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Why do wedding photographers charge so much?

Updated: Aug 6, 2022

We know wedding photography is expensive. (Let us explain why)

As we all know (eye roll), inflation has increased by 9.06% in 2022 alone ( Unfortunately, it is even higher in Atlanta where we our team is located. While I know your wallets are hurting, ours are bleeding too. Of course, this means that we must raise our prices in order to pay ourselves a living wage. In doing research on how to price our services, I've come across a lot of misinformation out there about what the average wedding photographer charges. I'm hoping this blog post can clear up some of those misconceptions.

First, our business expenses:

  • Purchasing our camera equipment like a Canon Mark IV camera body - $15,000 over the span of my career. (That doesn't include the equipment of all my other photographers)

  • Equipment upkeep through cleaning and calibration - $300 annually

  • Monthly business insurance - $42 per month

  • Gas to and from shoots and general car upkeep such as oil changes, new tires, and care insurance which is hundreds of dollars per month, depending on gas prices

  • Monthly editing software fees at $90 per month

  • Photoshoot props, which vary in price

  • Business license filings - $250 annually

  • Meals for our team members before or after a wedding or session - $450 annually

  • Work cell phone bills - $120 per month

  • High speed internet for our offices - $60 per month

  • Our online photo delivery service - $204 annually

  • Our website subscription - $384 annually

  • Our social media scheduling post service - $90 annually

  • Hi-res thumb drives for you to store your photos and video on pre-markup - $55 each

  • Marketing and ad budget for the company - $5,000 annually

  • Company car payment - $243 per month

Total (around): $21,538 annually

I list all of this not to make you feel guilty or to show off how much money we spend as a small business, but to make it clear just how much of each booking goes into our business expenses. The most important point of all though, is that our team members must be (and certainly deserve to be) paid a competitive wage for their artistic talents. Finally, I also should mention that if the total expenses for the year don't add up to 30% of our total business income, we pay the rest in taxes based on Georgia state laws.

The importance of hiring a photographer who knows what they are doing:

When you work with a wedding photographer who has been in the field for years, you are not only paying for their time and expenses, but you are also paying for their expertise. When you encounter someone who is offering photography packages at hundreds of dollars lower than ours, (and we should mention that our rates are quite reasonable based on the industry) then there are myriad reasons for it. Many wedding blogs who are written from a wedding planner perspective and not an expert wedding photography perspective will tell you that the average wedding photographer charges $2,000 per wedding. This is dated information from as early as 2017, and we are not your average wedding photographers. You could hire someone with very little experience, a 2010 photography style, or who lacks the proper legal business filings, equipment, and insurance, leaving you unprotected--and who may or may not deliver your most important memories to you. Or you could hire our very experienced and professional team with a consistent 5-star track record.

What makes us different:

The answer is simple: you--your individuality as a couple. What does your partner do that makes you laugh? What do they do on the daily that makes you love them even more? At the end of the day, those things are all that really matter in your wedding photography. The pictures we take are what you will look at years from now to remember this moment in time. We offer something special because our imagery embodies the nostalgia and timelessness of film with the security of a digital camera. We know it's important to give you our best in not just imagery, but also in the time you spend with us & the materials we provide you with to help you feel prepared. Because let's face it, planning a wedding can be overwhelming. We're here for it! We're not just photographers and videographers; we're here to help this season be less stressful and give you more time to spend with the one you love. We don't just want to take your photographs, we want to laugh with you; we want to celebrate with you; we want to know you and share your day with you in the best ways possible. Inquire about the Papillon Visuals wedding experience by clicking here and filling out the questionnaire.


Rachel White

Founder & CEO of Papillon Visuals

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