So let's talk about the cost for the photographer. I'm not going to try to tell you that it's not expensive...it is. I am only going to try to give you something to relate it to. So let's start with another area of your life...your hair! Yes, your hair is very important and you can't trust just anyone with it. It takes training and experience to be a good hairdresser. The typical cut and highlights will run you about $160. Some people pay this monthly and really keep up on it, while others may go 3 or 6 months between appointments. Now I don't know about yours, but my hairdresser takes about two and a half hours to do highlights and a cut. That's $64 per hour. If she's able to book appointments to fill an 8 hour day, that's $512 for the day. Not bad, if you ask me.
Now, let's look at the time your wedding photographer is going to spend on your wedding. This is assuming you spend $2,000 on your photographer and the package includes an engagement session and a photo book to share with friends and family after the wedding.
2 hour – client contact (emails, phone calls, meetings, etc.)
2 hours – engagement session (travel, session time)
2 hours – editing engagement session
2 hours – wedding prep (final forms, charging batteries, clearing memory cards, researching client preferences, etc.)
10 hours – wedding day (including travel and last-minute prep)
2 hours – culling (getting rid of unusable images)
17 hours – editing (1,000 images with a 1 minute/image average)
2 hours – book creation
1 hour – final proof, upload and delivery
That’s 40 hours...$50.00 per hour. That means that your photographer, who is providing you images that will last a lifetime and will be viewed by all of your family and friends and perfectly document the biggest day in your life is likely making less than your hairdresser. None of these figures include the overhead costs either. Your hairdresser has to rent out space and buy her equipment such as a blow dryer, curling irons and things like that. Your photographer, however, will likely have a camera worth several thousand dollars as well as several high-quality lenses that all cost over $1,000 EACH, not to mention insurance costs and website maintenance costs.
So when you do the math and really look at how much work your photographer is doing, it's one of the best (and cheapest) investments you will make for your wedding.