Why Does Wedding Photography Cost So Much?

December 15, 2012  •  1 Comment

I've been asked on more than one occasion, "why does wedding photography cost so much"?  So I thought I would write a bit about that Wedding Photography Costs Explained today.

It all starts well before a photographer even shoots a wedding.  Assuming the photographer is a professional, there are costs associated with owning and operating a business.  Those costs include business and equipment insurance premiums, office | studio space, camera equipment [see below], phone, computers, internet, web hosting, a vehicle, advertising, continuing education, health insurance premiums and I'm sure there are plenty of additional items that I am forgetting, but you get the idea.  Just to own a business to have the opportunity to photograph a wedding costs plenty of money.

Below I will breakdown two of the biggest costs that go into wedding photography, equipment and time.

Equipment

I'll elaborate on the camera equipment just to illustrate what some of those costs actually are.  I currently have three camera bodies, four lenses, three flashes, five backdrops, six mono light flashes, six continuous lights, a light meter, two tripods, six memory cards and lots of batteries and additional items like stools etc.  

  • Camera bodies range in cost from $1,500 - $12,000 each.  I currently shoot with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, Canon EOS 7D and a Canon 5D.  
  • Lenses average $800 each 
  • Flashes $250
  • Backdrops $150 each
  • Mono Light Kits $2,000 [I have two kits]
  • Continuous Light $50 each
  • Light Meter $350
  • Tripods $200
  • Memory Cards $50 each 

My equipment total $16,100.  This equipment only allows me to take the photographs.  I also have thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment and software that I use to process the images I take.  So the real total is somewhere in the neighborhood of $21,000.  Do you know what the real bugger of it is, all of this stuff will be or already is obsolete and will need to eventually need to be replaced.  The newest Canon body that will be released in 10 days costs $12,000.  I won't be running out to buy that right away, but you can see how replacement of items will continue to become more expensive.

Time

Let's say you've hired me to capture the best day of your life.  An average wedding that I photograph takes two hours to prepare for [charging batteries, gathering and cleaning gear etc.] and eight hours of actual shooting time.  Many people forget that when I leave the venue my work has just begun.  Photographing a wedding is the fun and artistic part.  After all you hired me for my artistic ability and my eye for detail, not just because I have a camera that takes really good pictures.  When I reach my computer there is 20-40 hours worth of work ahead of me.  So in essence a one-day wedding is a week's worth of time.

From the various blogs that I have read from wedding planners and other wedding professionals the recommended amount to budget for your wedding photography is 10%-15% of your total budget.  You've planned for and spent thousands of dollars on your wedding, getting all of the details just right.  Your wedding photos will be one of the only things that you have to remember your day.

I hope this helps to shed some light on why wedding photography costs what it does.  If you would like to find out more about the packages that I offer, contact me at 906.250.2484 or wsphoto@outlook.com.  Happy planning!


Comments

Tam(non-registered)
Good article. I do think the time and cost involved in photographing a wedding is not fully appreciated.
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