Sunday, January 20, 2013

How Much Does it Cost?

How Much Does it Cost? . . .

The first thing that a couple does when they decide to get Married (or at least the first thing that the Groom does) is to purchase an Engagement Ring. It is at this very early time in the planning process that a couple will learn a very important rule about Weddings . . . "You get what you pay for".

Diamonds come in a wide variance of prices,and what is the major factor which sets the price for the diamonds?
. . . QUALITY.

If you want a high quality diamond, you pay a premium price for it, and if you buy a diamond based solely upon spending as little as possible, you will get a diamond that is of low quality. This one general rule will help you plan the best, most memorable Wedding possible . . . and come Wedding Day, the high quality Professionals that you have hired will pay off great dividends when you can relax on your Big Day, instead of worrying if things are going according to what you planned.

Professional Photographers provide services for special Events and the price that they charge from one to another is vast.  As a professional Photographer who has been providing photography services for over 15 years, I have been asked the "How come you charge so much?" question many times.

The other day, I had a conversation with a bride via email. Her first words were . . . "How much does it cost?" I emailed her pricing, only to get a second email which attacked how I could charge $400 per hour for Photography? . . . This email conversation prompted me to write this blog . . .

Someone has to say it . . .

The amount that a Photographer charges for services is often very mis-understood. The average, Professional Photographer starts services at around $2,000 for Wedding Photography.

So what makes a Photographer 

worth $2000 for the day or $400 per hour as my caller claimed?

The answer is that without looking at the big picture, they probably aren't. There are not too many people, Professionals, Hollywood stars or anyone else in my humble opinion worth $400 per hour.   --

          BUUUUUT . . . . Lets look at a few things before we make a harsh judgement on pricing . . .

Here is a small list of average expenditures that a good Photographer will spend part of what he earns toward . . .

   1) Photography Equipment - Average spent on equipment per year by a Photographer is $15-30K. We purchase new equipment each and every year. The days of keeping your equipment for 5-7 years is LONG gone! Advancements in Photo Equipment means that a Photographer may not necessarily need to buy new equipment, but if he wants to stay on top of the curve, they must! Plus, if you want the very best for your Wedding, surely you want the Photographer with the best too?

   2) Liability Insurance - This one item is over looked by Brides almost all of the time when I speak with them. It is the one thing that the El-Cheapo Photographers cant provide in a quantity that covers their Clients. If a Photographer does not carry at least a one million dollar policy, the Bride and Groom are put in the spot of being liable in the even of an incident. If an unfortunate accident happens and is the direct result of the service professional hired by a Bride and Groom, yet that person does not have proper insurance, the Venue is going to sue who? You guessed it, the Bride and Groom . . .

   3) Advertising - Most Photographers spend around 15% of their gross pay on advertising. So the first 15% of what you pay a Professional is almost always allocated toward Advertising.

   4) Taxes - As a self employed person, your Photographer has to pay his own taxes, which are normally in the area of 20-30% of the gross amount that he makes.

   5) Place of business - Hiring a Photographer with a place of business is in my opinion the best way to gauge if they are serious about their Profession or not. Hiring a photographer who has a place of business should be the best way to give security to a Bride and Groom. Signing a lease on a space, versus working out of your home, means that you are much less likely to be here today and gone tomorrow! Having a place of business costs money, but the upside is that Clients have a place to go when they need help or would like to meet with the person that they hired. To me, that has so much value!

   6) Costs of goods - What Photographers spend on goods to complete their jobs is almost always over looked. Albums, Hosted websites, Discs and Folios are all things that make for a great product in the end! But they all cost money too . . . and if your have a high quality Professional, they should provide high end products to you.

   7) A whole slew of smaller expenditures, like license fees, Bridal Show fees, organization fees and the list goes on and on. A true professional will be involved, and engaged with the laws that govern your area and continuing education for their craft. This all costs money and comes out of the over-all gross that is made.

So what does all of this mean to the 

Bride and Groom searching for a Photographer?
On the surface, it should automatically mean that the Company that you hire does not actually "take home" what they charge for the services at your Wedding. And what seems to be how much they make per hour is most of the time, not the case.

To ascertain what a Photographer makes, you would have to deduct the above costs, 

then divide by not only the hours with you on Wedding Day, 
but all of the hours leading up to the Wedding day, 
not to mention the many hours in post production making your images perfect!

Sure, you can get a Photographer on the cheap, but ask yourself these questions. 
    ** What corners do they need to cut in order to charge such a low price?
    ** Do they charge such a low price because that is all that they are worth?
    ** Do they charge enough to stay in business between the day you hire them and the 8-15 months of time until your Wedding Day?

The answer is always to hire a professional who has rates that are enough to cover everything from the above expenditure list to maintain a proper business until the day of your Wedding, while still staying inside what you can afford. Sometimes, Couples find that they need to raise their budget . . .

I always say that a person may be a great Photographer, but not necessarily a great Wedding Photographer, and even if they are a great Wedding Photographer, they may not be a good business person.  
--- The person or Company that you hire should be great at ALL THREE . . .
And when you find that Company, the price that they charge will be secondary to you . . .
Just like a fine wine, just enjoy it!

239-495-1323  Naples Videography and Photography
Written by: Joe Brincku

The contents of this page are owned by Joe Brincku and NVP, any use of this post without the written consent of Joe Brincku or NVP is unlawful.

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