Appreciate the cost of wedding photography

10 11 2010

It is a wonder wedding Photographers get up in the morning with so many half-wits butting in on wedding photography to offer a unsustainable business model, for brides surely this means if a low cost cheap wedding photographer offers a cost that is a “steal” they will be out of business even before they get to print your album?

We of course we have all heard about the bride and grooms who have not had their wedding albums or the photographer is bankrupt or the job that the so called professional was so bad they cried for weeks after the photographer wrecked the wedding and their memories are ruined. But is it a case of you get what you paid for?

those out of work people who are quick to see where they can make a buck over their dole Giro from a weekends work of quick snap and go to Asda for the wedding prints, they  are all over wedding photography and I would guess more than 50% of the wedding photographers you will find are up to it. 

Let set aside the buying and selling points of wedding photography and the professional photographer from the weekend uncle bobs who offer mediocre performance and quality work to work out the costs of real wedding photography, let us see if you’re willing to pay the costs the real wedding photography. I have made this very simple for those wishing to check the prices themselves with the links  next to the information, so that you can see the real world costs of your wedding photographer and photography.

We will start with the cost of Camera hire. as many people who hire photographers forget, cameras are not free and must be purchased. Professional Cameras also need Len’s to make use of the cameras body which are two separate things. Of course we should have TWO of the camera bodies just in case anything happens and we cant stop the wedding to wait for a replacement.

£127.66  http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=158

Of course a Camera isn’t any good without lenses and they are everything when it comes to quality and style.

£38.00 fish eye http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=198

£21.28 Close up macro lens http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=228

£23.83 Wide angle lens http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=208

£26.38 Long lens http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=213

£17.87 Flash http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=228

Basic kit cost so far: £356.00

We will then need:

Memory cards to store the photos and some  lighting

£4.26 8 Gig CF and we will need a few to cover the day: we will have 5 of these (£21.00) http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=252

£45.00 Portable lighting kit http://www.hireacamera.com/cameras/detail.asp?model=233

 A portable lighting kit is ideal for those weddings where it may rain and the photo shoot has to take place indoors.

Of course we need to have the right insurance to cover both the photographer and the wedding in the event something should go wrong:

http://www.photoguard.co.uk/home.asp?promCode= its about £17.80

https://www.jltonline.co.uk/secure/quote.asp?product=Indemnity&promCode=&transid=16318928 £204.00

This is correct, there are two types of insurance that a photographer needs to have, with £5million pounds cover the photographer can work and be covered in a number of venues and areas, these are broken down to public and professional liability.

We also need to get to the wedding: Car hire from the Friday to the Sunday so that the car is ready loaded on the morning of the wedding and can be returned the following morning after the wedding.
Often overlooked by wedding clients and anyone else, cars are not free and nor is the day today running costs and maintenance costs.

 £78.00 http://www.europcar.co.uk/DotcarClient/step2.action

We also need fuel £15.00

The concurrent costs are now £736.80

Wages

We then need to pay the photographer who will not work for free for you because you have a nice smile and they have bills to pay, I’m sure you wouldn’t go to work all week for free, or would you?

£15.00 per hour, is a good rate of pay for a professional that is an expert in their Field of work, Car mechanics are paid around £45.00 and shelf stacker’s are paid around £6.80 per hour,   on the basis that they could be booked all day regardless if a client is booking half a day or not we need to cover the costs.

From 08:00 – 22:00 is 14 hours and covers many of the wedding preparations and the disco later on in the evening reception, this wage amounts to £210.00

We also want a second photographer and assistant thats £6.80 x14 hours £95.20

For those who would say we can do away with the assistant, please come to visit to hold my camera bag for twenty minutes, most people struggle holding the camera for 2 minutes. yes there is a weight to be carrying for 14 hours, plus I’m sure that you are aware that you would want a photographer taking photo’s not moving equipment around all day.

Total wages for the day costs £305.20

Retouching and post production

When the wedding day is over the photographer need to make your images stunning before making the on-line gallery for you to select your photos. Most photographs from Pro SLR cameras is never spot on and as you may notice from your cameras, lighting changes so the images have to be balanced so that they look even though the album.

Typically this post production work  is around 3 times the time that the photographer was hired taking the photos. This would amount to around 42 hours we will reduce the rate of pay to £10.00 for the professional job they do giving you a total cost of £420.00

They need a computer to do this post production and an Internet connection as well as a hosting site for the gallery. So we need to factor these costs into the wedding photographer’s costs:

Computer and monitor £48.00 http://www.the-it-zone.co.uk/pc-hire.htm

keyboard and mouse £16.00

Internet £17.99

A telephone line also costs £11.50

Hosting and domain £55.00

These of course run off electricity and therefore would cost around £10.00 to run.

The Total IT costs are then: £158.49

Dealing with orders and albums

Once your wedding gallery is on-line you may wish to order an album, at cost (what the photographer pays) a good album on average costs £300.00

They of course do not magic themselves together and though has to go into the layout of the album, this is called design work and takes around 20 hours, we will use the same rate of £10.00 per hour so that gives us a total of £200.00

As you would want the album shipped to you  and be covered by insurance just in case it is lost or damaged this adds another £18.60

This brings the total album cost to £518.60

Adding it all up.

The wedding day £736.80

The wages on the day costs £305.20

Post production and album £1,097.09

Wedding total cost £2,139.09

 Less – Marketing and advertising costs as well as National insurance and Income tax payments.

Capitalist wedding photography verses communist wedding photography

As we live in the UK we are a capitalist society meaning that a business should make a profit, this makes perfect sense that any business should make a healthy return, this works out as: money into the pockets of investors, or money returned into the business to make the business grow. The communist business would be to charge just as much as it costs to do the work. However we don’t live in that world and so 25%  should be added. And with income tax, National Insurance payment being liable to the photographer which equals around 21%, you will soon see that this adds 46% to the total costs.

Just so that you can follow this, so you know this is not made up, take your wages before deductions and take off 21%, you will find that this is about correct. also in consideration that there is no employer for the photographer there is no sick pay or maternity pay, and also no guarantee of work each and every two weeks.

If we look at the wages – which is the actual money the photographer sees, and take into account that there are 52 weeks in the year, they may be ill for two weeks and go on holiday for two weeks this gives us 48 weeks, divide that by two to give us the maximum clients the annual wage for the photographer would be

£630.00 per wedding x 48  = £15,120 Less tax and National insurance.(£11,994.80)

Of course these figures are based on a photographer being able to sell all 24 weddings each year, and with competition growing many photographers fail to reach 15 weddings each year. It is these photographers that go out of business and simply cannot afford to live. incidental 15 weddings a year is £9,450.00.

Being unemployed living in a family home would net £12,162.00+, so as you can see the photographer is marginally above the poverty line working at these rates that I have stated.

 So, now you see the real rates and costs of wedding photography and can appreciate the work, time and costs of wedding photography, needless to say these figures are firmly based on factual figures of the world we live in and everyone has the need to live and enjoy life.

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