Why are wedding photographers so expensive?
21 SEP – Tips and Articles – by Lucas Kraus
Why are wedding photographers so expensive? That is a good question. We have all heard of people paying $5000, $6000, or even $10,000 for wedding photography. In fact, one of my wedding photography idols charges nearly $20,000 per wedding. Do people pay it? Absolutely!
Wedding photography is a very personal thing. It can take years to get the experience and knowledge to confidently photograph weddings. Some photographers are naturally talented at photography, others might have to practice for hours to learn simple things. The thing I enjoy about wedding photography, is that it’s very competitive, and people who are considered the top in their field are known by their competitors and their peers. There are a number of competitions that wedding photographers can partake in to acquire fame and glory. These being ABIA, AIPP and the international WPPI. Wedding photography is a skill based profession, meaning the better you are at something the more you can charge.
Lets face it. Weddings are expensive. Many weddings today cost about the same as a deposit on a house. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that the more you a spend on your wedding, the better your wedding photographer should be in order to do your wedding justice and capture it in a way that reflects your hard work and hard earned money? This particular website states that the average cost of a wedding photographer is around 10 to 15 percent of the couples total budget.
One important aspect is that cameras and lenses are expensive, and I mean really expensive. Most wedding photographers have around $20,000 worth of equipment. A camera plus lens alone, can cost more than a second hand luxury car. We also need insurance, pay tax, GST, editing software and possibly an office or a studio. The man hours put into a single wedding can also be a lot. We may be at your actual wedding for 8 hours, but it will take another 8 hours to edit your wedding photographs, not to mention the admin side of things (which I hate!)
Interestingly, wedding photography has no regulations or qualifications required to actually be a wedding photographer. As long as you have a camera and a lens, you can potentially be a wedding photographer. This is when a lot of couples get burnt. They think by hiring a cheaper photographer that they could potentially save thousands of dollars on their wedding. Check out this website as an example. I am all for more people becoming professional photographers, however what frustrates me is when amateurs charge $2000+ as a wedding photographer when they no experience in actually photographing weddings.
Going back to when I first started getting into wedding photography, I used to offer my services for free as a second photographer which allowed me to learn the craft and how the typical wedding runs. After a while, I started getting paid (a minimal amount) to second shoot. I then branched off and started Lucas Kraus Photography. My prices started off at $250 for 6 hours and I have been slowly increasing my prices to where they are now.
I consider myself affordable but experienced. Are there better wedding photographers out there? of course! But be ready to cough a lot more dough. Personally, I love being busy. I love photographing weddings. That’s why my prices are more affordable than most. I often get told I should be charging nearly double what I charge now, however I am quite happy with my prices the way they are as I photograph nearly 80 weddings a year, allows me to be creative and I extremely happy with my client base.