I know how overwhelming wedding planning can be, so if you’ve been following along you know I’ve been sharing EVERYTHING I can to help you have an incredible day!
So to recap we’ve talked about…
And today we’re digging into one of the biggest topics of all, pricing….
We touched on pricing just a tad in my post How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer, but today I’m digging into this topic deeper to focus solely on photography investment.
I get a wide range of questions about inquiring clients and the biggest area I think most people don’t understand is PRICING. Most people don’t know what to expect to pay for wedding photography and what goes into the process. Today I’m lifting that hazy veil to help you understand what you’re investing in when it comes to wedding photography.
Now, as you’re looking through photographer’s investment guides you’ll see a wide range of prices. There are SO many factors that go into each photographer’s pricing from overhead costs to level of experience. With that being said, I can only speak for myself and my process and share with you what goes into the costs of MY wedding collections.
NOTE: The numbers I am displaying here are estimates based on the average wedding I photographed in 2019.
Let’s break down WHAT I spend money on to create an incredible experience and wedding day for you:
01 | A second photographer
At every wedding I hire a second photographer I know and trust to help me capture your day. A second photographer is important to ensuring we get total coverage of your one and only wedding day. A quality second photographer is like having a good insurance plan, they’re present on your wedding day with extra equipment and presence in case anything happened to me. They also allow us to get coverage in two places at once to maximize your photography experience.
Hiring a quality second photographer costs between $400 – 600 for an 8 hour wedding day.
02 | An assistant
My assistant is there to help carry your dress, roll film, keep all my equipment organized so I can focus on you, get umbrellas out when it’s raining, and really anything and everything to help your day run smoothly. They are there to serve you well.
An assistant to help on your wedding day costs. ~ $150 for an 8 hour wedding day.
03 | Film and film processing
You know I LOVE film and have talked about all it’s incredible benefits and why I use it! Shooting in film does come with a cost and it’s SO worth it! To shoot in film I pay for the film itself, shipping and packaging, and the processing of the film.
I spend at minimum $1,000 for the all the film costs that go into a wedding day.
04 | Your engagement session
Engagement sessions are a key part of your photography experience for so many reasons that you can read about here and here! I include engagement sessions in all of my collections because I truly believe they make a difference on your wedding day, but they do cost money!
- Film costs for your engagement session ~ $180
- Mileage and gas (to an Atlanta session) ~ $76
05 | Heirloom products
I offer beautiful heirloom products to help get your images off your computer and into tangible products where you can really celebrate your memories! I help clients make Heirloom Wedding Albums, Matted Print Boxes, Memory Boxes, and Custom Frame Collections. Each and every one of these products is incredible, and I know that their quality and beauty are unmatched for what you can make and find on your own.
This section is highly dependent on what products we create together. Here are just a few examples of how much JUST THE MATERIALS cost to make some of these items for you to see as an example…
- 8″ x 8″ fine art 20 spread heirloom album ~$400
- 8″ x 8″ matted print box ~$200
- Small memory box filled with 5″ x 7″ prints ~$150
06 | Travel Costs (i.e. Gas, Mileage, Airfare, Lodging, etc.)
This section is highly dependent on WHERE the wedding is taking place! If a wedding is near my home I obviously spend very little on these costs, but my destination weddings will include more travel.
Here are a few travel cost breakdowns for a few of my 2019 weddings:
- $76 – mileage and gas for a downtown Atlanta, GA wedding
- $1627 – mileage, gas, and lodging for a St. Augustine, FL wedding
- $10 – mileage and gas for an Athens, GA wedding
- $800 – mileage, gas, and lodging for a Nashville, TN wedding
- $865 – mileage, gas, and lodging for a Sea Island, GA wedding
As you can see this section is dependent on location. Most of my 2019 was spent in the Southeast, but you can imagine that if you’re getting married abroad we have to consider airfare and other travel costs.
07 | Elements to enhance your wedding imagery
NOTE: I’m not putting a price on this one as I have built up a kit over time to help select elements that are perfect for your wedding day. I often will find unique elements that match your wedding aesthetic and theme to add a little extra love to your imagery and experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love offering curated styling elements for each of my clients, but it does come with a cost.
Here I’m talking about things like:
- Style boards to beautifully style all those details and incredible paper products you spent time picking out ($360)
- Ring boxes, dishes, and items to display that bling! ($150)
- Silk ribbons and styling details to help add a little extra love to your details ($400)
- Hangers to showoff your beautiful gown ($40)
- Umbrellas for your whole bridal party that are photo-worthy…just incase it rains ($200)
- Antiques ($150)
That’s ~ $1150 that I’ve invested on these items. Again, I’m not spending this PER wedding, these are items that I have invested in to make your experience great and to elevate your imagery. I’m always looking for things I can add to my styling and emergency prep kit to make sure we don’t miss a beat on your wedding day.
P.S. – I’m not going to include any of these costs into the example pricing breakdowns below, I just wanted you to see the investment in everything that goes into your wedding day.
08 | Then there are all other sorts of costs covered to ensure you have an incredible experience and beautiful images
NOTE: These are NOT all the expenses in running a business, just the things that directly impact your EXPERIENCE as a client.
Online gallery that hosts your images: $360/year
Server to backup your images: $1,200
Website host: $348/year
Equipment Maintenance: Variable
Cannon Membership: $100/year
Since I take only 15 clients or less a year to provide an incredible experience that means each client would cover ~$133 of these costs.
So after all those numbers are considered…this still doesn’t factor in the cost of my biggest asset MY TIME. These are just what it costs ME to create an incredible experience for you.
Okay, now that you’ve seen what goes into this process, let’s break all this down now with a few examples…
Let’s pretend you’re a couple getting married in Atlanta with 8 hours wedding day coverage and you get an 8×8 heirloom wedding album. This wedding day would cost me ~ $2,615 for this experience.
Let’s pretend you’re a couple getting married in Sea Island, Georgia with 8 hours wedding day coverage and you get a small memory box with prints. This wedding day would cost me ~ $3,243 for this experience.
I could go on all day with different examples BUT…
Moral of the story… you get what you pay for. Wedding photography is an investment and your memories are worth it! Invest in someone who is investing in you.
I hope this post sheds light on WHY wedding photography costs what it does, and HOW these elements ensure YOU have an incredible wedding day!
Have questions about this blog post? Leave them in the comments below! I’d be happy to answer them!