Pictures & Video

September 7, 2011  |  Wedding Tips

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’ve heard countless times brides say photographers get paid WAAY to much for one day of work. Let’s look at what actually goes into that pricing. Likewise, many of these aspects apply to videographers as well.


1. This is pretty self-explanatory, but besides the hours actually spent with you on the wedding day, photographers have two big jobs before and after. First, they must get all their gear together, making sure everything is in tiptop shape. Then at the end of the night, they must back up their images. Many photographers take this very seriously. They understand that your trusting them to have not only take great images, but to protect them. Anything can happen. Memory cards can be erased, lost or stolen. A good photographer has a plan for this.

2. Most photographers charge extra if you would like them to stay longer, on average ($250 an additional hour).  Keep in mind, if they are shooting every Saturday and many Fridays, they could potentially have each couple ask them to stay later than planned. At some point, it became important to them to protect that time so they had to charge for that.  As a wedding planner who works up to half the Saturdays of my year, I have utmost respect for those photographers who give up EVERY Saturday. Part of what goes into the price is factoring in what makes it worth it to these photographers to be away from their husbands or wives or kids every Saturday.


1. After your photos have backed up, they cull through on average of 1,000 images to select, on average 600 final images. Through this process, they delete any photos that are blurry, unfocused or awkward. With the final images, they then edit them. This process is different for all photographers but for the most part involves color correcting. EACH image is individually looked at. These are normally not heavy edits, like removing tan lines or wrinkles.

2. So what about the actual products?

– Prints – When they sale prints, the price for one 8X10 may be $50. What are you paying for? For a photographer, this is their art. If you are purchasing a print from the photographer, the quality paper and ink used is top of the line. They didn’t print your photo for $2 at Wal-Mart. They sent it off to a lab that specializes in it. We’ve got a print from our wedding that Jason printed. The quality is AMAZING and far outweighs my Wal-Mart pics. It’s not always feasible to print every image with your photographer but I do recommend getting a handful for keepsakes of this higher quality.

– Hi-Res Disc – This is a disc with all the final images from your wedding. The price for this disc seems pretty steep considering blank discs cost about $.10 these days. What are you paying for? For the most part, you are paying for the actual value it holds for the client AND the photographer. The client knows with this disc, they are able to print as many copies as they like on their own. And the photographer knows offering this disc means a much smaller print order, if any, cutting out part of their profit.

– Albums – Albums can easily cost as much as $1,000. What are you paying for? It seems like a lot, right? You’re paying for a product that has some sort of longevity. Photographers understand this is what you will pass down to you kids. No, it won’t be the images on facebook. That means it has to be high quality to keep its condition for years to come. Also, we’re not talking a generic coffee table book. Your wedding album is custom designed by your photographer and can take months to create. Depending on rounds of revisions, this process normally takes many hours.

– Video – The editing process can be a lengthy one. If you are getting a highlight reel, the best moments of the day are literally put together for you. To get these moments all in one nice place, the videographer must look through the full hours of film. If their coverage is 7 hours, that means a minimum of 20 hours editing.


1. Of course, on top of all this, is being available to answer all your questions! They can give tips on what outfits to wear for your engagements or great location spots for your bridals. If a photographer has booked 30-40 weddings a year, they are potentially emailing with that many brides at any one time. As well as shooting as many as three shoots (engagements, bridals, newlyweds) for each couple.

2. What about those fancy cameras? Depending on the number of lenses, lighting mechanisms and gadgets, many photographers have a minimum of $10,000 dollars worth of equipment they have invested in to capture your moments.


Brides, there is normally a sliding scale to keep in mind. I can’t speak for everyone BUT from what I have seen, the more you pay for a vendor correlates with the attention you can expect from them. Vendors in general have two options: charge very little, but book a mass of weddings or charge higher fees and limit their number of bookings. You may score on the price but in order for a vendor to make a living, the trade off may be the time, efficiency or quickness given. Likewise, paying more for some of these photographers that limit their bookings could mean easier access and attention to your wedding.


Brides, don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure you ARE getting your money’s worth. A few questions to ask:

How do you back up you photos?

What type of equipment do you use?

What is your fee for extra hours? Is it more if decided the day of the wedding?

And look at their album options! These can vary greatly and you want to make sure if the price is high, the quality is too!

Check out Pinterest for the sources of some of my favorite recent images.

1 Comment

  1. Love this! Thank you so much for explaining this. Sometimes its hard for a bride to understand these explanations when I (the photographer) am the one explaining it. I think its easier to understand when it comes from a different vendor who can appreciate all the time and effort that is put into each detail for each and every client!


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