Why is wedding photography SO expensive?

Why is wedding photography so expensive

Some times couples complain that wedding photography is “too expensive”. This happens while many of us wedding photographers struggle to make ends meet with low income and unreliable seasons. Maybe it’s because it’s hard for our couples to understand why wedding photography is so expensive?

Maybe it seems like you’re paying $3000-4000-8000 for a single day of work. Some might think we add to the price as soon as the word wedding is mentioned. And perhaps you’re considering asking a friend with a camera to take some photos instead. (If so, then this article is for you)

Many of those who choose a cheap photographer end up being unhappy. Some because the photographer isn’t serious about the job and cancels last minute. Others get poor quality images or a photographer that doesn’t know the first thing about weddings and doesn’t know where to be or what to expect.

A matter of priority or budget?

There’s a difference between actually not wanting to spend money on your wedding / not having money to spend, and spending the money on the “right” things. If you want good photos to remind you of your wedding day you should probably allocate a bigger amount to your photographer. It’s simply a matter of choice.

A choice that’s all yours, don’t get me wrong- I just want you to understand that you can probably afford that photographer you’ve got your eye on if you just make some adjustments. If you spend more money on your wedding cake than your photographer you probably can’t expect to get the greatest images.

A question you can ask yourselves is that if the lower-priced photographer is just as good as the more expensive one- then why aren’t they charging more? Of course – we all have to start somewhere. You can be lucky and find a new wedding photographer that doesn’t have a lot of experience yet.

But in general, you should ask yourselves why they’re cheaper. Are they not paying taxes? Using outdated gear or taking other shortcuts? If it’s just a side job to them- are they serious about your wedding or will they leave you hanging if something better comes along?

Tips for how to have a budget wedding when you still want beautiful quality images- and you understand that you have to pay for it

  • Choose to have a weekday or off-season wedding

  • Have fewer guests (this is usually the biggest cost because of catering)

  • Skip the traditional three-course meal

  • Choose a venue where you can organize everything incl. catering and alcohol yourselves

  • Decorate with garden flowers or wildflowers you’ve picked yourselves.

  • Arrange to have all events in one place which lets you skip spending money and time on transport.

  • Do your own hair and makeup

  • Look for a secondhand dress

  • Choose a suit you already have

  • Delegate cake making and decorations to friends

  • Invite guests in person or online

  • Elope

  • Instead of traditional gifts, why not wish for money towards photography

  • Ask your photographer for a payment plan

This isn’t a one size fits all kind of situation. And it doesn’t have to be. The point is that you can think outside the box and simplify so much to be able to include what really matters. But, if you choose not to invest in a photographer you forfeit the right to be unhappy with the result. Quality and price are usually correlated.

But, you’re still wondering… Why is a wedding photographer so expensive

Well, is it? And if so – compared to what?

First of all – there’s no right or wrong here. All photographers work differently, use different gear and spend their time differently. Most of us are passionate about delivering quality and service and have chosen to say no to set working hours and free weekends to do what we love.

While you may think all that is required is a camera and 10 hours of shooting time on the wedding day- here is a list of what is usually part of the package when hiring a photographer:

  • The photographer’s time spent (often about 30-50 hours per wedding)
    • On the wedding day
    • For preparations, planning and location scouting
    • Spent on travel
    • For editing and post-production work
    • Used on meetings and communication
    • To invoice and contract making

  • Equipment: At least two cameras, lenses, batteries, memory cards, computer, software, lighting gear, camera bag, web-based client portal

  • Travel costs (fuel, toll, parking, tickets for public transport, and maybe also accommodation and food).

  • Taxes

  • Insurance (for equipment, travel, liability, life, health)

  • Time and money spent on developing skills (books, workshops, courses, conferences).

  • Time spent on gaining experience. And getting to experiment and develop their artistic talent.

  • Accounting

  • Advertising and marketing (Ads, participating on wedding fairs + time spent on blogging, networking, social media, website, making price guides and client information guides etc. )

  • Rent for office/studio

  • Pension

  • Back up of the images/cloud storage

  • Vacation money

  • Time spent on other admin stuff

As a nice bonus when you choose a professional and experienced wedding photographer you’ll probably get lots of tips from your photographer on what works and what doesn’t.

And – the greatest value you’re paying for is that your wedding photos are the biggest source of the memories from your wedding day.

A little equation for you to finalize it all:

Imagine paying $3000 for your photographer when you’re 30 and you live a happy life together till you’re 80.

$3000 / 50 years = $60 a year. That’s 16 cents a day to have vivid memories of your wedding day.

Do you still think it’s expensive? Let me know below.

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Portrett Ingvild

Hi, I'm Ingvild

I spend as much of my time as I can being outside taking photos of happy couples in love. I live with my dog and boyfriend in Norway, and I love traveling the world in search of beautiful locations and love stories.

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