When Greg and I got married in 2014, I had no idea about wedding photography. I was a few years away from starting this business, so I had no basis for comparison. We worked so hard to DIY as many wedding things as we could, yet still the costs felt a bit overwhelming. Our wedding was definitely still on the more budget side, we had it at Greg's parents house, his cousin was the DJ, I made a lot of the decorations myself, I even bought my dress on eBay! True story, it was an awesome find, I'll tell you another time. We got a good deal on our photography because it was an old friend of Greg's who did it. If I had sent my past self a quote for what I current self charges now, I think I would have panicked! How could it possibly cost that much money? It's just one day of work!
So let's get down to brass tacks and I'll go over what goes into the cost of wedding photography (there is a wide range of pricing structures, so I'll just let you know a bit about my own).
In order to provide the right kind of service, I have accumulated a bunch of gear. I have two camera bodies that I use simultaneously, a number of different lenses, and two flash units. There needs to be redundancy built into the system in case something fails, or breaks, or falls into a puddle! I shoot with dual memory cards (the same photo goes onto both cards at once, an extra redundancy), so need to have a collection of those to cycle through in the height of wedding season. I had to get a powerful computer that could handle the large files that I use, and a monthly subscription to Adobe for the editing. In terms of subscriptions, I also pay a yearly fee for my domain name, website builder, and online photo gallery space.
I take time in my schedule to meet with prospective clients, and like I'm doing right now, I set aside time to develop my online presence so those prospective clients can actually find me! I have invested in education from other professionals in the industry, so that I can hone my skills and better serve my clients. I have developed an in-depth guides for my couples to help them along in their wedding process. I have always loved to learn, and my competitive drive pushes me to be better each day.
Now let's get to the wedding day!
The average wedding day that I shoot is 8 hours. I will come home with anywhere between 2000-3000 images to look through. From those photos I choose the best ones and edit them for colour, lighting and fine touches here and there. This usually takes between 20-30 hours.
I have always felt the pressure to provide the best value for my clients. I believe that a wedding should not put you into debt, or prevent you from investing in your future as a family. However, it is a significant day in your lives. Of all the parts of your wedding, investing the right amount in your photography means that you will be able to not only remember the beautiful details of the day, but how you felt. In 5, 10, or 20 years, with kids, career changes, with losses and victories, imagine being able to transport yourselves back to the day that it all started. We can all benefit from a change of perspective now and then.