Setting Your Wedding Photography Prices
Deciding how much you're gonna charge as a wedding photographer is hard. There's no real right answer. And I get this question all the time from people who are trying to decide how they should charge for themselves as wedding photographers and as just photographers in general. So the method that I've been using, I've sort of developed over the last 15 to 20 years. But the first thing you have to think about is where you are in the world. It's gonna be different. Um pricing kind of wherever you are in the world, in a big giant city versus a small town versus another country. Wedding prices and photographer prices will vary and they will fluctuate from town to town, from country to country, from state to state. So the best thing to start with is to go and research local photographers in your area and figure out how much they are actually charging. Keep that in the back of your head. So that when we get to that final number for your wedding packages, we can kind of compare and contrast an...
d see where you are at versus where they may be at and how much you're charging versus what they're charging. They may have been in the business for 10 to 20 years and their prices are very high. And after we do our conversion in our formula, if your prices are coming in and you're just starting out and they're the same price as someone's been 20 doing it for 20 years. We may want to change and adjust that based on where you're at in your photography journey to figure out how much you should charge as a wedding photographer. Let's think about how much you would like to get paid by the hour. Now, keep in mind, are you doing this as a side hustle? Are you doing this in conjunction with another business or your another job or is this going to be your full time job hands down because that will determine how you want to start getting paid and how you will grow. I do two hourly rates when I'm figuring out how much I can charge as a wedding photographer. And we're going to apply these to our packages that we just talked about in the last lecture. So let's talk about a photography rate and then that means actively in the field, taking photos. How much you're getting paid an hour and an editing rate. How much are you getting paid by the hour to edit your photos? Now, these are the two main things that you're going to be charging for during a wedding. Keeping that in mind if you're a full time photographer, there are a ton of other things that you're doing to run your business. You're just not actively getting paid for those things. Those are things like taking meetings all week with potential uh, grooms and brides. Those are answering emails, those are going to educational lectures, those are looking and, and researching equipment, those are developing. But for yourself, they are running the accounting from your business. There are so many things that we as photographers and we photographers that are doing on a weekly basis and a daily basis that you're not actually getting actively paid for. So you have to think about that. When you're pricing out your wedding packages, you want to make sure that you're making enough money that doing all the other admin things is worth it. So again, starting with your hourly rate for these two things that's photographing and editing. I've seen hourly rates from $20 to $ plus an hour. Now I'm personally, so, you know, so you can gauge I am personally at 300 to $350 an hour for my extra hours in my wedding photography. Now, that's kind of an average to maybe a tiny bit above average in payment. Um And if you were to be knocking out weddings constantly every weekend, I could live off that consistently. But let's just for the sake of argument, let's start with round numbers and let's start on the lower end. Let's say, I don't know, we want to be making $40 an hour for when we're shooting weddings. Now, that's a really good place to start. And it might sound incredibly extreme if you're used to minimum wage in some parts of the world. $40 an hour actually does sound like a lot. Um, but when you start to add in all those things you're doing during the week and you're only shooting one wedding a week. It's not really that much. Let's do the math, $40 an hour. Let's take our second package, our six hour package. We will be shooting for six hours. We will be getting paid $40 an hour that comes out to $240. You just made $240 for running around taking photos for six hours. That's fine. That's ok. That's an ok amount of money. Now, how many photos did we decide we were going to deliver on our six hour package? We said we were going to deliver about 100 and photos. Plus, how long do you think it would take you to edit those photos? That's gonna vary as well. Right. I can edit that many photos probably a lot faster than someone who just started editing that many photos. But let's just cut our rate in half. Right. We're sitting at a desk, we're running through things instead of the $40 an hour for, for uh photography. We are going to take that in half and call it $ an hour for taking photos. Now, how long do you think that'll take us? That'll probably take us about eight hours, like a full day of work to edit down to and 50 photos that we took for six hours, $20 an hour, eight hours. That is 100 and $60 total for editing. So we've made $240 shooting the wedding. We've made 100 and $60 editing the wedding. That is a total of $400 that you have made for one Saturday wedding, two days of work shooting and editing $400. Not a ton of money. I mean, it, it is a ton of money to a lot of people. But if you start to add this up over time, if you were to shoot a wedding every weekend for the entire year and only made $400 you'd maybe be only working two days a week, but you would not be making a very big salary uh to live off of. And that's when you start thinking about, ok, I'm working two days a week on just the wedding aspect of it. But the other five days I need to be working on the admin the account and getting more clients and you probably should be taking two days off. So this is really not that much money when you get down to it. And that's where we start with the hourly rate. So let's go through the math all the way again. And let's pump our rate up higher. Let's pump our rate up to $200 an hour. And I know that sounds wild like I'm not gonna go into a fast food joint or a restaurant and ask to be paid $200 an hour. That is just ridiculous. But this is where we earn our money. We earn our money from one client one time a week. So that money has to add up to the rest of the work for the week. $ an hour to stretch out over a week of admin and stuff really isn't that bad. So $200 an hour, let's take our same wedding. We are shooting a six hour wedding. Now we're making $200 an hour. We are pulling in a total of $1200 for that day of photographing a wedding. That to me is way more realistic and it may be a little bit higher than what you feel like you can charge with new clients as you're starting out. But it should be a goal that you are working towards as you're starting out. $200 an hour is excellent place to start. And if you can start at 100 or 150 or 75 even build yourself up to 200 as soon as you possibly can. $200 an hour, six hours of wedding photographing that pulls you in at $1200. We're gonna split the editing time in half at $100 an hour. And again, how long is it gonna take us to do that? It's gonna take us eight hours to edit all those photos. The hours haven't changed just the value that you are putting on yourself and the education that you have, the investment that you've done in your business and your equipment, you are worth it. So, editing at $100 an hour, eight hours, that's $800 plus the shooting we've decided was $1200. We have now made for two days of work shooting the wedding, editing the waiting. It is a $2000 package. You have made $2000 on a six hour 150 image package. $2000 a week. If you start shooting a wedding every week, not that you would every year, but that is a much higher salary that you could live off of. Especially if you start to shoot two weddings a week or you up your hourly price or they add on more hours plus your six hours or you get like a 10 hour wedding. This is the type of number that you can live off of. So again, rewind all the way down. $40 an hour is not gonna get you much compared to the amount of work that you're doing. The work is always going to be the same when you're out there shooting a wedding. You are going to be hustling, you are going to be running around. You're going to be taking all your photographic knowledge and applying it creatively helping the couple feel great about themselves and their day nothing is gonna change versus your hourly rate. The only thing that's gonna change is how much you're charging. So find the value in yourself because it is a lot. It is not just snapping a photo. It is your knowledge of what's happening today, how you're treating your business and the people around you, your photographic experience, the amount of time that you spent into the education and learning how to photograph. Not to mention all the money that you've poured into your equipment, your lenses, your really cool backpack, all that stuff is worth your hourly rate and make sure that you find an hourly rate that is worth your time and your effort and you feel good about it.