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April 23, 2008


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If wedding photography is a great profession... I encourage you to try it.

Go get your gear, copy Brady's price list -- but use your own name and phone number. Rent a booth at a bridal fair and give it a try.

shane Snider

You're right. Wedding photography is easy. In fact, why don't you come and shoot one of my weddings with me. We'll offer the bride the choice of my pictures or yours. If she chooses yours, I'll let you keep the profit.


Brady is incredibly talented. While some skill level and business sense can be acquired, you either have "it" or you don't. If you don't, your maximum earning power per wedding will be capped at a certain level. If you do, the possibilities are endless. Brady (and many other photographers--though not the ones charging $500/wedding) have both a natural talent and good business sense. Without both, you will never turn a healthy profit.

To once again correct some of your numbers: our startup costs for equipment were $12K. We spend another $4-6K annually to keep up with the growing demands of the industry (equipment, computers, software, etc.). Our health care/life insurance/disability/etc. alone is $12K/year. We did the math, and in order for us to take home a $60,000 salary (that's the total salary for two people, so 30K each), we'd have to gross $120,000. That's a lot of weddings, and our market can't bear the same numbers as Brady's. Please, please, please, do some real research if you're going to continue this diatribe.


The fact is that wedding photography is a completely free market - there are no major barriers to entry (big capital outlay), nor are there any artificial barriers to entry (government or trade regulations).

So how do you explain that wedding photographers are underworked and overpaid? If that were truly the case, the market would balance out and you'd have more wedding photographers and their pay would lessen.

The well-paid wedding photographers get their fees for a reason: A bride wants to hire a seasoned, capable photographer with an extensive portfolio, who produces consistent, high quality, artful images. The high prices commanded by top-tier photographers is a reflection of their hard-earned status in the wedding industry.

I am a photographer who earns a 6-figure income, but there is no way I would ever do weddings. Besides being beyond my skill set, it just seems way too hard work for the pay! I have a good deal of admiration for a skilled, accomplished wedding photographer and I think most of them - even the highly paid ones - do it more for the love of it than for the money.


The more popular your blog gets, the more popular my blog gets, thanks!


Well said Dave! You have a very good understanding of economic I see. Take notes Big Mike.

Mike here is your Microecon 101 lesson:

Determinats of demand

* Income
* Taste or Preference
* Prices of substitutes or complements
* Expectations of the future
* Population

Determinants of Supply

* Technology
* Factor prices
* The number of Suppliers
* Expectations of the future
* Environmental conditions

What does all this mean? It means that not everyone has the same taste, income or expectations in regards to photography. If there is a wedding photographer that is the best in his/her geographical area...then they can charge top dollar and people will pay! This photographer has a very limited amount of days available to photograph weddings. This means they are in high demand and have low supply. Their perceived value is very high! If I charged $500 a wedding I'd be shooting over 60+ weddings a year. I'd never have any time for my couples or myself.

Look...some people like spending a lot of money and see high price tags as high quality. That is called perceived value my friend. Smart wedding photographers are not the only ones who understand this and capitalize on this concept. There are some celebrity photographers that charge well over 7k for a photoshoot! So there is your next post!!!

Go stay at a Motel 6 and then a will understand the difference. Hopefully.

Why are wedding photographer the bad ones here? We are just smart.


Your silliness is really annoying. I am amazed by your lack of knowledge but yet be able to sound like you know what you're talking about.

Next you should write a post on how to make it as an actor or other famous celebrity. Talk about easy money! Pretty face? Check. Nice body? Check. Some theater/singing/modeling classes at local college? Check. I'm all set! Now I can go to Hollywood and make it huge! Yeah me!

Nick Everitt

Big Mike's Digital Photography Blog
Technical stuff about digital cameras, lenses, and photo editing software. And my photos.

I think you should change the text under your blog title

Big Mike's Digital Photography Blog
Clueless and ill informed rants about industries and people I know nothing about.

Lloyd Yoon

You're funny.


I always find it's best to only criticise things that I know the first thing about. It stops you looking utterly stupid. You can quote a few people who are right at the top of the game who earn big money and then represent that as typical, but that's no different from any other profession. The majority don't earn big money, but they do put a lot into their work. Have you tried doing 53 weddings a year? Do you have a clue what that entails?

Oh and actually, yes you did say that it's one day's work.


I posted this in your last post, so I'm echoing it here:

Whether or not wedding photography takes a lot of work or time is immaterial. Its value doesn't come from the labour added, but from the talent involved.

Baking cookies doesn't take a lot of work either, but I still pay the 3000% markup on them from my favourite bakery, cause I can't make 'em like that!


I agree that for the most talented people in the field, wedding photography is easy money. If you can charge 8k for a wedding and still shoot 20-30 weddings a year, that's pretty easy money.

The fact of the matter is, only the top 5% or so of wedding photographers actually are able to do that. If you look at statistics compiled by the PPA, you'll see that the average wedding photographer only makes about 30K per year.

The average wedding photographer is a part timer, that you are right on. They only shoot about 10 weddings a year and bring in about 2000 per wedding. That is a gross of 20k per year. The average full time wedding photographer (most are not full time) brings in 3000 per wedding at 20 weddings per year. That's a gross of 60k.

The expenses to run a wedding photography business is about 15-20k per year depending. That includes marketing which is the biggest portion. Some spend 10-15k on marketing alone. We spend about 5k per year. If you don't spend that, you won't get anywhere near 20 weddings a year, let alone 10 weddings per year. Gear depreciation or gear replacement is about 5k per year. Insurance, materials, cost of goods, gas, accountant, lawyer to review contracts, memberships, etc comprise the rest.

So the average photographer who is doing their business correctly and ethically makes very little... and many lose money.

The very talented photographer can make 100k per year pretty easily.

It's like being a professional baseball player or football player. If you suck, you'll make nothing. If you're okay, you'll eke out a living in the minors. Only the best of the best make it to the majors and actually make real money.


Big Mike the Communist in the hizzy!!


I agree..

Dror Eyal

I'm convinced - so how do I separate myself from the $500 wedding photographer?

Edward Olive - wedding photographer in Europe

i would disagree with this to some extent. i spend all week replying to emails and calls from haggling couples trying to get what i do for the standard local wedding & baptism photo price and only get some peace on saturdays when shooting photos for the very few couples who actually hire me.

being a wedding photographer is a lot of stress and struggle

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