How much does a wedding photographer cost?
About the costs of wedding photography
A wedding like that is a big hit on your wallet. I'm willing to admit that! Even if your wedding is not extravagant or over the top at all, you will soon be at five decimal places. That's no small feat! But I understand it very well. You want to celebrate your love for each other together with the people you love. And if possible, you want to do it in a great location and in a dress or suit that makes you feel beautiful. Because you can give yourself that! You want good food and drinks, a nice piece of cake and end your special day with a great party. And then the costs quickly add up.
And then there is that wedding photographer. That's a real pain in the ass!
Why is a wedding photographer so expensive?
Like this. That's out. Wedding photographers are expensive. Although, that statement is not entirely correct. A wedding photographer costs a lot of money, that's a bit more accurate. The word 'expensive' always sounds like 'too expensive' to me. There are a number of reasons why wedding photographers generally cost a pretty penny. And that's not because the car in the photo above is mine! I wish it were like that. I will explain to you where those costs come from.
'That's easily earned!'. A fairly common response when I say what I charge for a day of photographing a wedding. And yes, if I could 'catch' this amount 20 days a month, I would indeed be able to retire on time. But it's not that easy. I calculated some time ago that an average wedding report of 10 hours of photography takes about 40 hours in total. A brief summary in chronological order:
– Emails and correspondence: 3 hours
– Introductory meeting & preparations for it: 3 hours
– Wedding preparations and checks (equipment, batteries, memory cards): 2 hours
– Photography on the day itself & travel time: 12 hours
– Backups (4 pieces!): 2 hours
– Selection: 3 hours
– Post-processing: 8 hours
– Delivery photos: 1 hour
– Albums (design, revisions, ordering, checking, sending): 2-6 hours
– Billing & accounting: 2 hours
– Blogging & Social Media: 4 hours
– Training (tutorials, workshops, online communities): 3 hours.
Then you end up with more than 40 hours. And I'm talking about a wedding that is not blogged and where a larger and more extensive album does not have to be made. So 40 hours is really the minimum. If I photograph a long wedding of 16 hours for which I can make a larger album and which I also want to blog on my website, you can easily add 10-15 hours to this. More than you probably thought!
I'm not one of those photographers who believes that having a lot of expensive equipment makes you better. A camera costing 7,000 euros does not automatically take better photos. But then again, as a wedding photographer you still need to have a few things with you. In any case, I always have 2 cameras with me, because what if one breaks? Sooner or later that will happen. A camera is nothing without lenses, so I have about 5 of them with me. That's not a lot, but I also have some overlap in terms of lenses, in case a lens breaks or falls. I also take an all-round lens with me as a backup. Apart from that, there is a number of peripheral equipment and accessories: flashes, transmitters, tripods, memory cards, batteries and batteries. My 'kit' is actually quite small, because I believe that carrying around too much equipment is only a distraction. 80% of the day I photograph with 2 cameras and 2 lenses, without flashes and attributes. During the party or when it gets dark, I use about 4-5 flashes to get nice light. But despite the fact that I don't have a lot of equipment, I still take 10,000 euros worth of stuff with me.
Of course, photos also need to be edited and saved. For that I have an iMac, a Macbook Pro, two backup servers and a whole lot of external hard drives. They're not free either ;-)
Expenses & taxes
A brief summary: Cameras are replaced on average every 2-3 years (because then they are worn out), batteries and memory cards are the same. Computers, laptops and peripherals do not last indefinitely either. There are all kinds of ongoing costs for: photo editing software, album design software, photo galleries, online backups, accounting software, insurance, pension, travel expenses, car maintenance, parking costs, website hosting, and domain names. And then I forget our great friend: The Tax Authorities! I have to pay VAT on the rates I charge and I pay a large amount of income tax on my income every year. Just like you! For photographers (and all self-employed people actually) these taxes are included in the price.