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Advice for Brides: Why Good Wedding Photographers are Expensive

Wedding Photography Advice for Brides from Michael Chadwick Photography

The following is an actual Craigslist post by an upset bride…

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 charge 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 that’s worth 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 I’m speaking for more than just myself right now. A lot 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!”


This post upset a lot of professional and even hobbyist wedding photographers, and with good reason.  Many have written about it of late, but I want to put my own two cents in here. I’m not going to bore you with a list of all the costs I have running a professional photography business.  Just some of those costs include advertising, rent on my studio space, the expensive equipment I own and maintain, the self-employment taxes I pay, paying team members (if applicable), and many other costs. I’m not even going to bore you will all of the details about how much time I spend meeting with you, shooting the wedding, and editing your photographs. I’m just going to say one simple thing:

You get what you pay for.

Hiring a professional photographer buys you many years of experience, expertise, and artistry on a day which you cannot do over. It gets you someone who knows how to deal with adverse lighting conditions, running traffic and troubleshooting on the spot to make sure your day goes smoothly.  It buys you customer service which has won awards year after year from the industry’s top publications. It buys you a professional photographer who will be responsible for capturing one of the most important days of your life, in photographs you will be holding onto your entire life and possibly passing along to generations which will follow you.

If you feel paying market rates for such expertise, experience, and artistry is unreasonable, you are welcome to let Uncle Bob and his shiny new DSLR give it a shot.  It’s just a camera, right?  Buying a new basketball doesn’t make you LeBron James. Or, you are welcome to hire a photographer off of Craigslist who probably just decided one day they were going to shoot someone’s wedding, without having any knowledge of what is entailed in doing it properly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So, before you complain too much about the amounts your wedding vendors are asking for, try to keep the following in mind:  Those numbers are not arbitrarily inflated.  There is a lot of competition out there, and if the value of the services wedding vendors offer are not worth what they are asking, the price point would not be supportable and they would not continue to get business.  Weddings are a high-stress, high-performance job.  Professional athletes make millions of dollars because they are expected to perform at the highest of levels.  Yet, they make mistakes all the time and no one bats an eye.  If we make a mistake at your wedding, it has a much greater impact on your wedding day and perhaps even your life.

Do you still think we’re asking too much? If so, I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your bargain basement vendors. You’re going to need it.