If you’re experiencing sticker shock from a wedding photographer’s quote, today’s guest post by Holly of Holly Von Lanken Photography is for you! Read on to learn why photographers charge what they do:

I asked myself that same question after starting to take photography more seriously, but as soon as I started attending workshops and legitimizing my business, in addition to honing my craft, I quickly realized why the wonderful world of photography can be so expensive, but also why it’s worth it.

Before I even booked my first wedding, I was attending business and photography workshops. The speakers always gave tips and advice and the phrase “and it’s only like a hundred dollars!” became repetitive. However, when you add up all those “it’s only like a hundred dollars” it starts to get very pricey. Here is a list I’ve compiled of all the types of expenses that wedding photographers incur and why what you’re paying them is legitimate and maybe even a steal.

Read the full post after the cut!

1.  Equipment

Photography equipment itself can range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars for professional equipment. As a wedding photographer, one must have a backup of EVERYTHING to ensure that there are no mishaps on someone’s big day. For myself, I have at least two of everything.

2.  Insurance and other business expenses

A photographer has all of this expensive equipment, which means they probably also have insurance on it. With weddings comes much liability. Professional wedding photographers have insurance for their equipment as well as their businesses. You never know if a drunk guest is going to stumble and knock your camera out of your hand or spill their drink on it. Professional businesses also operate legally meaning paying taxes in addition to the cost of business licences, etc.

3. Professional Learning 

Remember those workshops and conferences I mentioned? They don’t come cheap either. Some can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. However, it’s important for creative business owners to continually be learning – not just about photography, but also about how to run a business successfully and legally.

4. All the little things

Everything costs something – websites, packaging, shipping said packages, client gifts, paying second shooters, professional memberships and business management systems. Travel expenses and even babysitters can also incur for photographers on a wedding day. Other small costs come about from normal office expenses, advertising, repairs, phones, online galleries, treating clients to coffee or lunch, domain names, branding and the list could go on and on. If the photographer shoots film, the list is even longer.

5.  Cost of living

This list of expenses does not even begin to touch on the life expenses that a full time photographer needs to keep up with. For example, groceries, rent/ mortgage, and utility bills are expenses we all have. Odds are, average costs of wedding photographers may be higher for a photographer in the city as opposed to one in a remote area.

These five reasons should speak for themselves, but you may have forgotten that there is also the cost for the photographer’s time and talent. This isn’t a job that just anyone can do and be successful. Hopefully, the main reason you are hiring your photographer is because you appreciate their personality, stylistic approach to photography, and the excellent customer service they offer. Your wedding photos will be the only thing that lasts once the day is done. These should be images that captured your wedding day fully so that you can look back often and remember what a special day it was.

Holly Von Lanken is an Atlanta, Georgia based wedding photographer who strives to fully capture a wedding day in an organic and natural style with a photojournalistic approach to photography.

To learn more about Holly Von Lanken Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website. Do you have any questions or comments for Holly? Add them to the comments below!