Why is Wedding Photography So Expensive?

Are your wedding photos priceless?

If you're like most brides, you might feel a bit of sticker shock over the prices of wedding photography.

Why does it have to cost so much?

It's said that once you mention the word “wedding” ... the prices quadruple. Wedding photography in particular can seem outrageously priced at times. You’ll discover the website of a photograper whose images you love; and then, you'll see the rate and your heart will sink. Why on earth do you have to spend so much money "just for some photographs?" When my friend will do it for free, or I can get a $500 dollar wedding photographer off of Craig's list.

Well, a photographer's job isn’t as simple as showing up and taking a bunch of snapshots. An independent photographer is running a business. Businesses have expenses and they take hard work to build and maintain.

A Photographer's Expenses
•Equipment. High quality camera bodies can cost $5,000. Lenses – which the photographer will need several of to capture different parts of the ceremony and reception – can cost $1,000 to 3,000 each. And at 2,000 to 3,000 frames per wedding, even a good camera will need to be replaced about once a year, and the professional wedding photographer must have several of these expensive pro camera bodies. Then there are flashes, batteries, memory cards, light meters, tripods, camera bags, portable studio flash units and other miscellaneous gear. Your wedding photographer will have up to $25,000 invested in computers, software and high end image editing programs.
•Taxes. Your photographer is (or should be) paying taxes on every dollar she makes, just like everyone else. So if her fee is $3,000, almost $1,000 of that will go to Uncle Sam.
•Insurance. Many wedding venues require photographers and other vendors to carry liability insurance. Photographers must also insure their own camera equipment. Each of these types of insurance costs several hundred dollars per year.
•Advertising. Word of mouth is great, but a photographer needs to keep his name out there. Advertising on The Knot's website, one of the most prominent wedding planning resources around, costs at least $2,400 per year.

Other Factors That Determine A Photographer's Pricing

Hidden Work. A photographer doesn’t work for you only on the day of your wedding. Every meeting with potential clients is an investment of his time, whether he gets the job or not. Your photographer will spend time with you before the wedding to go over your plan for the day, your required shot list, and the design of any albums you may wish to purchase.

Once the wedding is shot, your photographer will spend countless hours, for up to a week following the wedding; editing, retouching, and color-correcting hundreds of images one by one meticulously; and then, even more additional hours for yet another week, creating your customized unique album and online gallery of your wedding photos.

Intangible Artistry and Skill. Photography is a technical skill and but moreso it is an art. A professional doesn’t simply memorize what all the camera buttons do; he or she is able to capture the beauty and emotion of your day in a unique way. Good photos are more than just technically correct, they are special.

Like professionals in any other field, wedding photographers have worked out their pricing system for a reason, and it's not just to part you from your money! Professional photographs are a wonderful way to capture your memories. They are not essential, but they are priceless.

You should never feel pressured into paying more than you want to pay for wedding pictures, but neither should you assume that higher prices are simply a scam or a ripoff. Once the cake is eaten and the flowers wilted, your photos are the only thing you have left to remember for a lifetime. It can never be repeated.

A good photographer will provide you with photos that are worthy of becoming the first part of your new family's history to be cherished for a life time and possibly for generations to come.

What Is A Wedding Photographer Worth?

Prices for wedding photographers run the gamut from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands, as can be noted by comparing and contrasting the information provided at numerous wedding photographers' web sites.

Common ranges on wedding photography elements:

•Fee for photographer: $1500-20,000
•Custom-designed albums: $900-$15,000
•DVDs with high-resolution image files: $700-1,500
•Prints from 4x6 (inches) to 16x20: $10-1,200
•Additional/assistant photographers: $300-3,500

A wedding is the most important event in a couple’s life. It’s an investment that deserves careful consideration.

Decide which photographer provides the desired visionary style, skills, personality, customer service and quality end products. Then figure out, plan and budget how to afford that unique professional as if it were the most important decision of your life and a testimony of your love. Your wedding album will become more treasured over time, a treasure trove of beautiful images you will value more and more as the years of your marriage pass by.