This posting was made (of all places) Craig’s List. As you read it, put yourself in this Bride’s place as best you can (I left the typos and the misspellings in there-not me )
WHY is finding an amazing wedding photographer so difficult? :/
I am a Bride who is getting married this summer and have yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.
WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos? Oh, because no bride is going to go without so they are going to pay it, because they HAVE to. They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15 grand after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!! You’re making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic. I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand. (Thats making 19$ an hour) So you’re going to take someones WHOLE MONTH paycheck for one flippen day of photos? Just because you CAN!!?????? So that maybe they will not be able to feed themselves or pay any other bills they have, right? It makes me SICK!
I know im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot of brides out there think the same thing. & I bet all you fancy photographers wont even read this. oh-well.
Maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos 🙂
Here was my response:
I have read your letter and wanted to hopefully enlighten you.
The tone of your letter infers that there is a great conspiracy to out there to “rip off Brides”. As someone who is firmly in the middle of the Wedding Industry, let me tell you that you could not be more wrong.
The average Photographer will spend typically 8-10 hours of “taking pictures” as you put it , on your Wedding Day. For each wedding they “take Pictures” for, they will also have to do approximately 5-7 hours of continued education so that when they “take pictures” they will be doing the best and most advanced techniques. Many times this education costs money. Further, the average Photographer will spend around $300 and 4 hours (for every time they “take Pictures” ) of marketing efforts and dollars. The Photographer will on average meet with 2 brides for every one that books (to “take Pictures”), which takes around 3 hours. Let’s pretend that the admin stuff of their business magically takes care of itself (the bookkeeping, the licensing and the ordering of supplies, hiring and firing of employees- the day to day operations) This admin stuff doesn’t magically take care of itself (and the expenses are still there too) , but let’s just pretend. Going back to the “taking pictures” there is also approximately 6-8 hours of back end time for every 1 hour of shooting time. This includes the “editing of a few pictures” as you put it, sorting down from 1500 + images (and they have to look at them all) to a manageable amount (this alone takes around 8 hours) and putting together albums, as well as uploading them to the internet. So your 8 hours of “taking Pictures” added with the 5 hours of continued education, coupled with the 4 hours of marketing and the 48 hours of post production adds up to 67 hours (at a minimum) worth of work divided by what ends up to be around half- $1500 = around what you suggest the average bride makes (based on if they stay booked which there is not guarantee)= a little more reasonable rate. Oh, but wait, I did not include the thousands of dollars in equipment, the travel time to and from the event, the insurance, the fees for phones, internet and studios which it costs , not to mention if they have to pay an employee. You are further assuming that they simply go out casually for a few hours once or twice a week and knock down 200-300k a year from “unsuspecting brides”.
Here is the good news- You can find someone who is cheaper. The Problem is that a camera and a business card does not a Wedding Photographer make. If once you find that person, you may decide to keep looking, you can find someone cheaper than that. If you even keep looking all the way up to the day before your wedding, guess what- there is always someone cheaper. Fact is you are equating these photographers as a commodity which they are not. Ask around the industry with non-photographer wedding professionals and see if they have heard of nightmare stories of the photographer a) not showing up b) screwing up the pictures when they did show up c) not providing the final product (it got lost, destroyed or otherwise) afterwards. I see cases such as those all the time on Judge Judy. I mean, why does Lexis rip off people so much- it has the same tires, steering wheel, windows, engine, etc.. as a Kia doesn’t it?
My advice for you is to not blame the price, but to appreciate the reason behind it. Good luck on your wedding (btw- if you need a referral, I am happy to share some names of professionals who care in the Puget Sound area. They will probably cost more, but you will get what you pay for)
What are your Thoughts?