Monday, August 9, 2010

I am worth it! (and you are too): Why what I charge is not too much

The further I get into my photography business, the more I realize how hard it is.  Photography is a unique business.  Whereas many businesses are selling a product, photography is selling your heart and soul.  At least that's what it feels like.  Every photo I create is a work of art that has ME written all over it.  When people decide not to go with my business sometimes it hurts, because they're not rejecting just a product, they're rejecting the work that I have poured my soul into.  I'm sure any photographer or artist knows what I'm talking about.  The worst part is when they say it just costs too much.  I understand budgets, and I am a penny-pincher myself, but it just bothers me when people don't realize what a deal I am giving them.  I recently got an email from a bride that said that my prices are really good compared to other photographers at my level.  Then I've had other brides that decided that my prices were too much, because they could have someone else do it for free.  The problem with that is, you get what you pay for.  It's well-accepted in other areas, but for some reason some people think that anyone can do photography.  And maybe someone can take ok pictures on an overcast day outdoors... but professionals can handle any crazy lighting situation you throw at them, and make it come out great.
About random relatives (who are not professionals) doing your photography, this has been said: "Family members have not spoken to each other for years and long-time friendships have been irretrievably broken over botched attempts at it.  Wedding photographs are intended to be treasured for a lifetime...  It's not simple, it's not for the faint of heart, and it's hard work." ( While this article is way outdated in some respects, this quote still applies.)
 So why is a photographer who charges what I do an affordable photographer?  It's still hundreds of dollars for just one day of work, right?  Actually, no.  There are so many costs to a photographer, that honestly my prices would never keep me afloat if I were the sole provider for our home.  It takes me a very long time to save up enough for just one piece of equipment, which is a big part of my business expenses.  For example, the next lens I want (just one lens of many I'd like to have) is well over $2,000.  Add in the costs of websites, file storage & backup, traveling, etc. and you've got alot of money going out of my bank account.
And that's not even mentioning how much time it takes me from when I first start talking to a client to the time all of the photos are sent off and the prints are all made.  For every hour of shooting it usually takes a good 3 hours of editing, sorting, backing up, and preparing the images.  If I price it out, I'm earning less than minimum wage.  Which makes it seem ridiculous when people think that what photographers at my price level charge is too much.  See more about this at
Plus, a wedding is something that happens once, and then it's gone forever.  You can't have your exact same wedding ever again.  Are you really going to trust your once-in-a-lifetime day to someone who doesn't really know what they're doing?  When brides are surveyed about what they wish they had spent more on, the answer is almost always photography.  You can spend all you want on flowers, dress, cake, etc, but if you don't have a professional photographer who knows how to perfectly capture those details, then it was kind of pointless to spend the money on them in the first place.  No one is going to remember much about your wedding except for what they see in pictures.  Professionals know how to capture the unique emotion of your day and display it exactly as it was.  You deserve for this one day in your life to have your precious memories recorded beautifully.  In a few years it won't matter very much how much money you spent on your photography, but what will matter is how much you will love looking through beautiful photographs of you and your spouse on probably the most important day of your life.  These photos become family heirlooms and maybe someday your grandkids and great-grandkids will get to see how happy and glowing you two looked on your wedding day. 
I feel like this is kind of a jumble, but it's been swirling around my head for weeks now, and it's about time I let it out.  In summary, I am worth what I charge and more, and you are worth the money it takes to get professional photos on your wedding day! 

PS, a sneak peak of Wil & Kim's wedding... Yes, this photo was worth more than what they paid for it :)

1 comment:

Melanie and Jake said...

I agree with you Amanda! Good wedding pictures are worth them money. They are all you have left of the big day. I love you pictures too! You are talented!