(Closed) Please help me understand why photography is so expensive

posted 11 years ago in Photos/Videos
  • poll: Can I get this for $1000?

    Yes, I would think so.

    Yes, I did for my wedding/

    No, you need to up your wedding budget.

  • Post # 17
    315 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I scoured Googled and found some young photographers (whose work I happened to like better because it wasn’t so posey) who are about 24 and have only had their business for a couple years.  So, we got our’s for $950!  Go through Google and call EVERY photog in your area!

    Post # 19
    216 posts
    Helper bee

    I’d ask yourself whether you really need whole day coverage.    I’m a photographer and I’d highly suggest looking into getting someone for key moments ( like …start 30 min. before your ceremony and end after main dances).    Getting a good photographer to do a 5 hour shoot instead of a 8-9 hour one on CD is much more likely.

    Is your date on a non-saturday by chance?    In your ad, be sure to mention your exact wedding date.   Many vendors will offer discount for non-sat. dates.    

    Post # 20
    1765 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    If you have a quote of $2000, I think that’s pretty reasonable and you are unlikely to find someone for anywhere near that price if it’s a rural area, especially considering if you don’t sign a contract right away, price increases may happen for 2011. I would ask your photographer about that. I mean, it seems like photography is an important part for you, so you probably will have to up your budget to get what you want. Just make sure whatever you choose is worth it to you!

    Good luck!

    Post # 21
    5920 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: December 2010

    We took a risk and hired a graphic design grad who just opened a studio.  I met her for coffee first, looked at her portfolio, and fell in love.  She’s young and determined, and I know she’ll do a great job. 

    We are getting engagement pictures, 6 hours the day of, copyright released CD of ALL images, and a slideshow for the family, all for $500. Granted I live in a smaller area, but still a great deal.  Our engagement pictures are in January, so I will know more then.

    Post # 22
    4383 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    We’re paying about $1000, so it is possible but I think it greatly depends on your location. We found ours on kijiji and he is an experienced photographer who is trying to break into the wedding business. We locked in his 2009 prices for our 2011 wedding, and now the same package is $1650.

    Post # 23
    168 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    Really?! Because all of the places I’ve found in Missouri (despite the major cities…STL and KC) are like $1200 for 8-hour coverage? IDK where you’re located, or I’d offer some names…

    Post # 24
    2633 posts
    Sugar bee

    Another option for you is to put an ad in the “wanted” section of Craigslist.  Tell them exactly what you want and exactly what you can spend.  I bet you’ll be surprised at the number of responses you get (I actually DID this and got 30+ responses).

    Post # 25
    865 posts
    Busy bee

    luckily my sister inlaw is a photographer so im hoping whenever i get married she’ll so it for free.  to find a cheap photographer try looking for someone just starting out or search modelmayhem.com for photographers in your area, most of them are model photographers but i’ve seen many open to weddings as well with.

    Post # 26
    3 posts
    • Wedding: March 2009

    Before I became a professional photographer I never understood why it was so expensive either. The fact is, weddings are expensive and the average bride can’t afford to pay $20,000 for their wedding. But as I started booking clients and doing cheap weddings to “build my portfolio”, I found out how much work weddings really are. 

    When you book a photographer you are paying for:

    Talent – The higher their price usually means the more experience they have. They are the expertise at that craft and if they are charging $12k you better be expecting someone who is AMAZING and has the reputation to be doing good at what they do. Each photographer has their own style, unique flair and has their own individual value. Sure you can pay Uncle Bob to photography your wedding for under $1,000 with his digital camera, but he may never give that creative perspective you are looking for. Anyone can press a button and take a picture, but not everyone can create something beautiful.

    Time – Full coverage at your wedding generally means 6-12 hours. Now take that PLUS time spent traveling to and from locations and in between (plus gas, plus wear and tear on their car). Then there is all the time spent editing the pictures, ordering the pictures, emailing the frustrated bride back and forth. Your wedding is not just a one day gig, it is hours of invested time helping the bride getting to know her and making sure she gets what she wants. Plus, 6 hours of shooting a wedding are WAY more stressful than 6 hours of another service. 

    Bills – As it was mentioned above, photographers have bills to pay. On top of regular bills we are constantly updating our equipment, paying insurance fees, business fees, taxes, website fees, etc.

    A lot of photographers won’t just give you the raw images because anything that you print or edit yourself is a reflection of that photographer and their name. Your photos are advertisements to all your friend and family.

    On top of all of that – what is the one thing that lasts beyond your wedding day? It’s the photographs. The flowers die, the favors are all given away and if you are going to invest a ton of money into the day why not get someone good to capture it all? 

    I’m going to be honest when I say – you get what you pay for. When I was booking weddings at $300 for full day coverage, I was just dipping into wedding photography. I didn’t do an awful job but looking back at it I can see how far I’ve come since then. $12,000 is a lot to ask for, I’m not even close to charging that, but anything under $1,000 for full day coverage isn’t going to be worth your time unless you can see a consistency in their portfolio of good pictures. 

    I’m not saying this to be rude or anything, I was in the same boat when I first got married and like I said, once I got into the photo business I slowly learned why photographers are priced the way they are.


    Post # 27
    1041 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2010

    I am paying an arm and a leg for my photographer. However, I wanted the very best and so I picked out a few that I liked and then had one of my friends (who was a photographer by trade for about 20 yrs) help me pick out the best one.

    However, this guy is an absolute magician. My epics are amazing. I cannot wait for my wedding pics. He captures so much emotion and his colors are so beautiful. To me, it’s worth it!!

    Post # 28
    350 posts
    Helper bee

    If you don’t like the idea of getting a photography student or someone who is just starting out, another option would be to see if your photographer charges an hourly rate and hire them for only the crucial parts of the day.

    We did this and had 5 1/2 hours of coverage for $1500 total (including tax.)  We did pre-ceremony photos, photos during the ceremony and the first two hours of the reception (first dance, cake cutting, dances with parents, etc…) Basically the photography ended once the upbeat dancing got started – i figured I didn’t need to pay thousands of $ for professional photos of my friends drunkenly dancing.

    Our pictures turned out beautifully and I have to say that getting 15 minutes shots or so of drunken dancing was enough.  I also cut out the getting ready shots — I didn’t really need a photographer there for that, and my friend who was there happened to take a few shots.

    Just a thought!

    Post # 29
    4479 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch

    I think you can find this, especially if you’re looking for a more photojournalistic style and less portraiture. I found a lot of people in that range when I was looking, actually, and I’m in a pretty high-priced market. Craigslist is a good place to start… I found a lot of more experienced photographers there who were offering deals that were lower than their usual rates, in addition to a lot of newer photographers with great (but small) portfolios. Something will work out!

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