My sister and I were in the car comparing lives the other day. I realized I make less, per hour, than she does. I’m a full-time, affordable Los Angeles wedding photographer. And most people only see me for one day, whereas they’re paying me 1-2 grand for it.
So, logically, some people wonder why wedding photography costs so much. This is one reason: time. Time prepping, shooting, and editing.
But a couple of months ago I started tracking how much time I invest into weddings. I calculated the preparation, meetings, and coordination, the actual wedding day, and the time I spend afterwards on editing, proofing, and final delivery.
And I make less, per hour, than my sister, who cleans windows. I get a bigger paycheck, but she goes home and doesn’t have to do anything more. I go home and have 20 more hours of work.
I really love what I do. I love walking with my couples through such a big day. I love getting to know them, figuring out how to get them comfortable, the adrenaline of the wedding day, improvising, getting better and bigger shots than I did last wedding, and each challenge of new weather, venues, rushed timelines, and constantly-changing situations. No wedding is alike.
But if you ever wondered why wedding photography is expensive, this is a big factor. Plus, I run my own business and incur costs like insurance, equipment, and travel. I’ve also taught myself everything I know, and it’s been quite a few years before I can call myself “good.”