Friday, February 5, 2010

My post to another bride bloging about photographers.

Hello once again. It seems like I post only when I hear about people who comment about photographers and our industry with out really thinking about what they are saying. Jess Remeay ( Posted on her blog her thoughts about wedding photographers. A good discussion does follow so it is worth checking her out. Below is my response to her blog that Photographers = Brain Surgeons. Let me know what you think.

Just some quick simple math.

Photogrpaher charging $10,000 per wedding. 30 weddings a year = $300,000. High end photographer = more expenses (staff, advertising, office) average expenses $100,000 yr. Proift $200,000 per year. Time per wedding 35 hrs = 1050 hrs. Tax Bracket 50% (federal, state/prov., city) $100,000 income after taxes Average Hourly wage $95.24.

Photographer charging $2000 per wedding 30 weddings a year = $60,000. Mid range photographer less over head (no staff, less advertising) average expenses $25,000Profit = $35,000 per year. Time per wedding 45 hr (has to do everything themselves) 1350 hrs.Tax bracket 30% + $10,500 $24,500 income after taxes. Average hourly wage = $18.14

Shoot and Scoot Photographer $500 per wedding. 30 weddings a year = $15,000 Average expenses $5,000 Profit = $10,000 Time per wedding 15hrs (few extras just burn and give) = 450 hrs Tax bracket 0% (close to poverty line on income scale) Average hourly wage = $22.22 hr.

I don't think any of these rates = Brain Surgeon hourly wage. Also who do you think will still be in business a few years. Which one is going to give you more service and enthusiasm. Who is going to be fresher on wedding 29 of the year? (Tip to brides hiring Shoot and scoot get married at the start of wedding season). Just some things to think about.


  1. Very good post, Patrick. Having read Jess's comments about her trip to the bridal show and some of the comments made I know if she phoned me to do her wedding I would be "busy". It will be very interesting to see who she hires, how much she pays, and if she is happy with the images after. I just had a booth at a bridal show last weekend. In a town of 20,000+ there were 14 photogs with booths there, most of us charging about the same for all day coverage so when a bride goes to choose a photographer it will be because of style and not price which is how it should be.

  2. Funny you did this, Patrick - I made almost the exact same conclusion on a spreadsheet to share in my workshop in May. I think the only thing that makes me more frustrated than the idea of it somehow being dishonourable to make $10/hour (like all those people selling/servicing your photography equipment, processing your images, managing your virtual back-up systems, and doing the oil change on the car that gets you to your next shoot, etc.) is the idea of price-fixing. We piss and moan when the oil and gas companies do it, but what if all the printing companies out there got together and decided to start charging us $1 per 4x6, except for the rogue who still turns a comfortable profit selling the same quality of product and service to us for a quarter. Who are YOU going to use? While there are those who like to pay more so they can name drop, unless you are one of the 1% of the population that is the grown child of an independently wealthy person doesn't have to worry about racking up the credit card each and every day, at some point common sense ought to kick in.

    I'm of the mind that professionalism is (and should be) a part of your style and isn't (and shouldn't) be dictated by how much you charge. How much you charge is dictated by how much money you want or need to make, period. Low overhead equals passing savings on to your client, and if your client is in the 'wrong' income bracket to afford the $10K photographer we would have to devalue the validity of their right to have beautiful wedding photos if we all charged the exact same high price.

    I find it funny that photographers talk about how much time is spent doing administrative tasks, but I'm curious how much of your admin time is spent going on photography forums and blogs complaining about cheap brides and cheaper photographers? Is that an overhead expense you pass along to your clients? I certainly don't. Forums and boondoggles are entertainment, not business expenses. If we as a profession spent less time worrying about the cheapies and chatting up other photographers, and more time focussing on work, imagine the time and financial savings to be had... hrmmm...

    When it's all said and done, my favourite motto is still this:

    Shut up and shoot.