Why Do Wedding Photographers Seem so Expensive?

This is a question all of my friends ask all the time. I get the comment "I just spent XXXX and it's for 8 hours! Wedding photographers must be getting rich!" For the photographers that charge 10k a wedding I get it, but generally I hear this from people looking for bottom barrel photographers. Like 1000-1600 all day with prints and albums included an such.

Breaking down what we really make looks something more like this.

Say your photographer charges $2000 for a wedding. As an honest and licensed business, they're paying taxes. Right off the bat take off 20%


Ok, so they shoot for 8 hours. Simple math would say they make $200 an hour. Not quite...

For every hour shot, figure editing is about 4 hours. That's 32 hours. So 40 hours total so far. That's $40 an hour.

Now, each wedding takes about 40 hours of emails, phone calls, contract writing, meetings, engagement session, walk through before the wedding, venue visits, travel & misc other communication. Not to mention putting together a blog post and sharing images on social for marketing. So 80 hours per wedding for client service and shooting..

That's $20 per hour.

They have to carry business insurance, gear / software, pay for their own health insurance and don't get any vacation accrued.

After all that, they reasonably can shoot one wedding a day. Most get married on Saturdays.

This is a general ballpark and everyone's process is slightly different. Think about it next time you see an ad for the $1000 all day coverage "professional photographer". The reality is, overall, there's a lot that goes into it beyond just the 8 hours you see the photographer. We work hard and love what we do.