The price tag attached to a good wedding photographer can sometimes be unexpected. With the majority of photographers placed in the $3500-$6000 price range, it can be tempting to think that the industry is chronically overpriced, especially when you only see the photographer working for about 10 hours on the big day. I’m here to clear up the confusion.
No, most of us aren’t getting paid $300+ an hour. Actually, it’s much less! There are so many factors and overheads contributing to the price of quality wedding photography. Here are just some of them:
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
For most of the weddings I attend, I’m bringing more than $30,000 of equipment with me. Cameras and lenses aren’t cheap, and they also need to be maintained, insured, serviced, kept up to date and replaced. And it’s not just cameras, either. There are computers, USBs and hard drives, and other accessories like tripods, flash and other lighting equipment that I’m continually using and having to pay for. In the past 6 years, I’ve spent $96,000 on equipment alone—all to make sure that I can give my couples the best.
Expertise and experience
Having been in this industry for 10 years now, I bring a wealth of experience and skill to the table. It’s taken me years to refine my craft and find my signature style, and that will only continue to improve over time. But being a wedding photographer is so much more than just delivering a product; it’s also about the experience. A beginner in this industry may struggle with time management, making couples feel comfortable or directing people during group sessions. A good wedding photographer will pre-emptively guide you and be able to capitalise on all those fleeting moments. That’s all second nature to me now. Trust me, you won’t need to worry about a thing.
To keep up to date with new technology and the latest industry buzz, I’m continually educating myself and taking courses to improve my craft. I’m also well connected with others in my industry that I can draw on for their services, advice and experience. Staying educated takes both a financial and time investment.
Photo editing and processing
This is where most of my time is spent on every couple. With thousands of photos to curate, edit and process, this step can take multiple days to complete. I’m pretty meticulous at this point in my career, always wanting to deliver the highest quality images I possibly can.
Backing up and storage
At this point, I have more than 15TB worth of images stored on hard drives. I’m forever backing up images to make sure all the originals are in tact, in case anything ever happens in the cloud or you lose access to your photos. I store these images for two years by default, which costs me time and storage space.
Time and travel
This is the most obvious cost. I’ll spend up to 10 hours with you on your big day, capturing each moment, making sure we’re on schedule and that you and your loved ones feel comfortable and reassured. There is also travel time and petrol/car expenses to consider, which will depend on where your wedding is being held.
While I love meeting and spending time with couples, wedding meetings do take up valuable time. In other industries, workers are paid to meet with clients, so this cost is included in the final price point. Generally, I’m pretty flexible about it too, if meetings go overtime. Being able to lean on me for advice is all part of the experience.
Venue visits and scoping out
I’ve been to a lot of wedding venues, but sometimes there are new locations I haven’t visited that need scouting for good photo locations. Again, this won’t cost you extra money but if I need to travel and scope out a venue before the big day, I’m happy to do that so you can have the best experience possible.
Insurance and other expenses
Working as a sole trader and managing your own business comes with lots of hidden expenses. Not only do you have to pay a considerable amount of tax, but you also have to pay for asset management, digital storage, other creative tools and programs to make your job possible. This can add up to hundreds of dollars per month just to keep your business running smoothly.
My unique aesthetic
At the end of the day, you’re buying me—my unique services. There are hundreds of wedding photographers in Sydney, thousands in NSW and beyond, but there is no one quite like me. My ultimate promise is to deliver quality photos in my signature style that you’ll love, and an experience you’ll never forget.
So, there you have it. Ten reasons why wedding photographers can look expensive at first glance. At the end of the day, I always do my best to bring as much value to each couple as possible.