Summer 101––The Right Price {Quantifying the Value of your special day}

It has certainly been an educational summer!
There are soo many people I thank for their help, advice and guidance (i.e. Seshu, Jstar and all those photographers in the community that take the time to help each other).
Here’s the first of a Summer 101-series of blog posts. Thank you to all those who helped share such knowledge in efforts to raise awareness and understanding surrounding the sensitive issue of pricing the art of photography.

I have just used excerpts here but you can find the detailed articles by clicking here and here
Why does Wedding Photography cost SO MUCH?  Well,

Here’s why:

Simply put, you’re not just paying for the actual photographs, you’re paying for time and expertise.
First, let’s look at the actual time involved. If you don’t read this entire page, at least read this first part…
For a two (2) hour portrait session:

  • one hour of travel to and from the session
  • two hours of shooting
  • 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.
  • 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer {2 – 4 gb of data (and avg weddings are upto 50gb)} 
  • 30+ minutes to back up the files on an external drive
  • 3 – 4 hours of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs
  • 2 – 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment and drop package off at Fed Ex.
  • For local customers, we also print a set of all of their photos, and meet them at our studio to review the photos and place their order. Meeting and travel time averages 2 hours.

You can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than ten hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour.

For an eight (8) hour wedding:

  • I won’t bore you with the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least two to three full 40 hour work weeks worth of time. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour.

Now for the expertise:

Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though a quality camera now costs under $2,000 taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera. Plus, the time and efforts involved in learning how to use the camera itself (and all the other fancy/expensive equipment involved), as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc., etc. And let’s not forget that you actually have to have creative, artistic and stylistic skills along with people skills to be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera etc., etc.

Think of it this way: 

  • The next time you pay $X to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional.

What about that other cheaper studio?

Please don’t compare a photographer’s price unless you will be just as happy with that other photographer’s quality and style. And please don’t compare us to chain-stores. But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Will that other option give you the time? the creative style? and quality product that you see here? And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for :)

Once again, I’d like to mention that the intent of these articles is simply to attempt to illustrate that which most couples shopping for a decent wedding photographer never realize – that there is much more than “show up and shoot” on the day of your wedding that went into your photographer’s ability to be there and make images that will be cherished for the rest of their lives. We, as photographers, are grateful that you’ve trusted us with such an important job. We sincerely thank you for inviting us along on your amazing journey. . . we are truly blessed to be able to do this for you and THANK YOU for letting us :)

One Response to “Summer 101––The Right Price {Quantifying the Value of your special day}”

  1. Cameron Says:

    Brilliant! Will have to repost sometime and share with others!