Happy Tuesday, Internet!

I hope that you all had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend! We went camping. Yes, I know that this is like going out partying on New Years Eve – amateurs, right? But we had a blast. And the nice thing about camping when it’s crowded is that Kaden has LOTS of other kids to play with!

With yesterday being a holiday we’re missing another week of Manic Monday. So be warned, next week might have LOTS of randomness because I’ve been keeping it in!

I wanted to share something with you all that a photographer friend of mine wrote. Heather Lilly is a photographer here in Colorado, and is just an awesome person too. I met her for the first time a couple of months ago and instantly liked her! It doesn’t hurt that she has a gorgeous baby boy too, and is an awesome mom!

Heather wrote something on her blog awhile back about the true cost of professional photography. It’s really easy for someone who doesn’t have their own business to look at a price for a service, and think, “wow that’s overpriced!” Or something like “wow they make a lot of money!” Any small business person will tell you that’s not the case at ALL. Heather broke it down, you can read the full article here.

I think the big thing that most people don’t realize is the amount of TIME that goes into this. It’s not about taking the photo, pulling it off of the memory card, and voila! You have a photo. It doesn’t work that way. There are hours upon hours of culling and editing, correcting, submission, making sure that your wedding vendors get their photos without bothering the bride and groom, and so many other things that go into it!

Here’s a quick example:

$2,000 for a wedding:

  • Taxes 30%  $     600.00
  • Overhead 30%  $     600.00
  • Equipment Savings 10%  $     200.00
  • Retirement 10%  $     200.00
  • College Fund (or Vacation Fund) 10%  $     200.00
  • Owner’s Draw 10%  $     200.00

Even when you lump Retirement, College Fund (or Vacation Fund) and Owner’s Draw into ONE category, that is $600 for a $2,000 wedding.

If you are doing the math and thinking, Heather: stop complaining! $600 / 8 hours of shooting = $75 per hour…. erase that concept from your mind!

There’s countless behind-the-scene hours that go into a wedding. I don’t just say that to make it sound like “so much work” goes into what I do, so I can charge more.  It’s completely and totally legit.  I tend to invest 60 hours of time in one wedding (start to finish: i.e. consultation, engagement portraits, travel, preparation, wedding, editing, album design, etc.). Most of that time is editing each image, but that’s my style and business model.

So, if you confirm that math $600 / 60 hours = $10 per hour.

And for every $30 dollars of that, I’m not even touching $20 (into 401K and college fund it goes…)

It really is interesting how much photographers REALLY make. Let’s be frank here, most photographers probably aren’t in the field for the money. There are some that are super successful, but a lot of times they make most of their income leveraging something to sell to other photographers!

Next time you see a price for a family package, or a wedding package, and think that it’s too much… think about the breakdown. Think about the value. Oh MY is this true for weddings. You don’t get those moments back, there are no re-dos on a wedding day! Choose someone you trust, even if you have to pay more. And chances are, for someone that is really good, you will have to pay more. But ten years from now when you’re still looking at your album and reliving those memories over and over again, it will be worth it.

Someone said something recently that stuck with me, regarding cheaper packages that included albums vs. more expensive packages without the album – What good is the album if you don’t like any of the photos that are in it?

Don’t just think about cost, think about value. Think about your investment, and what it will mean to you in the future.

Happy Tuesday everyone, Wedding Wednesday will resume its normally scheduled time tomorrow! :)