How on Earth do you Price Wedding Photography?

Sometime in the next 10 years or so I am going to need to find a pile of cash to pay for good wedding photography for my children. It is very expensive since it is a highly specialized skillset. Back in the Manitoba Chapter of the Professional Photographer of Canada we used to talk about pricing.

We talked about pricing at almost every meeting. One of the presenters compared us to trades. How much does a Red Seal plumber make? On average $22/hr. He decided that he had equivalent training time, training difficulty and practice, apprenticing, etc. to someone who was a Red Seal plumber.

Then he broke down the amount of time including consultations that he would spend at a wedding – 1hr consultation, 1 hr creation time shooting engagement photo, 2 hours editing and retouching, 1 hr presentation and image selection with the couple, 2 hr creating engagement book or framing the enlargement, 1 hr delivery. 1 hr pre-wedding checkin, 12 hours wedding creation time, 24 hours editing and retouching, 1 hour presentation time with the couple, 5 hours in book design, sizing and editing, 1 hour framing enlargement, 1 hour delivery. Equals 51 hours on an average wedding. That comes to $1100. Plus paying the second shooter $600, frames $500 (average), custom books $800 (average) = $3000, and that is for someone who rates their artistic talent, people skills, social appropriateness and problem solving at the same level as a plumber.

That is a rough idea of how it is priced. Out of the photographer’s plumber-like wages he also pays for insurance, PPOC memberships, conferences, on-going training, studio lighting, backdrops, cameras, upkeep of all equipment and functioning vehicle. Sometimes he will also have a family and be the primary wage earner for the family.

So hooray for plumbers! I had a leak somewhere in the wall in my basement and I certainly didn’t trust myself to dig around and try to fix it. I would never begrudge my plumber of his $22/hr. Sometimes you have a job that only a pro can do. If you are like myself and see some big jobs coming on the horizon, best to start saving up now.

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