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For Brides

December 21, 2021

Why is Wedding Photography So Expensive?

just married couple touching noses in a green field in South Carolina

Look, just about anyone who has planned a wedding or talked to a recent bride (or parent of a bride) has probably thought, “why in the world is wedding photography so expensive?”

This is a question that a lot of people have actually asked us before. Sometimes it’s friends or family, or on occasion, it’s random strangers after we tell them we are wedding photographers. It’s a valid question and we get why people wonder.

Everyone’s first reaction when answering this question is, “well, it’s because it’s for a wedding. If it were photography for another event, it wouldn’t be as expensive.” After all these years, we’ve struggled to figure how to answer this part.

Why is Wedding Photography THAT Expensive?

We can only answer for ourselves and what we’ve learned in the last 8+ years of wedding photography. For us, we have a base rate per hour. So regardless of what the event is – for actual shooting hours, the price is going to be the same. It requires the same skills and same equipment (mostly), and all events and pictures require editing.

BUT obviously, weddings carry a lot more weight/pressure and moving parts that require more of us as photographers. Weddings also involve a lot more work and planning BEFORE the big day, while a corporate event or anything else doesn’t have all of the pre-planning. This might include some of these things where we, as photographers would be involved: meeting with the couple when booking, engagement photo session, bridal portrait session, sending wedding questionnaires, creating a custom wedding day timeline, emailing about logistics, editing sessions prior to the wedding day, placing print orders, etc.

Time Spent Editing

The 6 – 8 hours of coverage on the wedding day is only a small part of being a wedding photographer (but the best part). Once the pictures are OFF the camera and onto the computer, that’s when all the hard work begins. Before editing even begins, we download the images, back them up to ensure they are safe, then begin culling through the thousands of images from a wedding day to select the best ones, then begins the editing.

A single wedding day will take dozens of hours of editing to ensure that all of the images are exactly what the bride and groom asked for. We take pride in our images and ensure they match our bright and vibrant style; they are clear, crisp, and showcase every detail of the day. We never want to rush perfecting all of the photographs.

Photography Equipment Costs and Maintenance

There is no need to talk about the cost of photography equipment. As most people can imagine, camera bodies, lenses, and editing software isn’t cheap. But it also has to be maintained and upgraded.

We photograph around 15 – 20 weddings every year (previously closer to 25 weddings), and around 60-80 portrait sessions. Multiply that by 8-10 hours and about 100 images for each hour. Needless to say, that puts a lot of wear and tear on all of our equipment. Lenses need professional cleaning, parts need replacing – sometimes equipment needs replacing. Those costs can add up QUICKLY. We want to have the very best equipment possible to be able to serve our clients well.

Not to mention all of the additional business costs that come along with operating as a photographer: memory cards, sales taxes, flashes, laptops, hard drives, online gallery service, etc.

Our camera equipment is always going to be the “big” purchases, but those don’t happen every day. That being said, we try and update our equipment as often as we feel necessary to provide our clients with the best possible images. As new cameras and lenses come out, we want to ensure that we’re offering the best product possible.

Wedding Photography Expertise

This is not meant to come off as any type of bragging statement. It’s simply to state that we’ve worked in a lot of situations – some good and some bad. After photographing over 100 weddings, we have experienced many moments that have required us to think fast, provide a solution, and keep our cool while serving our couple.

A good example of this is lighting. We would love to always photograph at wedding venues that feature perfect lighting like in a studio. But that doesn’t happen very often.¬†More times than not, we are working in bridal suites that have less than perfect lighting or we are outside in a harshly lit area with no shade. Newer photographers without experience can struggle or panic in these situations. We have been educated to know how to deal with these scenarios.

Delivery / Hosting Costs

Here is a fun fact about all of our KJP couples. After your pictures are hosted, we keep a backup for you. Let’s say you downloaded all of your amazing wedding pictures and you have some printed out and everything is amazing.

Well, a year later – you’ve moved houses, you’ve bought a new computer, and you’re not sure where anything is anymore. You think, “I need to print some more pictures for our anniversary – but I don’t even know where that laptop is anymore.” You’re in luck!

We keep your whole gallery for YEARS after your wedding. If you can’t find yours, don’t worry – we’ve got your back. Your gallery is hosted online for 10 years and we also have 2 backups on external hard drives.

Why Are Wedding Photographers So Expensive?

All of this is not to justify how much any photographer charges for their services, but to help educate on the many ways we provide value to our clients.

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