In this blogpost, we answer the question “How Much Does it Cost to Be a Wedding Photographer?” by adding up all the start-up costs involved in started a wedding photography business.
How Much Does Photography Gear for Weddings Cost?
One of the photographer’s biggest expenses is camera gear. While technology continues to advance what cameras and lenses can do, they don’t seem to be getting less expensive. In fact, professional cameras have more than doubled in price during my photography career. Also, lenses are more expensive than they’ve ever been. Below, I’m going to break down what a basic wedding camera bag worth of gear costs (these are the actual items that I bring to a wedding).
|Canon RF 50MM 1.2 lens||1||2100||2100|
|Canon RF 15-35 2.8 lens||1||1400||1400|
|Canon RF 70-200 lens||1||1400||1400|
|FJ800 Battery powered Monolights||2||500||1000|
|Thinktank Roller bag||1||499||499|
|DJI Mavic Air 2s||1||999||999|
|DJI Ronin Stabilizer||1||479||479|
|Apple Macbook Pro||1||2100||2100|
|Lacie 5TB Harddrive||2||179||358|
That equals a total of $23,416 for equipment fees.
What Are Other Things Wedding Photographers Will Need to Buy?
In addition to camera equipment and similar tangible assets, there are some other items a wedding photographer will need to buy in order to legitimize their business. For example, wedding photographers need at least one, but probably multiple, sample album to show potential clients. Photographers should plan to invest around 1000 dollars for nice quality, archival sample albums. Then, there are the cloud, web, and computer fees. Purchasing a domain from google is about 20 dollars a year. Web hosting is around $500/yr. Online photo storage is around $200/yr. An online shopping cart to sell images and prints to clients costs around $500. Finally, an Adobe subscription costs $600. That brings the total yearly costs for intangible assets to 2820.
What Other Costs Are Involved in Being a Wedding Photographer?
There are a lot of behind-the-scenes costs of being a wedding photographer as well. These vary based on allotted budgets, and some of these can be eliminated (you don’t HAVE to advertise on Facebook if you choose not to, for example). But, the following are common costs associated with running a wedding photography business: Marketing costs, Accountant/Tax, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Email marketing provider, Booking software, FB Ads/Google Ads/Insta + TIktok ads, PPA membership, Health insurance, Retirement, Savings (not figured in total), Car, Studio rent. Business liability insurance. Having an office or studio alone can cost more than a thousand dollars a month plus utilities. I ballpark figure for this section could easily be $47,940.
So, How Much Does it Cost to Be a Wedding Photographer?
Are you ready for the grand total? All in all, these categories add up to $74,176 in startup costs (costs just to get the first client). And then, you have to pay yourself something for all your hard work. Please don’t forget to pay yourself.
When clients wonder why photography costs so much, this is a clear reason why. Photographers invest a lot of their own money into starting a photography business – up to 75 thousand dollars. To get a return on that investment, it’s important for photographers to know the numbers of their business and charge appropriately for their services.
Talk to you soon,
P.S. If you’re a photographer who is in need of some business coaching, I offer mentorships. Contact me via email if you’re interested: email@example.com