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I'm a Southern California-based photographer specializing in enchanting photos for couples who believe in Happily Ever After. I've been capturing fairytale love stories around the world since 2010 and have been featured in print and online publications 90+ times.

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{For Brides} Why wedding photographers are SO expensive….

January 25, 2012

I am usually the last person to post something negative or controversial. I just prefer to keep the peace and be uplifting! :)

But earlier today, I read something that had me LIVID. So this post is not one of my usual posts. I was actually supposed to be writing Wednesday Weaknesses right now, but it can wait. What I am about to say is FAR more important.

So…onto what it was that I read, that made me so angry. This morning, a fellow photog posted this listing that they found on Craigslist,  on Facebook:

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 :)

Now before I go into my perspective….I want to address two things. First, I value difference in opinion…..I don’t expect everyone in the world to think that us wedding photographers are worth what we charge. I respect that. What I don’t respect, is someone who has NO idea what they are talking about, ranting about how I make my money and discrediting the amount of work that REALLY goes into it. Second, I am in no way “complaining about how much work I have to do” or “crying about how hard I have it”. Not at all! I LOVE my job. I am simply re-claiming some respect for the craft and explaining some things that some people aren’t aware of.

Piece for piece, here is my response:

WHY because the word “WEDDING” is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos?

Because, weddings aren’t just every other day. YOU as a bride, should know this.

I wake up the morning after every wedding, feeling like I got ran over by a train…..weddings hold a much higher level of stress than just an everyday shoot. You get one chance to capture it. You have to have the right equipment to get the job done, and not to mention backups….in case those fail. Anonymous Craigslist bride…do yourself a favor and please do not discredit your wedding day this way. The word “WEDDING” means a great deal actually. So yes, we are entitled to charge more for this, because it is a wedding! But it is quite silly to label this to photographers only. It goes for every wedding service! I mean unless you regularly spend hundreds of dollars on a single bouquet of flowers or $1500 for a dress?

I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK.

You know what I think is wack? The cost of my rent! Oh and my car insurance…..ooh and not to mention, my phone bill! But guess what? I still have to pay them! And I do it with my camera. I think maybe you forgot that this is my career. Not just something I do for fun, that I can charge next to nothing for. Each photographer’s prices are derived from a specific formula that involves their cost of running a business and cost of living. Believe it or not, we don’t just say “Ooh a wedding! I think I will charge……hmmmm…..$5000!” We are trying to survive, just like you. The high priced photographers cost more for a reason. And if they were charging the prices you seem to be pining for, they wouldn’t be able to stay in business.

All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats owrth 3 GRAND!!!

This is just silly. Craigslist bride…..if you really think that is all we are doing….please oh please just go to Costco and buy your cousin a Canon Rebel and let him do the job! Since ALL we do is hang out, shoot a few pics, then edit them….piece of cake! Cousin Kevin will do just fine!!! You’ll even get to keep the camera after….SCORE! ;)

I mean the “average” persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around 3 grand.

Keyword is SALARY. We are not on salary. That one wedding that we “make so much money on” might have to feed us through the slow winter season when we have NO weddings. There is no financial security in this field. We either have the bookings or we don’t. And even when we don’t, the bill collectors still come for theirs!

Also….have you ever considered how much of that $3000 really becomes ours? After taxes and the HEFTY chunk the IRS takes from business owners… that income is nowhere near what you think it is. Then there is business insurance, websites, advertising, editing software, the thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and the costs of maintaining it. The list goes on and on. And then the cost of our time…..we blog, edit, email, process orders, shoot engagement sessions, market, etc. There is so much more time to shooting a wedding than actually just being there on that wedding day. We work our booties off to give you a great experience and photos for a lifetime. A business is like a baby….it constantly needs your attention and care!

 Also, this “average person” probably works a 9-5 during the week, then is free to enjoy their weekends with their family. Well we also work that 9-5, doing all of the inside work I mentioned. Then on the weekends….we are at your wedding, still working! Don’t get me wrong, I love being at your wedding. Seriously, some of the best times of my life are when I am shooting my awesome brides and grooms. But please, just respect our time and be mindful of these hurtful things you’ve said about how little we are worth.

And finally…..

You’re making so much money its crazy.

Sweet!!! This is great news!!!! Craigslist Bride, if you are reading this, please email me!!!! Cause I know I should totally be rich by now….with all these weddings I’ve shot. But I just can’t seem to figure out where all of that money went….hmmm….can you help me find it? You seem to know more about my finances than I do!

Moral to the story is. You do not have to value me at $3500+  if you don’t want to. But you DO need to know the facts before you can judge my lifestyle and my financial situation. Being a wedding photographer has been the BEST thing to happen to me….and I hope I can do it all the way until retirement! But it has also taken every ounce of myself to keep it going. It is a lot of work and to see myself and other photographers degraded by statements like the above, is frustrating. We have put years and large amounts of money into mastering our craft, becoming better artists, and learning!

You don’t have to agree with it….but at least respect it.

To close out, here is the very first photo released from a top-secret shoot I did in Ireland. The rest will be up in a couple of weeks! Keep your eyes peeled! :)







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Let me know what you think!

  1. Stephanie Moore-Milne says:

    I wish you could see me. I am standing up and applauding! Well said, all of it. I entirely agree!

  2. Misty Smith says:


  3. Christina Lynn says:

    Well said!

  4. Erin Ginther Cole says:

    Go Kristen! Preach it sista! Amen to everything! Good job! Way to go! I hope EVERYONE who is getting married or plans to will read this!

  5. Linsey Wilt says:

    Kristen, this was so well said! Thank you for posting! Gorgeous image!

  6. Stacy Hart says:

    I totally loved this Kristen Booth! You made your points clearly for all parties, not just us wedding photographers :-) Bravo!

  7. Marissa Andronicos says:

    Thank you so much for responding to that silly Craigslist ad! I really value what you said.

  8. Amy McMahan says:

    simply put: thank you.

  9. Celeste Magnusson Photography says:

    Kristen – I just love and adore your work and you are worth every single penny! Thank you for writing this. As a fellow photographer I was so pleased to see you take a stand and so eloquently respond to this ridiculous Craigslist posting.

    I’m also planning my own wedding right now (up in Canada :) and whenever anyone asks about my photographers and I tell them they are costing me $3000 people look horrified…to which I respond “actually, I’m also a photographer, and I am 110% thrilled to be getting such amazing quality work for ONLY $3000!” Seriously – you cannot put a price on memories, especially for a WEDDING which you can never recreate.


  10. A. Hedges Photography says:

    yes…this is amazing! I may hold it in my back pocket for a “bad day” and repost it again for all of us “rich wedding photographers” :-)

  11. Samantha Lord says:


  12. Ashley Cox says:

    Very well said.

  13. Mandy Taylor Keel says:

    Such a great post. Thanks for writing this!

  14. Tiffany McNutt says:


  15. Christina Marie Lara says:

    I love that picture at the end ;).

  16. Toni Palmer Gundlach says:

    Totally agree with you but what’s more important, that picture is amazing!

  17. Sharon Theresa Wheaton says:

    I just read this whole thing to my husband (we are and hubby and wifey team) I think he stopped listing after the “sitting around taking pictures” part – It’s so hard for some out there to understand the value in what we do. I can’t tell you how hard it is as a wedding photographer to know that I did not hire a pro for my wedding. It was the only mistake of my wedding (although I was in college and totally broke so we did what we could) It make me sad that I don’t have these photos to remember the most important day of my life! So – to this bride I say – I wish her the best of luck finding a great hobbyist and that it all turns out well. Great post and very well written! Hostility is never very becoming and you did a jam up job getting your point across with out being insulting and I say cheers to that! (I know how hard it must have been) :P

  18. Blair Van Bussel says:

    Kristin, I don’t know you. But you are officially one of my favorite people ever now. This was pure truth and awesomeness! :)

  19. Trent Louis Wilson says:

    Amazing post, Kristen! I wish people would hand things like this out to all the brides they know that complain about their wedding days. You really do get what you pay for. I also love how much it applies to anyone else that manages their own finances through a personal business. Love the picture at the end, too. Gorgeous!

  20. Jennifer Starcher says:

    Oh thank god someone responded to her! That article was shared in a forum I’m in. I wish her lots of luck finding a quality photographer with her attitude.

  21. Jessica Henderson Messer says:

    I have no idea if the original poster will read the responses she receives, but I replied. I told her rather than educate her I wanted to share numbers with her. I gave her my gross income for my best year out of the 12 I’ve been shooting. Then I gave her my profit after expenses….then I gave her my net after taxes. Divided that by the number of events I shot that year. Hopefully it’s a slap in the face that most $3000+ photographers are not getting rich. They’re surviving.

  22. Diana Rush says:

    I don’t think anyone could have said this better!

  23. Debra Layfield-Marshall says:

    Well spoken!!! I am a graphic designer and I run into the same issue, people don’t value
    your time…

  24. Dave Burdick says:

    Love it!

  25. Angela Johnson Oxenrider says:

    SWEETNESS at it’s finest. A nice rebuttal followed by a $5000+ dollar picture! PRICELESS! Amen sista!

  26. Rebecca Phillips says:

    You forgot to mention, photographers have to put money away for retirement, we have to upgrade our equipment every couple years, which costs several thousand dollars! Our office supplies are not provided to us like they are if you work in an office, we have to go out and pay for pens, printer paper, ink, business phone, blank CD’s, advertising materials, business cards, postage, editing software, which we have to upgrade every year or 2, computer, which also needs to be upgraded every few years, we have to pay the bills for our office, heat, electricity, power. If you work in an office these things are provided for you. I am sure I could go on and on, but I will leave it at that.

  27. Joshua Mitchell says:

    This is almost as crazy as the Shelby Living Magazine article.

  28. Lacy Dagerath says:

    hilarious. I responded her today too! Here was my response to her in case you’d like to read it :)

    Hi there. :) Not sure how many of these emails you will receive… but I thought I’d add one to the mix. I am a photographer based in Houston, Texas… I came across your craigslist post via another photographer…and thought I would take a few minutes to share with you what it takes to photograph a wedding… After reading your post it is very clear to me that it is important to educate brides like yourself… on what exactly your hard earned $3,000 is going to… since “We are making so much money its crazy!” And we aren’t charging you money because we “CAN” we are charging because that is the only way to run our BUSINESS.

    Are you aware that when we shoot your wedding… typically an 8-10 hour day… that is just the beginning of MONTHS full of work.. in which we pour heart and soul into your editing and designing of your products/albums, answering your emails/phone calls and sending you Christmas gifts/Anniversary gifts?

    You may be paying us $3000 to SHOOT for one day…but the behind the scenes amount of work is much…much… more than 8 hours.

    Let me help you understand the costs associated with running a business:

    Internet fee’s in which we have to have to answer your ridiculous amount of email.
    Phone bills
    Membership association fee’s that most photographers pay for yearly…
    Office mortgage/rent
    Camera equipment (to the tune of $30,000- We do not shoot your wedding with a $50 point and shoot!)
    That is just to name a few…

    AND the costs of your albums. books, prints etc you receive in your package? Those aren’t free… just in case you thought otherwise.

    Did you also know that as a sole proprietor… we pay roughly 31% in taxes?

    Let me break it down for you…
    -$1000 of costs.
    leaves you with $2000.

    You obviously have mistaken this number as PROFIT… but as a business owner…I know that $2000 means $620 of that goes to my taxes right of the bat…Leaving me with $1380 to run my business… (bills, association fees, equipment etc).

    So when all is said and done, I’ve spend 2 hours preparing FOR your wedding, 8-10 hours SHOOTING your wedding, 2 hours uploading memory cards at midnight AFTER your wedding, backing up etc., 10-20 hours editing your wedding, 3-5 hours designing your album you’ll cherish for the next 70 years before passing it along to your grandchildren…. and then ordering anything you decide to have printed… That’s roughly 40 hours…. and I MAYBE profited $500 on your $3,000 wedding. Let me do the math for you. $3000 divided by 160 hour work month…in which you thought yielded $19/hour… is now 500 divided by a 160 worth month… meaning your $3,000 wedding photographer actually made $3.13/hour… If it takes us $500 and 40 hours to complete EVERYTHING associated with your wedding… we actually make $12.50/hour… Which is pretty darn cheap when you calculate the impact YOUR photos will make… in your life… your children’s lives..and your grand children’s lives.

    So from one “fancy” photographer to one un-educated bride… Before you rant on craigslist… please educate yourself on what it actually takes to run this business.

    And whatever photographer you DO choose… please understand you are NOT their ONLY bride… and let them know you appreciate them It takes a lot of $3,000 weddings to put food on the table.
    A Very Fancy Photographer.

  29. Rebecca Blackmon Mitchell says:

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  30. Tiffany Richter says:

    I am soo glad that Heidi posted this on her page. I was having the same feelings especially because that whole amount was my budget and I didn’t understand why great pictures were so expensive. Thank you for putting it into perspective for me. I love this post!

  31. John Warren says:

    I left my son’s first birthday party as guests were arriving to shoot a wedding……somebody hand me a price list that covers that.

  32. Diana Avalos says:

    AMEN sista! you tell em!

  33. Brian Morris says:

    Not everyone can afford a great photographer (or videographer in my case) and that is OK. Not everyone can afford a $5K dress and that is OK. Not everyone can afford $10K in flowers and decor and that is OK. But just because you can’t afford it, Criagslist Bride, doesn’t mean you need to throw yourself on the floor and scream and cry like a spoiled child in Target that is not getting the toy they want. Grow up and go get married at the court house.

    Thanks for this Kristen!

  34. Ronda N Gary Leideker says:

    Personally I don’t know or CARE about how much a wedding Photographer charges anymore… We TRIED a few wedding jobs for Friends and Relatives…NO MORE – it’s a STRESS SANDWHICH for sure. My hat’s off to all the PROFESSIONAL Wedding Photogs out there.

    And speaking of PROFESSIONAL Wedding Photogs, since when did buying a novice level DSLR with 1 or 2 lenses ( and NO off-camera flash, mind you… GOOD GRIEF! ) suddenly qualify ANYONE as a “wedding photographer”…. what a bunch of crap! I will bet that most of those people don’t even know what the “professional” designation REALLY means…

    And one last thought about shooting weddings… you newbies better be prepared in EVERY respect….. including the fact that you BETTER have a backup plan just in case you cannot make the wedding…. we did a voluntary shoot ( yes a freebie! ) for 2 co-workers that got married a couple of years ago…. had everything all planned out, and by the way we are NOT novice photogs here…. everything was all set and ready to go, right up to the moment that my Dear Dad passed away 3 hours before the wedding. Like I said, you BETTER have a backup plan, newbies…. AND Professional Liability Insurance.

    WE don’t do weddings anymore for those reasons, we COULD, but not at the risk of ruining the Bride’s biggest day in her life.. and potentially getting SUED for your troubles. Our advice to those of you trying to determine who to hire to shoot their wedding? Hire the PRO – the REAL Professional who know what he / she is doing.

  35. Ashley Randall says:

    You forgot to mention the pricelessness of your and every other photographer’s creativity. Photography is an art, just like painting or sculpture. The images that photographers create in the moment and in post processing are priceless. Really 3,000 for all that work plus one of a kind, personalized pieces of art is a steal.

  36. Brandi Burkett says:

    AMEN! This year at Christmas my seven year old son begged me to come cuddle with him at bedtime instead of heading back to my office for the second half of my 10+ hour day. You all know especially around a holiday we have to work like mad for 2 weeks ahead of time to get 1/2 the time off a nine to fiver gets! He put his head on my chest and said “Mom, if I could only have one thing for Christmas I would ask Santa and Jesus (who are apparently in cahoots) to teach you that your family and spending time with them is way more important than clients and their pictures.” Couple this with the fact that my husband considers himself a single dad and THAT is what you get for your $3000. A giant chunk of my life, dedicated to making you feel like my only client no matter how many of them I have. People, get out your iPhones, because I can’t imagine Craigslist Bride will have much luck booking anyone after that post!

  37. The Emerics says:

    thanks for addressing this on your blog! My blood pressure was rising as I was reading her craigslist ad! UGh…your response was exactly right and I hope that she and others learn to value our time & talent. We don’t just show up at a wedding…it’s so so much more!

  38. Suzanne Aimee Minskey says:

    Your post is awesome. I saw the link to this craiglist posting last night on Facebook and was so offended (and I’m not even a photographer) that I just felt compelled to write this woman an email basically saying the same things you did. I can’t believe how many other people I’m hearing about felt compelled to do the same. Hopefully we can all help garner the respect that the service and the wedding industry deserve.

  39. Vana LesleePhotography says:

    This is great. Personally if all we were doing was “hanging out and taking a tun of pictures, then editing them” EVERYONE would be a photogarpher making “tuns of money,” and it would be crazy! Depending on what editing software you use, if could take up to 15 minutes to edit ONE photo.. and if we are “editing a tun” that’s a long time! (Time is money) Also, there is a lot of underlying efforts that go into a wedding. Especially the constant stress you have ALL because you could miss something important. That feeling is truely indescribable. To completely understand why we charge what we charge, you first need to understand it is a career for some and there is a lot going on you don’t know about in all aspects of the event. It may be “your wedding” but trust me, we are jsut as stressed at you. Brides hire us to capture one of the most important days in their lives and we don’t want to mess it up.

  40. David Tucker says:

    I’m not attacking in any way at all like Craigslist bride, but, I have to ask/point out that you don’t just do one wedding a month right? I want to be neutral here and understand. I mean, once you purchase the editing software and equipment, what other expenses are there? In theory you could have an office at home and set up a website. If you did even 5 weddings a month at $3000 that’s $15,000 a month. If you hired one other person to do weddings you could do twice as many in a month and that’s $30,000. Not to mention all other events you do besides weddings that do occur year round. I know the hours are different and you have to work weekends for weddings but you chose this profession, so to say you are more justified in charging that much bc you have to work on a Sat or Sun, doesn’t quite make sense. We’ve all had to work weekends at least once in our life. We didn’t get paid more because it was the weekend. As far as maintaining equipment, I’ve had cameras and tvs and laptops and video game systems, you name it, what maintaining costs are there? Everything I’ve had works perfectly fine and for the most part, have done nothing to them. My cousin is a photographer and has a website and does weddings….I know she is not spending near what you are that I can tell. You might want to talk to her. Just sayin bc I’m confused.

  41. Rachel Carpenter says:

    BEAUTIFULLY STATED! I’m engaged and getting married in August and from the beginning (actually before I even got engaged) I knew that my biggest cost was going to be a photographer. Not because “you photographers” charge so much, but because I want amazing pictures that “cousin Kevin” CAN’T capture. I’m almost ashamed to admit that until reading this blog, I never actually sat down and thought about what you guys as photographers do and the sacrifices you make, all to make brides like me have a beautiful day with pictures to match. So….. if no one has told you lately…. THANK YOU! And p.s. Let’s see cousin Kevin capture that AMAZING photo up there ^^^^ <3.

  42. Christine Carlyon Meldrum says:

    pent twice that for my wedding photos and it was worth every penny. At the end of the day, I have my pictures left, and we look at them all the time. My wedding photographer is now taking beautiful pictures of my family and has become aof my family through her story telling, but hey, if you just want some snapshots, grab a disposable camera and go to town.

  43. […] {For Brides} Why wedding photographers are SO expensive….www.kristenbooth.netI am usually the last person to post something negative or controversial. I just prefer to keep the peace and be an up lifter! But earlier today, I read something […]

  44. Sarah Lydick says:

    Nicely said! I really hope she reads the responses she gets.

  45. Judy Garvey says:

    I got married last year. I Had to fight my in-laws to spend the money on photographers that we did, and now they’re glad I did. It was more than 50% of our budget, and totally worth ever single penny. I saved money elsewhere by doing a lot of things myself, and having a budget, and being crafty, and sticking to my guns in terms of knowing what was important to ME.

    As a client who values and appreciates the work, expense and talent that goes into being a professional photographer I get it.

    That being said, a lot of people don’t.

    And let’s be serious, you don’t want those people as clients anyway.


  46. Joshua Wilke says:

    This may be an unpopular sentiment here, but my issue isn’t with the amount wedding photographers charge. My gripe is there is no recourse against them. In other photography settings, shooting can be an iterative process. If the customer isn’t happy with the work, they ask for it to be redone. This isn’t possible with a wedding. Thus, I would rather employ a wedding photographer at a fair market hourly rate to shoot the event and then pay again if/when I am satisfied with the end result. In total, I would expect this to be equal for the photographer, but now they are better incentivized to ensure satisfaction. To be clear, I am not proposing the customer gets to keep the photos if they are unsatisfied and unwilling to pay for them. In essence their would be a bonus for a job well done.

    (I’m sure someone will cite how negative word of mouth hurts future business, but that doesn’t help the customer who was disappointed with their wedding photographs.)

  47. Lisa DiAngelo Burch says:

    I was a wedding photographer for over twenty years in southern California. I spent years studying and earning my degree in photography, this was long before digital, I actually knew how to properly light, pose and photograph a wedding. An average wedding day for me was about 12 hours long, sometimes even longer, maybe a 19 hour day. I spent a week recovering from the physical and emotional draining of working with people, enough time to recover before heading out to photograph the next wedding. I loved what I did and did it well. I cared about my craft and worked hard at giving it my all every time, even when I did not feel like it. I even photographed a wedding one time when I was sick, leaving my tripod to run to the bathroom to throw up. I never left a reception before I knew I had every image the bride and groom had asked for. I never once had a complaint from a client, I worked for one of the finest portrait studios in the area and brides knew when they came into our studio they were getting the best. Our average wedding sales were over 4,000.00. Our brides knew their wedding photos were all they would have left to remember their special day. It amazes me that some women won’t hesitate to spend thousands of dollars on a gown they will wear one time, but complain about spending that same money on memories that will last a life time. Go ahead and hire your friend’s cousins boyfriends brother to photograph your wedding, hey, he only charges $500.00! Then let all of us know how your wedding day photos turn out!

  48. […] A Seattle-area bride complained on Craig’s List that she couldn’t find a “decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun” wedding photographer who doesn’t charge less than $3000. She thought the $3000 price tag for a wedding is a WACK. That quickly drew some angry responses from wedding photographers. You can read one response on PetaPixel and another on a wedding photographer’s blog. […]

  49. […] a bunch of response blogs from different photographers out there but I really loved this one… . I couldn’t agree with this girl more and I loved her take on what this bride said, so I […]

  50. […] past weekend I came across a fantastic blog post about why photographers charge what they do and knew I had to share it. The post was definitely […]

  51. […] {For Brides} Why wedding photographers are SO expensive…. » Kristen Booth {The Storybook} Blog. This entry was posted in Updates by Darren. Bookmark the permalink. var addedComment = function(response) { //console.log('fbComments: Caught added comment'); //console.log('fbComments: Making AJAX call to update Facebook comment count'); $.post(';, { fn: 'addComment', xid: '_post519' }, function(resp) { if (resp === 'true') { //console.log('fbComments: Updated and cached Facebook comment count for post with xid=_post519'); } else { //console.log('fbComments: FAILED to update Facebook comment count for post with xid=_post519'); } }); }; FB.Event.subscribe('comments.add', addedComment); […]

  52. Stella Gilbert says:

    Very well said… Love the picture at the end : ) Beautiful.

  53. Carol DeJulio Peach says:

    I am newer to photography but LOVE this post and all the comments associated with it! On the outside it seems as though photographers charge SO much for photos ~ that will be what that person has to remember for a lifetime! Little do the “non-photographers” out there know exactly how much time (and stress) is put into their job! It’s almost like another “thankless” job to most, which is ashame, becasue the impact our photo creations have for others is truly PRICELESS! Kudos to all of you photographers, wedding or otherwise! :) (Live Laugh Photograph).

  54. Bethann Greenberg Ulloa says:

    A freakin men! Not to mention the time all the editing takes!

  55. Bethann Greenberg Ulloa says:

    I will be copy and pasting this blog post as you, with a couple updates of my own when I have some down blog time!

  56. Christographer Dao says:

    Well said!

  57. Abby McMackins Thomas says:

    Awesome response! And this photo is amazing!

  58. Jessica Norene says:

    I’m a wedding photographer in San Antonio, Texas… Hats off to you, my friend – my soul sister. I’m glad I didn’t see that post until after I’d had a glass of wine this evening, or I’d be outraged too. Unfortunately, all too many young ladies have no idea until they’re planning their weddings how expensive they are, and then the sticker shock hits home, they hire a Craigslist photographer, and photographers everywhere get a bad name. It’s a cycle we all battle, and it probably always will be. The good news is that after paying my dues for 15 years, I can finally (most of the time) sniff out the brides who will be…shall we say…a bit snippy(?), and suddenly their date got snatched up (oops!). Please know there is strength in numbers, and as long as we keep responding to the myths that photographers just “hang out at your wedding and press a button a few times”, maybe – just maybe, we can drive home the FACT that you get what you pay for.

  59. Maria McCarthy says:

    This is great. Thanks so much for posting!

  60. Jake Reimer says:

    I once added up the hours and dollars my wife and I spend between consultations, engagements, the wedding day and post processing. By the time the dust settles, costs are accounted for, taxes are paid and hours are tabulated I think we once made around $20 an hour. Wouldn’t trade it for anything though.

    That said, Preach on and GREAT ARTICLE!

  61. Amanda Cervantez says:

    As a bride I must admit I was shocked when I first started looking for a wedding photographer. The photographer I’ve had picked out for years and really wanted was $4,000 (Includes: engagement session, bridal session, 10×10 flush mount album, 2 parent mini albums, 150 save the date or thank you cards, 8 – 4x6s, 5 – 5x7s 2 – 8x10s, 1 – 16×20 canvas and 9 hours of wedding day coverage with a second shooter). Immediately I thought that’s insane and there’s no way that was going to be affordable, but it didn’t take me long to realize after all the guests have gone home, dances have been danced, and flowers wilted the only thing we would have from our wedding day to display and remember were the photos. $4,000 was nothing when it captured everything from one of the most important days my fiance and I would ever share and I wanted someone who was experienced, knowledgeable, talented and responsible to capture our wedding. We even changed our wedding date to have that photographer as she was already booked on the original day we had planned. I don’t even consider it a splurge but a necessity. I did have to ‘sacrifice’ some things and cut a videographer for my parents to spend that much on a photographer, but our it’s our one and only wedding day and I can relax so much more knowing our photos will be flawless.

    I hope a bride never turns down the photographer she really wants based solely on price. I think the photos are the most important thing to take away from your wedding (other than the vows of course!) If the photographer is more than you planned then cut some things that your wedding can really do without :)

  62. Emily Condrey Photography says:


  63. Kirk N Trish Anderson says:

    I was a PA for a brilliant wedding photographer and what people forget is that before the age of digital (stupidity) cameras, you had to shoot with film. (Wonder if the Craigslist bride has heard of that) You are also paying for the years of study, most went to college for this. Attending seminars, being “up” onthe latest lighting techniques, being a part of your local photography guilds. I saw brides whine about our prices and turn around and pay more for the cake….REALLY? I don’t see people posting about lawyers like this…”you just stand in a courtroom for a few minutes, to get me out of the stupid thing I did”. You pay for the expertise…If it is too much for you, good luck, get your anxious neighbor with the new $350 digital camera… (no lighting equipment)… and when your wedding is over and you pay him/her $50 and a case of beer, but get your memory card… remember you could have had a profession who won’t forget to get more than 1 photo of the bride and groom…with their eyes closed, or the photo of you and your mom, or the picture of you and your husband’s first dance! These little free photoshop programs can only fix so much. Yes you fake photographers…we know you use them, people have character in their faces and you can only white out so much…I have a challenge for you fake photogs out there….put down your point and shoot and SHOOT WITH FILM! I bet you will only do it once… and can I please get some back up here…how can the housewife/husband that picked up the camera last month but can facebook….build a page and call her/himself a “professional” really? I may have an aneurysm talking about this! LOVED the article schooling the Craiglist bride…would be interesting to know what she chose to do…I will guess she went on the cheap…. Trish

  64. Georgia Yeh Photography says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I cannot agree with you more. Sometimes, we’re making pennies for the work that we do but no one sees that (besides ourselves… and our bank accounts). Some brides need to educate themselves on the matter and learn to respect it before they judge… as with any career. I’m just going to end with this: ‘If it were easy, everyone would be doing it… and doing it well.”

  65. […] not going to put every last detail cause I know a ton of photographers out there have blogs that REALLY break it down, so here’s just  a brief […]

  66. Michael Lentz says:

    Its difficult to educate future brides on the differences and values of full time Pro Wedding Photographers. If a bride doesn’t understand or value your work, then you shouldn’t concern yourself with her. As you know, many low end weddings pay very little, and are usually overly demanding.
    I think your rebuttal is accurate. There are good and bad Pro photographers and good and bad Amateur photographers. Its very difficult for young brides to tell the difference.
    Maybe ‘Consumer Reports’ could evaluate all the photographers for them :)
    Btw: I’m a full time 14 year Pro Wedding Photographer. (and I’m still not rich!)

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  69. Rachael Claflin says:

    Kristen, don’t give this person the time of day. Photography is an art as much as a science–haha especially wedding. Dumbass bitches like this do not understand that underlining fact. My response to someone like this is: get a 10 dollar box camera and take the damn pictures yourself. There is so much more a wedding photographer has to take into consideration (like taking a “proper” picture having the constrast of black and white in the same photo…and all you photographers know exactly what I am talking about that shit is not easy then add the human element, oh boy.) Besides how much do you want to bet that this person isn’t paying for her wedding to begin with…. so people like that are just stingy and not worth a damn moment of your time!

  70. […] small business owners.  We have bills to pay like everyone else.   I came across this blog from Kristen Booth a few months ago.  She came across a Craigslist ad by a bride who was complaining that […]

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  72. […] come cheap (if you aren’t sure the reasoning behind the cost, check out posts here, here, and here for more […]

  73. Joan Jorgensen says:

    I have to laugh when I think about how much they spend on everything else surrounding their wedding. Thousands for the dress, thousands for the flowers, cake dinner and then cry about the photographer. I suppose it’s because the photos are rarely seen in crowds with the exception of the newspaper and everything else is to impress. Don’t feel bad you’re not the only ones to get the short end. I can not tell you how often the minister is never paid! My father performed weddings for fifty years. He once signed for the delivery of the flowers before the wedding and saw they had spent 12,000.00 (and that was twenty years ago) and he didn’t receive one dime. He was never a complainer but I found it to be UNBELIEVABLE!

  74. Stefanie Walker says:

    I stumbled upon your blog when trying to find an affordable wedding photographer. While I AGREE 100% of what you said, I do see the brides side as well. Here’s the thing:

    Not every wedding is an 8 to 10 hour day. I, for example, am having a ceremony which will be about 15 minutes long, right down the street from my home. Then back at my house, I will have 30 guests awaiting our arrival for nice conversation. I am not spending tons of money on my dress(that I will probably get off the clearance rack) and I am not wasting a bunch of money on flowers. I see below that Brian Morris suggested that she stops throwing a tantrum and go to a courthouse. So, because I can’t afford everything like every other bride, I can’t still try to make the best out of my situation? That is kind of unfair. While I know you are trying to make a living, so am I. We are all working class Americans, but I think if you are going to be in the field of photography; you should CUSTOMIZE your prices based on what type of wedding the bride is having. My fiance and I met online and have been together for 2.5 years. He lives in England and I live in Chicago. Do you know how much an immigration lawyer costs? $2700. That’s where a huge chunk of our budget is going. The 30 people I have invited, doesn’t even include his side of the family because they can’t afford to come out. Some of us bride’s are cutting tight corners, but we still deserve amazing pictures. End Rant. Sorry, if I offended anyone in anyway.

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  76. […] I wake up the morning after every wedding, feeling like I got ran over by a train. true story. […]

  77. […] goes into building a successful photography business. You can read some handy little articles by Kristen Booth, Danielle Pasternak, and Belinda Philleo…. Okay have you checked those out? Cool. I […]

  78. Beejay Rodriguez says:

    Im a Filmaker, I hope one day everyone will realize why they pay that much for people in the creative industry….1st of all anyone can do it, But not see its not just the skill you pay for…its also the talent. your not paying an operator.. your paying an artist.. this is the same reason why you pay high for a painting…this has always been a big problem in the creative industry to a point that we have a standard industry rates that is meant not for a living but just surviving..and yet people say thing..what they dont realize, they are not even being charge what the person should really get..its easy to pay for someone to fix your sink…but a person who will make your sink an artwork can always demand what he thinks his work is worth cause your not paying for his skill.. you are paying for his idea and that itself is expensive.

  79. […] wondered why wedding photography is so expensive?  This might help shed some light on the […]

  80. Meagan Lamontine says:

    Amen sister. Way to set the record straight! :D

  81. Anonymous says:

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  82. […] That shooting a wedding is a one-day deal where we turn up, press a button and then go home. There is one fantastic ‘rant’ from an american bride mentioned on Kristen Booth’s blog where she says “I mean the “average” persons […]

  83. Jason Brown says:

    I need to raise my prices. I wish I had brides agreeing to pay me $3,000 I sell a lot of $1500 and $2000 weddings but need to work every weekend to make a living in the year. I edit pretty fast in Lightroom with shortcuts and have to be ready for the next weekend. I talk to 2-3 brides a week and need to book one a week to keep up having a wedding every week. Of the $1500 dollar wedding my profit is about $750 I am lucky to make 35,000 in the year for sure. If I sold 3,000 Dollar weddings I could make a decent $70,000 a year. No matter what you think either of these wages will never make me rich, rich people make that three thousand or more daily. I am not sure I could handle two weddings a week, just one seems to be overwhelming enough.

  84. […] For Brides ~ Why wedding photographers are so expensive… – {For Brides} Interview with Aislinn Events, Destination Wedding Planner Tips for Photographers in Their First Year of Business {Wedding Planning Tips} 5 Simple Ideas …… […]

  85. […] this? We aren’t just a bunch of click happy people who want your cash. This is our job. And this is a really great post on why wedding photography costs what it […]

  86. Jim Guy says:

    might want to rotate that image a bit to the left. looks like it leans a bit to the right. :)

  87. Justin Malloy says:

    Everyone stop paying for a photographer for their wedding! That’s a simple solution to supply and demand whereby photographers will price lower because they can’t get business! As long as no one pays photographers then they can’t charge the prices they want!! All you need to do is not care about having your wedding photographed! Common people, do it already!


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I'm a Southern California-based photographer specializing in enchanting photos for couples who believe in Happily Ever After. I've been capturing fairytale love stories around the world since 2010 and have been featured in print and online publications 90+ times.

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