Camera and photographer making the once in a lifetime photo

Budget Wedding Photography

Sunday, June 19, 2011
I did around 150 weddings and I actually loved photographing them. A wedding was a special day and I believed that brides deserved the very best photography possible. But budget wedding photographers are making this very difficult. I would still be doing this type of photography as a career if stuff like what is on the videos links below didn't happen so often.

The $1,500 wedding photography bride

Budget wedding photography bride

I am writing this blog article for the future wedding photographers out there and also brides who are looking to hire a wedding photographer.
  1. For the photographer, have a strong business model. Understand the long term instead of the short term "I am gonna make some quick money mentality".
  2. For the brides.... make sure you understand the economics of wedding photography in order for you to get a qualified photo artist.

My experience is very much echoed in both those videos with very little exaggeration. I see too many people who want to pay $500, $1,000, or $1,500 for wedding photography. But the real problem is there are many learning wedding photographers that will accept that amount of money.

This price point does not allow someone to run a business and survive in New York City. A $1,500 wedding photography job comes out to about $37.50/hr of work (40 hours of shooting and post processing). That just does not cut it when you realize a person has to pay rent, have redundant equipment ($10,000), maintain that equipment, pay for health insurance, have powerful computers, hire assistants, advertise, make portfolios, pay taxes, live during the off season and pay themselves so they can eat/survive. That $37.50/hr dwindles down to about $12/hr net.

 A friend of mine looking for a wedding photographer asked me what price point was best for someone decent? I said $2,300 minimum without a wedding album. He gasped and said that was a lot of money. Yes, it is a lot of money but it is well worth it to get photographic memories of your most important day.
Understand that a wedding photographer works under the most hurried conditions, with terrible lighting, and with digital photography, is expected to take hundreds if not thousands of masterpiece photos. This is not the way great photography is created. At most, a master photographer will get 200 fabulous images. These are the images that will go into your wedding album. All the other photos are snapshots and in my opinion distract the photographer from catching those special moments.

Brides, if you want those snapshot wedding day photos, get your photographer to hire a second photographer. Let the main photographer focus on taking those 200 wedding album photographs. The only problem is that this increases the cost.

Paying a decent wedding photographer with a good assistant should cost a minimum of $2,300 minimum if your wedding business model is going to survive. Now the hourly rate for the photographer is $57/hr and after expenses $31.50/hr. That is a proper amount of money to pay an experienced professional. He will hire someone to post process the snapshots while he spends the proper amount of time with photoshop creating art for those 200 wedding album photos.

I fully understand brides are on a wedding budget. Wedding photography should not be one of those things you skimp on. It has been said before... these wedding photos are what you will look at after 10, 20, 30 years. A quality wedding album will always be up to date.


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