to think about when setting their prices.
I am now self employed, which means I need enough income to provide for a happy home, with only a handful of months to work efficiently within. Wedding season in England generally booms in the summer months and dies in the winter months. I would say around 7 months of the year are generally work heavy, the rest are slow paced. Personally, to handle my work load with focus, I only like to tackle two weddings a month at around £900 per wedding. This would leave me with around £1800 a month to live off. Granted, I have a couple of other sources of income under my self employment but this is minimal.
Wedding and personal Expenses
Now that we have established that I aim for £1800 per month, lets talk about the expenses. To attend a wedding I need to fuel up my car which takes around £30 and maybe even more if doing a pre-wedding shoot too! I have to do that twice a month for the two weddings (not to mention general city travelling and picking my son up from a long distance); But lets say I spend £60p/m on fuel for the weddings - that leaves me with £1740.
In order for all of your images to be presented in a professional manner, you receive a branded USB and box with all of your images on, this costs around £20 per box. That equates to £40 on branded boxes per month. Which brings my income total to £1700
My rent costs me £600 and with all of my bills included, my basic living cost equates to around £1200. As you can see, even before mentioning a miriad of other outgoings I'm already down to £500 per month. I have two children that I care for, I have a boxer puppy which eats like mad and needs occasional vetting, I have fast speed broadband for the business, the list goes on.
My website costs £15 per month and recently I'v been undergoing a SEO campaign for google just so that I can rank high enough to be seen which isn't even close yet! The SEO campaign is £140 p/m and facebook ad's equate to around £30 p/m. This leaves my self employed income at £315.
In order to pay my taxes properly, I pay for an accountatnt which is £25 per month.
If we were to consider the expense of equipment used at your wedding, to ensure the images are tack sharp and perfect, here is a list of the gear I use and the cost:
Canon 5d mkii £1200
Canon 5d mki £500
Canon 550D x 2 £700
Canon 70-200L IS lens £1200
Canon 24-105L IS £500
Lowepro bags, regular lens caps, multiple other lenses, gels, flashes, stands, backdrop, straps. The list goes on. Obviously I need to be insured when carrying all of this around your wedding venue too. By now my income is easily depleted.
For a wedding video the total editing time is anywhere from 3 to 4 days, spaced over a couple of months. For all of your wedding images this takes a little less. I also have to shoot the wedding ofcourse, which is high pressure, fast paced and very tiring (although obviously really fun otherwise I wouldn't do it). I am there from 8 or 9am through to 9 or 10pm which is a 13 hour day. I spend every day behind my macbook, working on ways to better my services, not to mention going out and practicing my techniques. I spend a lot of time researching and trying to pull in business, as we all know in this day and age, time is precious.
Hopefully by now, you can see that wedding photographers are a far cry from sipping champagne and driving Lamborghini Aventador's. Some photographer charge more or less because of their region and different expenses. Initially, the prices seem a little steep, but I hope this has helped my brides understand a little more about the job!