Wedding photography is one of those social events that pay really well.
Of course, this can vary based on many things from location to personal rates. Nevertheless, wedding photographers get paid handsomely.
But since you are reading this article, you must be wondering…
How much should I charge to photograph a wedding?
It’s the first times that are the toughest, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, many photographers either overcharge or undercharge during their first gigs.
If you soak, the client will likely back out or use you only to complain later. In such a case, you lose referrals.
When you undercharge, you don’t get your effort’s worth. So, how exactly do you strike the right balance?
We’ll find out shortly, but first, let’s check out some rough estimates.
Reports indicate that the average salary for a wedding photographer in the US is $2000. Others charge between $1150 and $3000.
However, those in big cities charge a way higher premium rate.
In the UK, wedding photographers charge an average figure of £1,590. The rates are slightly lower in Eastern Europe, which swings between $900 and $1130.
But don’t fixate on these numbers as they serve to provide you with a general picture.
Newbies in the industry usually charge between $0 and $1000. Yes, some charge nothing in exchange for the experience or to build a portfolio.
By the way, no one is saying you shouldn’t charge anything.
In fact, you can set your price to a meager $100 in exchange for future referrals or simply to gain experience.
Pointers on how you should charge for wedding shots
The following tips will help you to know what to charge clients during your first sessions:
Goals can help you know what rates to suggest to different clients.
For instance, let’s assume wedding photography is your side hustle. In such a case, your rates should be low.
However, anyone who wants to do this full-time must set a rate that will sustain their lifestyle.
Dictate your value but don’t be blind about your experience
You need to set your prices according to your worth. Each rate will tell the bride and groom how experienced you are.
In most cases where the host has several options, they won’t settle for the cheapest or the most expensive. They will most likely consider those in the middle.
Therefore, we can all agree that you need to set your prices based on your expertise and location while keeping your brand’s image in mind.
Charge according to the time spent
The emotional value of photographs is priceless. These are memories that replay the bride and groom’s best day.
As such, wedding photography should pay well on an hourly basis.
But let’s say you blindly agree to $1000 for a whole day’s shoot.
This may look like rad pay, but when you are expected to capture portraits, travel to the wedding location, file paperwork, sign contracts, create different digital copies, and edit images, $1000 is very little.
So before you agree to a rate, know precisely how much time you’ll spend and how much work will be done.
Charge based on the area
If you are in LA, New York, and other lush metropolises, be sure to kick your rate a notch higher.
But when you get to shoot in the boondocks, please keep your rate down, or you’ll get sidelined.
Include equipment and marketing costs
You must think about all the tools you use. Some photographers work with premium photo editing tools and require an editor to help out.
Furthermore, maybe the studio office is rented out. Not to forget taxes.
You should consider all these expenses to avoid making losses.
Ask others what they charge
Google is only good at showing you what some of the worlds’ wedding photographers charge.
However, those figures do not represent what folks in your region charge. So the most practical advice in this piece is this; ask around what other photographers charge.
Use friends if no one wants to reveal what they charge (possibly to avoid competition). Or even better, ask the newlyweds what they were charged.
They don’t have a reason not to tell you, especially when you come bearing gifts for them. (But we’re guessing you’ll get this data after their honeymoon)
Now, once you have a clear picture of what those within your region charge, come up with your own competitive rate.
Precautions to observe
Things don’t always go as planned. It’s part of life. But to protect your business, remember the following:
Ask for a deposit
People back out of deals or go on honeymoons and come back broke. And if you are not careful, you may not get paid until way later (and possibly a partial amount).
So to get the bride and groom to commit, set a steep deposit; one that will fully cover the expenses.
A high figure also discourages your clients from pulling out of the deal close to the big day.
Last but not least…
Let every fee be reflected in the contract
Your clients need to know exactly what they are paying for. Therefore, when drawing up a contract, include every service and what it will cost.
In case of a lawsuit, the contract you both signed will come to your rescue.
Happy hustling and toodles!