Shooting weddings

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by imagemaker46, Mar 11, 2013.

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  1. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    This is not a shot at anyone, it is a legitimate question. How do wedding photographers justify charging the fees they do? I understand the professional side, experience, editing and the minor PS work, etc. But how does someone justify charging $5000 and up to shoot a wedding. I understand the packages, prints albums. From a $5000 wedding how much does the photographer really clear, how much of that is a straight up fee, or would that include the albums and prints.

    Thanks.


     
  2. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Why Wedding Photographers' Prices are ?Wack?

    copied from above
    ...Dear Bride,I am a wedding photographer in the Erie, PA area. Wedding season only last about 4 months here, so I photograph an average of 20 weddings per year for an average of $2,500/wedding (which totals about $50,000/year).

    • That being said, I am a small business owner, so I pay all of my taxes, totaling about $15,000/year, which leaves me with a gross income of around $35,000
    • Of that $35,000 I pay $600/month in rent for my small house and garage which I converted into my studio (which is where I would be editing your wedding images).$35,000 – $7,200 = $27,800
    • Then I have my car, which I would use to get me to and from your wedding, which I pay $400/month for the lease, plus $200/month in car insurance. $27,800 – $7,200 = $20,600
    • To get to your (and my other brides) wedding consultation, second wedding pre-consultation, the wedding itself, and to and from the printers I spend $840/year in gas money. $20,600 – $840 = $19,760
    • I also have $500/year insurance in case you sue me, or if any of your drunk guests would happen to break any of my equipment. $19,760 – $500 = $19,260
    • You also probably found me through my website, which I pay $30/month for hosting, and another $30/month so that you can view your photos online and share the images with your friends and family. $19,260 – $720 = $18,540
    • Or perhaps you found me through my advertisements in the newspaper or local bridal magazines, or a bridal show that you attended that I paid to have a booth at. $18,540 – $1,000 = $17,540
    • I also pay $250/month for my own health insurance in case I were to get hurt at your wedding. $17,540 – $3,000 = $14,540
    • I pay $200/wedding for a second shooter for your wedding, so that you can have more images and different angles, as to make sure you get the best images possible at your wedding. $14,540 – $4,000 = $10,540
    • I also need to have a new pair of shoes ($100) every season because my shoes get worn out and dirty from season to season. $10,540 – $100 = $10,440
    • I need high speed internet so I can upload all of your images online, my home phone for my business and my cell phone so I can communicate with you. $10,440 – $2,500 = $7,940
    • Oh yes, and I also pay a lawyer to make sure my contracts are iron clad and an accountant to make sure that I am paying all of the taxes I need. $7,940 – $500 = $7,440
    • Sometimes I attend workshops and seminars to teach me how to better my business, and make my client happier (that would be you), as well as keep up on the trends and learn new techniques so that I can make sure you have the best quality images available.
    That would technically leave me with about $7,000/year to feed myself, buy groceries, pay for my heat and electricity, clothe myself, etc. But, usually I end up reinvesting whatever I have left on upgrades and new equipment:
    During your wedding, I bring my professional equipment that I use so that I can make sure you have the highest quality images.

    • I have 2 Canon 5D Mark II cameras (because you always need a backup in case of a camera malfunction, which would ruin your big day’s photographs) which cost $2,500/camera =$5,000
    • I also have quality lenses which can capture your special moments in low light situations:
      Canon 24-70 f/2.8 lens = $1,200
      Canon 70-200 f/2.8 lens = $1,300
      Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens = $500
      Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro = $600
    • …and I have speed lights to catch the fun moments at your reception:
      2 x Canon 580EX II = $1,200
    • Also multiple battery backups and memory cards, lens filters, light stands, umbrellas, light boxes, external battery packs and a bag to carry everything in = $1,500
    • Because this is equipment, sometimes I need to have it serviced or cleaned to make sure it is all working properly = $200
    After spending 8-10 hours at your wedding, I then come home to my home office and spend about 20-25 hours editing your images, creating your album, blogging about your wedding, posting pictures on Facebook, ordering you prints and burning your DVDs.

    • I edit your photographs using a 27-inch iMac computer = $2,500.
    • I edit your photographs on Adobe Lightroom ($200) and Adobe CS5 ($400 for the upgrade and $900 for the new program).
    • I print your DVDs on a printer which costs $300 and which uses $200/year in ink.
    • I buy the DVDs and jewel cases you’re getting printed for $300/year
    • I archive all of your photographs on 2 x 2TB external hard drives = $500.
    • I also back up all of my photographs online so if there was ever a fire in my office, you would never lose your photographs = $400/year.
    • I also have office expenses as far as buying paper, staples, envelopes, packaging, filing cabinets and files, etc…
    • I also spend time and money ordering your prints and albums, paying for shipping, going to the post office etc.
    All of that being said, I’m usually in the hole at the end of the year, and take on many family portraits, senior portraits and corporate jobs in order to make ends meet
     
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  3. Majeed Badizadegan

    Majeed Badizadegan TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Maybe not everyone is in the hole after a year, but this is the best breakdown I've ever seen of the business expenses of wedding/portrait photogaphy.

    I like how it's geared toward the client too.
     
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  4. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Sure, absolutely. This is a great breakdown, though. I've used for teaching purposes. I know I don't turn away any of the aforementioned jobs.
     
  5. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If by using this as a typical model, why then would this person even shoot weddings? If he is in the hole at the end of the year he has been shooting them for free. The camera equipment is a 4-5 year write off. He is not buying brand new gear every year, or a new computer every year or building a studio every year. But it is a well thought out break down to help convince someone the reasons behind the fee.

    It still goes back to the question. If he is losing money every year why shoot weddings?
     
  6. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Let's not over think this. The point of the piece was to simply educate someone on things to consider when asking about price. Put away your calculator.
     
  7. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It doesn't answer my original question?
     
  8. rexbobcat

    rexbobcat Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm more curious where the hell they bought 2 580EX II speedlites for $600 each. Seems like he would have found a place selling them for less considering that he's apparently really tight on money lol.

    Honestly, I always thought that they charged so much because they might not get as much work consistently as people working in other areas.
     
  9. pixmedic

    pixmedic I am the Lord thy Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    They werent losing money. They paid their mortgage, car payment, and a bunch of other bills. They may not have made enough to cover ALL their bills with just weddings, but portraits and other gigs made up for it. Even by that model, photography was their only job and paid all of their bills. Not too shabby, especially if they have a spouse also working. If they had money to pay bills after business expenses were paid, they made a profit.
     
  10. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    Your original question was how do they justify charging so much. The answer to that was in his post, which is "I need to make $XX,XXX.XX for the year."

    You next question about lossing money, then why shoot weddings. Well, there are a lot of guesses here, but here are a couple to offer you. 1) They can't make that much money working a limited schedule doing anything else. 2) They just love shooting weddings. (Just my $0.02)

    You love shooting sports, correct? Would you do it whether or not you made money at it?
     
  11. Majeed Badizadegan

    Majeed Badizadegan TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Why shouldn't wedding photographers get paid to do what they are good at? This particular photographer has gone to great lengths to show you that the round fee you see as excessive, is not really excessive (all things considered).

    Also:

    "If you're good at something, don't do it for free."
     
  12. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps this is what I should have posted. Plug in your own numbers and let the link do the math.
    Cost of doing business calculator
     
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