Why I can’t charge $1200
Recently I saw a post on a Facebook group I am a part of that made me shake my head. Someone was asking the group to help them find a wedding photographer; they wanted a “professional photographer”, a wedding album, prints, and full day coverage. Here’s the catch: they didn’t want to pay more than $1200 for these services. I did not weigh in on the post because I could not say everything I want to on this subject in a short blurb.
Which is why I’m going to chat with you about it today on my blog!
Here’s a few big reasons why I, as a professional photographer, cannot offer my services at a discounted price.
1. I pay taxes and bills.
This may surprise a few of you: artists have to pay taxes and bills too. I am lucky to have my amazing boyfriend William bringing in some of the household income, but he does not wholly support us financially. For me to charge anything less than what I do, I would not be able to support my family or be a contributing member of society. My pricing is based on how much I need to bring in to support myself, William, and our puppy, Data. I did not wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll charge X. Sounds like a nice number”. I spent time crunching the numbers, in accordance to our household budget, to get to that number.
2. I’m not just there on wedding day.
Many brides believe that their photographer is just there on wedding day to take pictures. While this may be true of some photographers, it will never be how I work with my clients. When you are my client, I will give you my personal cell phone number. We will text, we’ll meet up for ice cream dates, we’ll email about wedding details, and I will ask you about your dog. We will connect, and that’s exactly how I want it to be. I don’t want a client relationship where I don’t know anything about you. The other thing my clients enjoy? All day wedding service. You don’t have to worry about picking from 6 hours, 8 hours or 12 hours of coverage. You get me all day. And after the wedding? I spend hours on your wedding photos to perfect them, organize them, and upload them to your online gallery.
3. I pay for continuing education and upgraded gear.
One of my favorite things about the wedding industry is the ability to continually grow as creatives and entrepreneurs. Every year, I attend photography workshops, professional photographer conferences, and meet with other entrepreneurs to learn business practices that I want to implement. It’s not free. These things are all amazing, but they cost money and they are business expenses that I must pay for, so I can grow as a photographer. Another thing I pay for each year is upgrading my equipment. This past year I added on another camera body and several new external flashes! All of these are very exciting and I love being able to give my clients an even better experience. But these costs add up very quickly, and my venues now require extensive liability insurance. Each year, I pay to have my equipment serviced and insured.
4. My time is worth more.
I can’t charge $1200 a wedding because my time is worth more. I’ve spent almost a decade photographing weddings, and something I realized is that time is fleeting and we don’t get it back. All of the time I am working at weddings and meeting clients is time I am not visiting my elderly grandparents. This is not to say I dislike my job. It’s not to say I don’t enjoy my time with my clients. It’s to say that my time is worth more than $1200 for 100+ hours of work. This leads up to my second point within this category: I only take on a limited number of clients each year. Because I believe my clients deserve my full attention and full capacity. I could charge $1200 a wedding, but I would have to do 100+ a year weddings to live, and I wouldn’t know any of my clients. I charge what I charge so that I can be my best for all of my clients.
5. I love my clients. They deserve quality.
My clients deserve high quality, and they deserve to be pampered. Planning a wedding is incredibly stressful even if you do have a wedding planner. Why are they stressful? Because wedding planning invites everyone to have an opinion. And managing expectations is a balance act that not many people are used to. My clients deserve to have a photographer who will give them vendor suggestions, help them build timelines, and send them little gifts in the mail. My clients deserve high quality service. Something I can’t do if I don’t charge what I’m worth. I have spent many hours researching wedding albums, print boxes, and fine art quality prints. Why? Because my clients want that. They want to have heirloom quality products that they can pass down to their future generations.
Wondering why a professional photograher costs so much? You get what you pay for. You are not paying me to just show up on wedding day and take some photos. You are paying me to help you create some of the best memories of your life. Memories of laughter, joy, and anticipation. Memories not colored by stress or anxiety. I can’t give you a discount for creating memories because I can’t discount acts of kindness and acts of love.
So remember this next time you have a friend, office mate, or family member complain about how much a photographer costs: You deserve better.