(Closed) Your photographer isn’t making as much as you may think. (long, but informative)

posted 7 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@KoalaWalla: this comes to a salary of about $75,000 a year (if I book 30 weddings.. for those doing the math it comes to about 62.50 an hour once the pre and post work is factored in, and we haven’t yet included business overhead costs or hours spent working on basic things to maintain our business).  Subtract at least ten thousand dollars of that for business expenses (this being a low end estimate of overhead costs), and I couldn’t reasonably cover the costs of owning a home without a live in significant other or a roommate.

Wait wait wait…75,000 – 10,000 = 65,000

There are plenty of us on these boards where our household makes much less than that annually – I’m one of them – and we manage the cost of owning our home just fine. I see the point of most of your post, but acting like making 65k is noithing is really quite ridiculous, it’s quite a bit more than most of your brides probably make! Particuarly considering that the US’s median annual income is under 50k.

Post # 4
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@Wonderstruck: I thought the EXACT SAME THING when I read that. But then I thought I must have misread it or maybe the OP left something out. I would love to make $65,000- at this point my fiance and I together aren’t making that much. Most of the families that I know aren’t making that much now.

But I do agree with some of the other things that the OP posted- thanks for making an informative post. It’s always interesting to see the other side of things. I’ll think twice before complaining about photography costs… although I feel like many people in MANY industries don’t make as much as people think or as much as they deserve. Almost every career has overhead costs that add up.

Post # 5
Member
5993 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

just because some people think $65k is a good income doesnt mean that others should aspire to make only this

i feel the same way as OP does when people complain about the cost of a cake,  its not only flour and milk and the same with caterers – its not only the the cost of food but the staff, labour, insurance, licenses, advertisting, training, transporation, hardware, cleanup etc before they even start to think about making a profit

as i tell hubby who is an avid and published underwater photographer – just because its in focus doesnt make it a good photo, it also takes art and skill and that also has a price

Post # 6
Member
1650 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I didn’t read OP’s post as claiming that $65K is chump change, or dismissing it as near-poverty.  She seemed to be explaining that photographers’ rates aren’t arbitrarily priced or overpriced and that their annual income isn’t exorbitant.  I don’t consider $65K to be an exorbitant annual salary, particularly if the person lives in or near a major metropolitan area.  “The cost of owning a home” means something hugely different to people in different cities/states/geographical regions…

 

Post # 8
Member
2893 posts
Sugar bee

I agree that where you live is a HUGE factor when it comes to whether or not what you make is decent money. I lived in Wyoming for 5 years. I made everything from 15-25K a year. I’ve since moved to the east coast and I’m now making about 55K and let me tell you, I’m practically in the same position as I was when I was making 25K. Back then if you told me one day I’d be pulling in 55K, dollar signs would have flashed over my eyes. But I never realized how insanely inflated cost of living prices around here are. A 2 bed, 1 bath apartment in Wyoming could run you as low as $400 a month. A 2 bed, 1 bath in my area can fetch an avg. of $1400. There goes your increase in wages. Not to mention higher gas prices, longer commutes, higher prices for just about everything you put your fingers on.

I likd this post. It was very informative. Sometimes I think it’s easy for a person to hear the word photographer and think they’re busy at tropical sites shooting fashion models and keep their money stacked in piles in their bathtub. In the end it’s an artistic career and artsy careers have a potential to be the least financially rewarding. Especially when you consider all the other costs associated with being independent.

Post # 9
Member
6350 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

When my OH and I marry, he’ll be earning around $36,000 a year, and I’ll be earning about $9,000 as I’ll be a PhD student with fees of $6000 per year to pay, working 40 hours a week on my studies, and an additional 20 hours a week at my part-time jobs. So our joint income will be around $45,000. House prices in our area average approx $400,000 for a very small 2 bedroom terrace (I’ve not been to the US but am under the impression that properties are more generously proportioned than here in the UK). Our bills will likely total an additional $800 at a conservative estimate.

So I would love to do 2-3 weddings a month on the basis of 40 hours per wedding and take home $65,000 a year…

Post # 10
Member
9824 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

I live in Massachusetts, one of the most expensive states in the country and $65,000/yr for 2-3 work weeks a month and off months would still be an extremely good wage. Photographers have the right to charge what they wish, and I’d rather pay for quality when it comes to the photos. Judging by this post, there is a pretty healthy living in it if you’re working on a regular basis.

Post # 11
Member
6248 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 1900

I agree with KatyElle although it is interesting to hear from a pro’s perspective.

Post # 12
Member
2450 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

contrary to what the thread title says, according to the OP… photographers are making MORE than i though… not less.

Post # 13
Member
9824 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

@rosworms: Ditto! I never knew there was the potential for that much money, I thought it would be much less.

Post # 14
Member
2702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

we are paying our photographers about $410 an hour. We receive a lot with our package and I think paying $4500 is totally worth it becuase I do understand the cost and time that goes into it. I’m even getting our photographers a gift after the wedding to show our apreciation for them

Post # 15
Member
2702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

by the way, OP, thanks for the post! It was interesting hearing it from a different persective

Post # 16
Member
1405 posts
Bumble bee

OP is from NJ, 65K is nothing in NJ, you probably can’t even buy a two bedroom condo on that salary.  Most photographers don’t make a decent living considering the hours they work, it’s just the facts by the numbers (and I see them published in trade magazines).  Also, 10K for business expenses is extremely low.  To be properly setup to be a pro wedding photographer you need about 10-15K worth of equipment.  Last, OP didn’t mention setting up an IRA or 401K or other benefits.  Being self employed you pay all of that our of what you make.  The take home after all that is probably less than 50K, and that is assuming you CAN book 30 weddings.

Also, to the OP, if you have to justify your costs like this you are targeting the wrong market.  You need to go after a market that values photography as an art, values the skill you bring and is not price sensitive.  These same people wonder why a haircut costs more than the cost of the scissors because they don’t have any value for the skill of a true professional.

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