Shooting weddings

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

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  1. curtyoungblood

    curtyoungblood No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This won't answer your question exactly or specifically, but I was recently playing around with a cost of doing business calculator. I was mostly just playing to see what it would take if I ever decide to work for myself. I filled out all the boxes to a bare minimum, and it said I would need to make about $700 a day to be able to cover costs and get a salary around 40,000.

    If you assume that the numbers are right above, then 8 hours of shooting time (this sounds reasonable if you include pre-sessions and stuff) and 20 hours editing, then that is 3.5 days. 3.5 days at 700 is about 2,500. I can easily see where adding a few more (probably realistic) business expenses and wanting to make more money, you can get up to 5,000 pretty quickly. Also, in my experiences, the $5,000 wedding are the fully-loaded weddings, and people seem to spend closer to the 3,000 to 3,500 range.

    ***I was using the NPPA calculator, which got posted while I was typing.


     
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  2. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    I spent a lot of time with this calculator before I left my teaching job to go fulltime with my business. Every few months the numbers got better and better, and more realistic. Very powerful tool, indeed.
     
  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    They charge what they charge because they can.

    Some more, some less than your example, but they all charge what they can.
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Those numbers are not unrealistic. A car will only run for a few hundred thousand miles (on average), a computer becomes obsolete two or three years after you take it home, cameras and lights do break sometimes.
     
  5. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I didn't question if they should get paid or not, I asked how do they justify charging $5000+ for a wedding, and how much do they clear shooting a wedding. I see how the one photographer broke down his expenses, and those expenses are pretty much the same as most professional photographers. I also never said the fees were excessive.
     
  6. Majeed Badizadegan

    Majeed Badizadegan TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    To use your own words:




    But, you implied and continue to imply the fees are excessive by using words like "justify". How does a plastic surgeon justify charging $6,000 + per procedure? How does a cashier justify making $9/hr?

    It's all relative. If someone is willing to pay for the services at that price, then they can charge that price. As a professional photographer, which I think you are, I'm surprised that of all people you would be asking this question.

    Do years of experience, tens of thousands in gear, and a dedication to provide professional services not justify the price a wedding photographer sets?
     
  7. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Plastic surgeon...photographer. I suppose they are the same one buys a $5.00 scalpel and opens up a practice, one buys a $600 camera is a professional. Don't start dragging this into another one of those mindless comparison threads.

    As a photographer that doesn't work in this field, is exactly why I'm asking the question. I know how much I spend/make/earn on each assignment I do. If I don't know how much someone who does weddings clears on each shoot, it has nothing to do with being a professional photographer. I did expect to get swarmed on this question.

    I know that if I shoot for 4 hours and clear $500 that's pretty good for shooting sports, and I am dealing with all the same conditions as a wedding photographer that is charging $5000 for the same time period, apart from me being in the wrong area of photography. I know what the sports market is like so I know what I can charge, and it's a lot less than what wedding photographers make. Maybe I should just start shooting weddings.
     
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  8. Majeed Badizadegan

    Majeed Badizadegan TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    So the heart of the matter is reached ;)
     
  9. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm not trying to be a dick about any of this, I'm just curious.
     
  10. Majeed Badizadegan

    Majeed Badizadegan TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Also worth considering, in a lot of markets when you start getting into the $5k+ area, you're talking about big photographers with well-known names. Not saying some normal wedding photographers can't/don't charge $5k, just saying when you're starting to get into the higher prices the brand/reputation/quality of work becomes a bigger factor. So you're somewhat paying for the name and the reputation attached to that name.

    Also, there's no re-do's on weddings. So you want to make sure whoever you hire nails it, the first time. Some people are willing to pay more for that than others.
     
  11. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Oh I know all about the name factor, there is one here in my home town that lives on it, biggest jerk you'd ever meet when things don't go his way he whines, but he does do some amazing work. I would also guess that his wedding packages start over $10k. He is dealing with a massive overhead, his studio is the building he owns, he has staff hair, makeup, computer techs, lighting specialists, basically he's the trigger man, he probably pays out close to $1500-2000 to his day staff. Kind of like what Karsh did in the day, without the computer, but film re-touchers.

    I can understand where his fees come from, I've known him a long time. But most wedding photographers don't have studios and their overhead is considerable lower, I think the question should have been how these types justify the fees.
     
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  12. Ballistics

    Ballistics Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm going to go against the grain here and say that this break down, includes costs of living into expenses. Which isn't how things work.
    You don't include your home rent, your car payment, your own health insurance, shoes (really?) etc.


    On top of that, the equipment list reads as if every year, you have the same expenses. So if you bought all of that stuff up front, and include it in your first years expenses, you can't include it in any other years expenses.
    And it's all tax deductible.

    This is another inflated CODB list.
     
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