26 January 2012

Why Wedding Photography Costs So Much | By Kristen Booth Photography

EDITORS NOTE: This article was written by my good friend and super talented photographer, Kristen Booth. With her permission, I've decided to re-post her article on Le Magnifique today as an educational resource for all my readers. The cost of wedding photography is a subject a lot of people don't quite understand. I know that when I was getting married and looking for a photographer, I couldn't quite grasp the idea of paying thousands of dollars on a photographer. But after doing my research and educating myself about wedding photography and why it costs so much, I was more inclined to fork over whatever I needed to ensure I would have my most special day documented. In my personal opinion, wedding photography should be the first thing you budget for. Your wedding day will go by so fast (I know it did for me and it was a 10-hour event). You need someone who is professional and knows what they're doing. You want to love your wedding photos, not look back in disgust and wish you would have saved a little more for a better wedding photographer. Granted, not everyone can afford a $3000 photographer. But do your research and don't undermine the work that goes into documenting your wedding day. Kristen, thank you so much for allowing me to share your article on my blog.


From Kristen's blog post:

I am usually the last person to post something negative or controversial. I just prefer to keep the peace and be an up lifter!:)
But earlier today, I read something that had me LIVID. So this post is not one of my usual posts. I was actually supposed to be writing Wednesday Weaknesses right now, but it can wait. What I am about to say is FAR more important.
So…onto what it was that I read, that made me so angry. This morning, a fellow photog posted this listing that they found on Craigslist,  on Facebook:
"ATTN: Wedding Photographers:)
WHY is finding an amazing wedding photographer so difficult? :/
I am a Bride who is getting married this summer and have yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.
WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos? Oh, because no bride is going to go without so they are going to pay it, because they HAVE to. They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15 grand after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!! You’re making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic. I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand. (Thats making 19$ an hour) So you’re going to take someones WHOLE MONTH paycheck for one flippen day of photos? Just because you CAN!!?????? So that maybe they will not be able to feed themselves or pay any other bills they have, right? It makes me SICK!
I know im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot of brides out there think the same thing. & I bet all you fancy photographers wont even read this. oh-well.
Maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos:)"
Now before I go into my perspective….I want to address two things. First, I value difference in opinion…..I don’t expect everyone in the world to think that us wedding photographers are worth what we charge. I respect that. What I don’t respect, is someone who has NO idea what they are talking about, ranting about how I make my money and discrediting the amount of work that REALLY goes into it. Second, I am in no way “complaining about how much work I have to do” or “crying about how hard I have it”. Not at all! I LOVE my job. I am simply re-claiming some respect for the craft and explaining some things that some people aren’t aware of.
Piece for piece, here is my response:
WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos?
Because, weddings aren’t just every other day. YOU as a bride, should know this.
I wake up the morning after every wedding, feeling like I got ran over by a train…..weddings hold a much higher level of stress than just an everyday shoot. You get one chance to capture it. You have to have the right equipment to get the job done, and not to mention backups….in case those fail. Anonymous Craigslist bride…do yourself a favor and please do not discredit your wedding day this way. The word “WEDDING” means a great deal actually. So yes, we are entitled to charge more for this highly stressful service, because it is a wedding! But it is quite silly to label this to photographers only. It goes for every wedding service! I mean unless you regularly spend hundreds of dollars on a single bouquet of flowers or $1500 for a dress?
I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK.
You know what I think is wack? The cost of my rent! Oh and my car insurance…..ooh and not to mention, my phone bill! But guess what? I still have to pay them! And I do it with my camera. I think maybe you forgot that this is my career. Not just something I do for fun, that I can charge next to nothing for. Each photographer’s prices are derived from a specific formula that involves their cost of running business and cost of living. Believe it or not, we don’t just say “Ooh a wedding! I think I will charge……hmmmm…..$5000!” We are trying to survive, just like you. The high priced photographers cost more for a reason. And if they were charging the prices you seem to be pining for, they wouldn’t be able to stay in business.
All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!!
This is just silly. Craigslist bride…..if you really think that is all we are doing….please oh please just go to Costco and buy your cousin a Canon Rebel and let him do the job! Since ALL we do is hang out, shoot a few pics, then edit them….piece of cake! Cousin Kevin will do just fine!!! You’ll even get to keep the camera after….SCORE!;)
I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand.
Keyword is SALARY. We are not on salary. That one wedding that we “make so much money on” might have to feed us through the slow winter season when we have NO weddings. There is no financial security in this field. We either have the bookings or we don’t. And even when we don’t, the bill collectors still come for theirs!
Also….have you ever considered how much of that $3000 really becomes ours? After taxes and the HEFTY chunk the IRS takes from business owners… that income is nowhere near what you think it is. Then there is business insurance, websites, advertising, editing software, the thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and the costs of maintaining it. The list goes on and on. And then the cost of our time…..we blog, edit, email, process orders, shoot engagement sessions, market, etc. There is so much more time to shooting a wedding than actually just being there on that wedding day. We work our booties off to give you a great experience and photos for a lifetime. A business is like a baby….it constantly needs your attention and care!
 Also, this “average person” probably works a 9-5 during the week, then is free to enjoy their weekends with their family. Well we also work that 9-5, doing all of the inside work I mentioned. Then on the weekends….we are at your wedding, still working! Don’t get me wrong, I love being at your wedding. Seriously, some of the best times of my life are when I am shooting my awesome brides and grooms. But please, just respect our time and be mindful of these hurtful things you’ve said about how little we are worth.
And finally…..
You’re making so much money its crazy.
Sweet!!! This is great news!!!! Craigslist Bride, if you are reading this, please email me!!!! Cause I know I should totally be rich by now….with all these weddings I’ve shot. But I just can’t seem to figure out where all of that money went….hmmm….can you help me find it? You seem to know more about my finances than I do!
Moral to the story is. You do not have to value me at $3500+  if you don’t want to. But you DO need to know the facts before you can judge my lifestyle and my financial situation. Being a wedding photographer has been the BEST thing to happen to me….and I hope I can do it all the way until retirement! But it has also taken every ounce of myself to keep it going. It is a lot of work and to see myself and other photographers degraded by statements like the above, is frustrating. We have put years and large amounts of money into mastering our craft, becoming better artists, and learning!
You don’t have to agree with it….but at least respect it.
To close out, here is the very first photo released from a top-secret shoot I did in Ireland. The rest will be up in a couple of weeks! Keep your eyes peeled!:)

Thank you Kristen SO much for allowing me to share this article here.
To stay up to date with Kristen's work, you can follow her on Facebook 
Readers, I would love to hear your thoughts about this! Please comment below!

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