I'm lucky to have a steady stream of inquiries coming in to my business every week. I'm always thrilled to hear from a newly engaged bride-to-be and I envision the excitement she has as she plans her dream wedding. However, I know she's likely also very stressed and crunching numbers. Whether she and her fiance are paying for their own wedding or parents and family are helping to foot the bill, that budgeting can be stressful.
I want to take a second to thank all of my clients who continually make the investment in me and my work. I'm so appreciative of you trusting, respecting and understanding what I do and finding that it is worth it. I do regularly work with brides on tight budgets to include discounts where they are applicable + all of my booking proposals are custom to each bride to ensure you're paying for only what you need.
Sometimes my inquiries end with a, thank you but you're way out of budget or I'm sorry but my parents are only allocating $1,000 toward photography so I need to keep looking. And you know what, that's OK. My hairstylist told me once, "you cannot spend every second justifying yourself, you just can't" and I get that now.
My 2017 wedding collections begin at $2,200 and 2018 collections will begin at $2,800. But being a wedding photographer doesn't just mean that I come to your wedding, shoot for eight hours, go home and rake in $3K.
The truth can get lost in the magic of being a wedding photographer because my job can be so amazing but the reality is that I am a small business owner. Just this week I spent hours acting as my own accountant in preparation for filing my taxes. I regularly spend entire days acting as my own personal assistant, financial planner, studio manager, merchandise manager, equipment manager, IT troubleshooter, website designer, social media manager, graphic designer, website designer and administrative assistant. There are days where the other list of things to do to maintain my business is so long that I don't do any shooting or editing.
Wedding clients who have worked with me in the past know that I'm available nearly 24/7 via email and text to help with planning, timelines, vendor recommendations, troubleshooting and more. That's not a complaint - I love what I do and I absolutely enjoy communicating with my clients. The fact that they value my opinion means so much to me. But it also means that on average for one 8-hour wedding, I'm actually working more than 80 hours.
Photographer Nikki Wagner wrote a post a few years ago that will likely make your head spin but if you're a bride wondering why wedding photography can set you back so much, I highly encourage you to read her breakdown. She talks about most of the costs of doing business including rent, car payments, studio management software, equipment costs, health insurance, etc.
I find that questioning cost is a lot more prevalent in the wedding industry than it is in our daily lives and that's OK. As a self employed small business owner, 35% of everything I make goes right to taxes! For a $2,200 wedding, that is $770 right off the top. I'm not interested in allowing this blog post to become a lecture on cost breakdown. I do want my clients and inquiring brides to know that I'm not over here bathing in your hard earned money.
According to SnapKnot, the average cost of a wedding photographer is $2,814. In major cities, this cost is much closer to $5,000-$7,000. On average for 2017, my clients have invested $3,100 for both coverage and the high resolution digital files.
I have a great deal of brides who come to me before they even book their venue. They have prioritized their photography because they know that it is the only investment in their wedding that will last for generations! These brides make my heart sing.
I encourage brides to do some searching and educate yourselves on the average cost of a wedding photographer in your area. Choosing a wedding photographer is not a decision you want to regret. You cannot go back and recreate those once-in-a-lifetime moments so ensure you have hired someone who you trust to capture those memories beautifully!
As with most things... you get what you pay for.
Behind the scenes images above courtesy of Cait Kramer Photography