(Closed) WHY the heck are photogs so expensive!!!

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
7901 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

You can definitely find cheaper, a new photographer trying to build a portfolio or a photography student perhaps.

The reason it’s so expensive, though, is that good photography means expensive equipment, really expensive, and the processing takes a lot or time too. They don’t just take a bunch of pictures and hand them off to you. They go through every single one checking the quality and often editing at least for color correction and red eye. I got 1,398 photos from my photographer. Just basic editing would eat up a lot of time.

Post # 4
1281 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Sapphire-Dreamer:  Don’t worry.  I’m sure a photog on this site will tell you exactly why….they usually come out of lurking for this…;)

Post # 5
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Sapphire-Dreamer:  There are many, many threads on this board where photographers explain why… I’m going to try to find a few to link here instead of repeating everything again.

It is truly insulting to pro photographers to suggest that we are charging this much money because we want to rip people off.  This is so untrue and unfair.  I’m sorry you feel that way… but I hope you’re not just ranting.  I hope you sincerely want to know the answer to the question you ask.  Because it can be answered, very easily.  There are plenty of reasons. 

Please read the threads I find.  It’s just not fair for you to make this rant if you don’t really want to know the answer.

Post # 6
2464 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Good photography is expensive for a reason.

A legitimate photographer is carting around THOUSANDS of dollars of equipment to your event, and usually a backup photographer as well. Then there is the thousands of dollars of equipment and hardware they have back at the office for all the hours they spend editing. And after all this, they have to pay taxes, just like any other business. Where do you think they get the money to pay for all that?

If you’ve got a photographer and a backup there for 8 hours, that’s 16 hours of work you need to pay for. And then afterwards they spend probably close to 40-60 hours editing all your photos. I know a couple of photographers personally, and they are barely making a living, much less turning a huge profit.

Post # 7
1070 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

If you don’t want the same quality of work, then you should just have a family member take it.

You say you’re artist type folk which suprirses me because that’s exactly what photogs are. Artists. But instead of brushes, clay, and easles, they have $5000 cameras, $600 soft boxes and all other types of equiptment to do what they need to do.

I don’t have much money either, but I want that quailty you can expect from a $5K + photog.

Just put out some disposable cameras everywhere if you don’t care about quality of photography. You’ll get plenty of candids and just have a friend who has one of those good cameras take the portrait shots of the family. There is an easy, cheap solution to this, but don’t expect anything near the same quality as the professionals.


Post # 8
6339 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

Lots of reasons why photography is so expensive:

Time: although they might only be there for one day, many photographers include a pre-shoot (which is another few hours of their time), will have consultations with you (be that over the phone, face-to-face, or via email), and will spend a lot of time editing the photos after the day. So, they are likely spending a full working week, if not more, on each wedding; so suddenly, a few thousand doesn’t seem as insane

Expenses: they have numerous expenses, including advertising/web design, equipment (my bog-standard, bottom-of-the-range DSLR with standard lens cost $750, excluding extras like filters, case, memory card which totalled another $400-ish. This is for a basic camera, for an amateur photographer. A professional will spend thousands and thousands on cameras (most have a back-up), different lenses, tripods, lighting, software, etc etc), insurance, travel; the list goes on.


When I first started looking I was completely unrealistic, and set a budget of $1500. This has since increased to $3800, excluding albums, and honestly, I’m happy with that price for what we’re getting.

Post # 9
6110 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013


My photographer is an awesome photog and we are paying $2,200. I can’t tell you how many people say that’s really good or “low” for photography! She does great work, only does weddings (and she’s not just starting out), we are getting full rights to over 1,500 edited pictures, a press printed wedding book, an assistant the day of, an online gallery, and a free e-pic session. So it is possible to find a great photog for less than $3,000.

ETA: this is for a full day (up to 9 hours of coverage)

Where do you live? Maybe I can help look 🙂   I looked at countless photographers before finding mine.

Post # 10
1181 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I’m paying $1500.00 for my photographer and he’s been doing it for years!  His portfolio looks amazing! That being said My sister has a friend who offered to do my wedding for free because she’s only done about 5 weddings on her own. (I already put a deposit on our photographer or I would have totally went the free route).

Post # 11
9 posts
  • Wedding: April 2014

@Sapphire-Dreamer:  I work as a freelance artist and I know it can seem like a huge pricetag, but you are paying for more than the photographer being at your wedding, you are paying for a proffesional service, and the job encompasses a great deal more in labor besides being there on your day and clicking a button. The amount of hours spend during the week processing, currating, editing, and finalizing an album cost a lot of time, and it is time working. You are also investing in something that will remain with you through your lifetime, and you are investing in a personalized art, so to speak.

When I price out a painting on commision, I charge by the squarefoot, a surcharge for supplies needed, as well as an estimated amount based on the hours I will spend working on the piece. The final number is not cheap. Despite what the initial pricetag appears to be, most photographers make a living, but not an extravegant one. The pay off is that they get to do what they love. Rarely is it “easy money”.

There are photographers out there who charge less, but the quality will of course be a bit more subject as well as their profesionalism. I had a friend who found a cheap photographer, and the photo’s seemed nice enough online. The photographer took horrible photos, awkwardly photoshopped people into pictures to make up for the fact that he forgot to get pictures of the bride with the father, or the wedding party etc.

Ultimately it is up to you, but there is a reason that the photography part, like an engagement ring, is considered an investment.

Do you know anyone who is a photographer? Perhaps you could work with someone to only shoot the ceremony and a few family portraits after, but have no photographer for the reception.

Also consider advertising on a local photography department at a college to offer to pay 1500.00 to shoot a wedding. A lot of student photographers will have had training and a few years experience, and might be able to do it for less money. Perhaps you can even negotiate getting to pay for just the digital files and make your own wedding album.

Post # 12
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Sapphire-Dreamer:  Alright, here we are:


^^^ The first post in this thread is particularly enlightening.  It is long, but please read it.


Both of these threads were active on this board within the past month.  I’ll post a few quotes for you:

“Your budget is whatever your budget is.  I never judge anyone for that.  But as a full time photographer posts like these are a bit irksome because you don’t seem to realize how insanely expensive it is to run a photography business, how much work is involved, and how little the profit is on all of it.  So you can say you’re not paying $2000 for a wedding photographer, and that’s totally fine.  But you need to understand that you are NOT going to get someone who is a legit professional.  Heck $2000 probably isn’t even going to get you a professional if you were going to spend that.  Why would anyone have exceptional work and charges hundreds of dollars less than the average starting prices of other photographers?  At best you are playing the photography roulette wheel and trying to get lucky finding someone starting out who may not be charging to their full potential yet.  Good luck with that!  They aren’t going to be be insured, have top of the line gear and backups, be able to provide you organized service, bring any experience to the table, or have a well thought out data management system to protect the images they take.”

“Honestly, before i started shooting weddings I had no idea how people could charge so much for wedding photography. Then I found out how much work and investment is involved. The OP did a great job of outlining it. When I charged $2500 for a wedding, after costs, taxes, etc – I made like $13 an hour on them. In Australia, that’s $7 below minimum wage.”

“Having a photography business is NOT the same as just taking pictures. I take my business seriously. Also, the photographers who charge $6000 per wedding probably deliver the most amazing photos you can think off. They have spent years and years perfecting their craft. If you work in an office, don’t you want a raise every year? a bonus? paid vacation? paid sick leave? They charge what they do to stay in business. If you think $1850 is a lot of money, put it into perspective. If I was to do this full time, and let’s say I get an average of 2 weddings per month in one year, that’s $1850×24=44.400

44,400 minus 1/3 that goes to takes: 29,599. Minus the expenses I explained at the top… do you get the point? and the 30 hours explained above don’t cover: blogging, studying new techniques, advertising your site, shopping for equipment, updating your website, facebook, etc.”

“I agree with the other photographers on this. Even if you were lucky enough to find someone with raw talent just starting out you’ll still run into the things the previous posters mentioned: illegal businesses, poor customer service, no pro grade equipment or backup gear, batched editing, and depending how long it takes the person to figure out what they actually need to charge to make any money at all you might have a very bitter photographer at your wedding, or they may just cancel the contract on you all together when they realize how severely they undercharged.

Sorry to be blunt, but reading a post like this to photographers is like saying “I am looking for some poor sap to take advantage of because they dont know the cost of doing business.” Then you’re also insulting the real pros who run legit businesses by implying that they are all OVERcharging.”

I could go on and on… and on.

Post # 13
2902 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I believe many are absolutely worth that amount. They are talented and charge what people will pay. The problem is Stylemepretty & Ruffleblog makes us want these amazing photos on our day. Years ago most would have been happy with a simple wedding photographer but not anymore! We want our wedding to be the same as all the photos we have been lusting over since getting engaged. 

Post # 14
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@Sapphire-Dreamer:  Hello fellow budget bride!  Craigslist and weddingwire can be your friend.  We found a great photographer who has been in business for a year and is building her portfolio but had enough weddings under her belt to make us comfortable.  We are getting 4 hours with two photographers and a CD with all images and the rights to reprint for $500 (yes five hundred dollars.)  We found her website and blog using craigslist.

When I got married the first time I used a little more established photographer but I was still on a budget and I was able to secure her services for $1,000 for 6 hours of coverage with two photographers and a CD with all images and the rights to reprint.  Stop using the wedding sites, books, and magazines because only super expensive photographers can afford to advertise like that.

Where is the wedding?  I’ll help you out.

Post # 15
1848 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

@Sapphire-Dreamer:  What area are you in? If you live in or near a major city, that price is definitely reasonable.

I think that I was in your shoes a few months ago. I was convinced these people with cameras were trying to jack up prices for no reason! However, these people have to pay for licensing, advertisement, labor during editing and delivery, and all that jazz. I remember reading here that most photographers don’t see 1/3 of the money you give them due to taxes, etc.? Crazy.

Do you know anyone who knows anybody? They might be willing to work with you on your wedding. Also, you may want to go a la carte with a good photographer and have a more minimal package.

I lucked out and booked my photographer while he’s still building up his business. He’s 2-3 years in and I have a feeling in a few more his prices will be approaching $4k+ once he’s builds up his base. Hell, he said in 2015, our marriage year, it might be $3500! I asked him if he’d give me a deal and he did. I’m paying a little over $3k for his services in 2015. His current price is $2700. A $200 difference in two years time is nothing.

Post # 16
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013



Thank you.  I appreciate when non-professional photographers stand up for us in threads like these.  I feel like everything we say gets dismissed as self-serving BS (which it absolutely is not)…. so it’s always nice to see a bride who really understands and appreciates it.

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