As a professional photographer one of my favorite parts of this job is getting to meet so many new and amazing people. From the couples and families I shoot, to the other event vendors I get to work with. I love the opportunity to chat with and get to know people that I may never have met otherwise! Through these conversations I get asked a lot of questions about my job. Questions like, “How did you become a photographer?” of “What’s the best event you’ve ever photographed?” are common. The question I get asked the most though? It may surprise you! The #1 question I get asked about being a professional photographer is actually about how much I make!
Since a photography collection is often a big piece of any wedding budget, people often see that cost and think that photographers must be making a lot of money. Money can sometimes be considered a touchy subject, but I like to be an open book with you all. So, today I thought I’d talk about why photography collections cost what they do.
When you go into a store and purchase a t-shirt, you’re paying for not just the shirt itself, but the markup as well. This markup goes towards the employees in the store, the employees that made the shirt, the designer, the rent for that store, etc. The same thing is true for wedding photography collections! The price of the collection reflects both the photographers time as well as the various costs of running a photography business full-time.
People are usually surprised at how much time goes into one collection. Aside from the actual photography session, which for a wedding is usually 9-12 hours, I put a lot of time into connecting with my couples before and after their wedding day. I meet with my couples in person, schedule phone calls to touch-base, as well as email them to get their timelines and photo lists to ensure they’re stress free on their big day. Finally, photographers spend a lot of time after the wedding editing photos. I think any photographer would tell you that we spend more time editing photos and creating albums than we do actually photographing the wedding!
Aside from the time that goes into creating the collection, business costs that must be factored in as well. It can be pretty costly to run a photography business full-time.
Business Costs Include:
- Hiring a second photographer
- Purchasing and maintaining equipment (camera, lenses, computer, hard drives, memory cards, etc.)
- Props for sessions
- Product fees (prints, albums, usbs)
- Shipping fees
- Editing software
- Education & Workshops
- Branding, Marketing, & Advertising
- Website fees
- Cell phone
- Car insurance
- Health & Dental insurance
- Business insurance
- Business taxes (and an accountant)
- Permit fees
- Banking & Credit Card fees
As you can see, a full-time photographer has a lot of costs associated with running their business. These costs have to be factored into our pricing, so we can continue to do the job we love!
I hope this has been helpful and gives you a better idea of how photographers calculate the price of their collections. I love answering questions from you guys, so if you have other questions or topics you’d like me to cover, please send me a message or leave a comment below. I’d love to get you some answers!