Thursday, January 26, 2012

The cost of doing business OR How not to hire your wedding photographer.

Recently there have been a rash of responses to a woman in Seattle seeking a wedding photographer via Craigslist. Might not be the typical way of finding a wedding photographer, but I suppose it could work...if you went about it in a sane manner, which unfortunately, she did not.

ATTN: Wedding Photographers
WHY is finding an amazing wedding photographer so difficult? :/

I am a Bride who is getting married this summer and have yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.

WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos? Oh, because no bride is going to go without so they are going to pay it, because they HAVE to. They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15 grand after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!! You’re making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic. I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand. (Thats making 19$ an hour) So you’re going to take someones WHOLE MONTH paycheck for one flippen day of photos? Just because you CAN!!?????? So that maybe they will not be able to feed themselves or pay any other bills they have, right? It makes me SICK!

I know im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot of brides out there think the same thing. & I bet all you fancy photographers wont even read this. oh-well.

Maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos.

I'm not going to write my own response, because I am not primarily a wedding photographer. I am going to share some of the better responses I have seen to this ridiculous post. And it is ridiculous. I usually try not to bad mouth anyone for their thoughts and opinions, but this woman is clearly speaking without having a knowledge base to draw from.

Kristen Booth's response is flooding facebook among my photographer contacts today, and with good reason. It get the point across in a well written manner, but it's also quite funny to read.

WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos?

Because, weddings aren’t just every other day. YOU as a bride, should know this.

I wake up the morning after every wedding, feeling like I got ran over by a train…..weddings hold a much higher level of stress than just an everyday shoot. You get one chance to capture it. You have to have the right equipment to get the job done, and not to mention backups….in case those fail. Anonymous Craigslist bride…do yourself a favor and please do not discredit your wedding day this way. The word “WEDDING” means a great deal actually. So yes, we are entitled to charge more for this highly stressful service, because it is a wedding! But it is quite silly to label this to photographers only. It goes for every wedding service! I mean unless you regularly spend hundreds of dollars on a single bouquet of flowers or $1500 for a dress?

Read Kristen's full response here. It's worth scrolling down to the comments and reading Lacy Dagerath's post there. She sent the Craigslist bride an response giving her the cost rundown of wedding photography.

Mike Picnic, editor of, has been down the Wedding photographer craigslist post rant before, and does it with a tongue in cheek response, that gets the point across without question.

I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!! You’re making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic.

Thanks for the love, can never have enough of that. Now, I’m not going to argue the $3,000.00 figure you keep because that’s somewhat dependent on where you live, you’d be lucky to find a photographer in New York City for that much and in Po-Dunk, Anywhere it might be three times the going rate, so for this we shall stick to it. We don’t hang out. We run a business. A business that has overhead, such as insurance, gear upkeep and maintenance, transportation, advertising, web design and deployment, brochures, sample books, etc. All at a cost. While most wedding photographers don’t have the overhead of an actual storefront, they still incur costs in their home / home offices such as lines for fax machines, Internet, computers, etc. Also, there is no W-2 form when you are a sole owner or LLC, this means you need to pay taxes in most states quarterly, most photographers off-load this to an accountant, an added cost. There are no paid sick days, vacation days, personal or doctor days, those are luxuries not afforded to a wedding photographer. Likewise, business hours are virtually every hour of every day. There is no show up at 8am, take lunch from 12:30-1:30 and leave at 5pm, it’s in your best interest to answer phone calls at 8pm while you’re enjoying a movie with your family or reply to emails at 1am, so the client always feels their wedding is the most important in the world.

Read Mike's response here.

Nikki Wagner's approach to answering this ridiculous add was to make a full run down of the costs involved, and fully admits that her prices probably aren't as high as they should be to be making a profit at the end of the year.

My wedding prices aren't this well thought out I'm afraid.Mine are based on number of hours shooting, number of hours editing (roughly 3-4 / hour shooting), factor in cost of hiring a second shooter if required, factor in cost of goods offered in package (albums, DVD etc, plus packaging for said), small contingency percentage, and there you have it.

So, how NOT to hire a wedding photographer - go online and complain and make broad assumptions on how much money photographers make.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sandra & Barrett get Married

It's been a while since I had a wedding to photograph. I found myself having to find a new second shooter on rather short notice for Sandra and Barrett's wedding at the beginning of July, and despite being rather nervous about it, working with Justin of Zozo Studios couldn't have gone any smoother. I am just putting the finishing touches on the Wedding package for Sandra & Barrett and thought I would share a few of the gorgeous moments from their day.

Anderson Wedding formals mosaic Anderson Wedding S&B Cake Anderson Wedding

Friday, May 6, 2011

Galleries West Review

Back in January, Quentin Randall wrote a review of my solo exhibition for Galleries West online show review section. I found out this week that it will be in the print eddition for their summer 2011 issue! That's exciting!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2 days left to show opening!

Things are starting to come together for my first solo exhibition at The Hive Artists' Hub. Posters and postcards have been distributed, I've posted the event on facebook, and it was even featured on Art Rubicon. I have all the pieces hung in the gallery and just need to add the signage and finishing details to be ready for opening night on Friday. If you're local to Medicine Hat, look for me on Chat news either tonight or tomorrow (I'm not sure when it will be airing) as I was interviewed this morning for a piece on the arts and culture minister.

Hope to see you at the opening Friday night!

On another note, I will not be taking anymore bookings for the week following my show, sorry.

Monday, November 29, 2010

UNDER THE INFLUENCE - Susan Knight Solo Exhibition

I am excited and proud to present my first solo exhibition:

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday December 10, 2010 7:00-10:00pm
Regular hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00, Sat 12:00-5:00

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Erin Farrell, a professional photographer in Delaware, recently wrote a refreshingly eloquent rebuttle to the "Your camera takes really nice photos" comment.

Imagine that you’re baking dessert for a party. It’s your special recipe: the one everyone asks for. You make it from scratch, of course, never looking at the recipe that you committed to memory so long ago. Sugar, beaten eggs, sift in the flour… you’re crafting something delicious from basic elements. Now you’re at the party and everyone is gushing about your dessert. The flavor! The texture! But most of all you’re being asked, “what kind of oven do you have? It makes great cakes!”

That’s pretty much how a photographer feels when people look at their photos and say, “your camera takes great pictures.”

She goes on to explain here experiment using her camera and a non-professional behind the lens, vs. herself taking photos with the same model in the same location. A very interesting article. Read her whole blog post here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

2010 Visual Arts Show

I just finished putting together my submission for this year's Visual Arts Show at the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede. All three are available to purchase as prints in my Etsy shop!

Motor Mouthing Off

Rum Runner

1937 Hudson Terraplane