A response to Craigslist post: "I think your prices are WACK"

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Ran across this Craigslist post to wedding photographers on another photographer's blog and wanted to add my two cents.

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 change 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 thats owrth 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 im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot 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:)

Here's some comparative figures about what I could be earning in other jobs that might set things straight for this anonymous bride-to-be and others with similar questions.

Before becoming a full-time wedding photojournalist, I held positions as staff newspaper photographer, picture editor and professor of photojournalism.

  1. One year into building my wedding photography business (after paying for my health insurance and contributing as much to my retirement as my employer used to) I make less than I did when I left my staff photographer position in 1986.

     

    If I work my buns off, this coming year I should to be able to build my business to the point where I will bring in what I did when I left my position as a picture editor in 1991.

    If I were to fill up my schedule as a wedding photographer @ $3000 a wedding, I would make about what I was making as an associate professor of photojournalism in 2006 (but I wouldn't have the amazing retirement plan).

    If I am able to become a super-star shooter and average $5000 a wedding, I will be lucky to make and put away for retirement what I would be making and putting away today had I accepted the professorship I was offered at a Big Ten university five years ago.

Most wedding photographers do it more for love than money, (but we do have families to support).

For more on how far that $3000 goes in supporting a family, see Nikki May's blogpost.