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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Pissed off Bride
Jesse Beals, Photographer
Tracyton | WA | USA | Posted: 2:48 AM on 01.25.12
->> Had a good chuckle on this craigslist post of a bride looking for a wedding photographer.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/evs/2804332414.html

Would love to see what she gets photo wise under her budget.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (3) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Tod Gomes, Photographer, Assistant
Pleasant Hill | CA | USA | Posted: 3:37 AM on 01.25.12
->> Too bad there are not / can not be any replies on this listing. I would like to read those lol.... I guess none of these "$3,000 photographers" have educated her on what they actually do. Here's the priceless line "All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them".
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 4:12 AM on 01.25.12
->> Boilerplate and non-proofread:

Here's a quick rundown on why wedding photography costs so much:
1. Decent camera gear is expensive. When I show up to a wedding, it's with 2 pro camera bodies ($5000 each), 6 or so lenses (about $1500 each), a couple of cheaper backup cameras ($1500 each), some lighting gear (a cool $3000), a bunch of cards ($900), and a computer that I can use to edit ($3500 with software). That's leaving out a lot of things too.
2. I don't get to hang out. I'm working. My butt. Off. I don't know if you've ever pulled a 12 hour day (with a few pounds of gear on your shoulders), but that's what an 8 hour wedding turns into once you count in all the setup, takedown, shooting, backing up, making sure everything is perfect. Every once in a while I get to be at a wedding where there's enough time to eat. Some people insist on it, even. It's really up to the client with me - I can be overworked or not when shooting the most significant images of your life :)
3. I also get to pay an assistant or second shooter. A couple hundred or several hundreds, respectively.
4. I get to pay taxes. That's only around 30-35% of any income.
5. Then, I get to spend several working days editing your photos. Typically around 2 since I want to go over them a few times and keep a lot of the edits.
6. I spend a lot of time making sure you're happy. Usually a couple days.
7. I have to market myself in a very competitive field. Takes a couple of days a week.
8. By the end of it, I'm making less than you if I only get three weddings per month on average.

Note: this leaves me with 0 days off.

This leaves out continuing education, training, marketing costs, etc.

There are plenty of places to cut corners. Once you drop into the $1000 and lower range, you usually get someone with a single non-professional camera and third-party lens that has trouble focusing, a turnaround time of 6 months (if they don't burn out by then), your skin is turned green, and they really did just hang out at your wedding. I get to watch them pop up and then go out of business a year or two later.

A good wedding photographer will take photos that are better than you thought possible given how much less you spent on decorating a cake and having fancy settings instead of DIY settings - which usually will more than offset the difference. We can take a relatively unattractive venue and make it look like the Ritz with a couple of well-placed flashes. Twenty years from now, that's all you will remember - things went so fast that it's just a blur. A lot of my older friends and family regret that they went cheap on their photographer. They can't go back.
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 4:17 AM on 01.25.12
->> (Yes, I did send it to her)
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Martin McNeil, Photographer
London | London | United Kingdom | Posted: 7:12 AM on 01.25.12
->> Can't wait for you to post her response, Israel :)
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Michael Prengler, Photographer
Fairview | TX | USA | Posted: 8:40 AM on 01.25.12
->> I think she also owns, Hot Chicks with Big Cameras. : )
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Jack McCoy, Photographer
Baldwin | NY | USA | Posted: 9:01 AM on 01.25.12
->> Her poor husband to be...oh boy!
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Garrett Hubbard, Photographer
Washington | D.C. | USA | Posted: 10:32 AM on 01.25.12
->> I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that this woman is not a creative. Which is not a negative thing. It just means that she likely doesn't value art or the creative process.

At some point in our lives, all of us try to find the exception to the saying "you get what you pay for." Some of us learn from the experience but the foolish are bound to repeat it.

I hope she feels better after venting on Craigslist. I cannot imagine the amount of time she will spend over the coming weeks pouring through countless emails from non-professional photographers and then attempting to vet them.
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Jeff Blake, Photographer
Columbia | SC | USA | Posted: 10:41 AM on 01.25.12
->> Yes, I really want to go work hard for someone who doesn't value my work at all!

I was going to post a long reply, but Israel hit all the points I was going to (and better than I would have).

-Jeff
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Dave Londres, Photographer, Assistant
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 11:45 AM on 01.25.12
->> I bet she spent $5k on a dress without thinking twice.
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Salisbury | NC | USA | Posted: 11:49 AM on 01.25.12
->> I suspect that, if you asked the groom right about now, he'd have his own question:

Why is it so hard to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun FIANCE?
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Keith Lucas, Photographer
Verona | VA | USA | Posted: 12:27 PM on 01.25.12
->> @ Jeff.....Priceless....I was thinking the same thing...having been married for 30 years, I am thinking this poor guy thinks 30 minutes married to her would be an eternity after he reads that rant...

Israel, please post the reply...though my money is on you never geting one...

Better yet, let's all respond that we can pull it off for 500 each...we will use the disposables and we will hand them to her after the wedding and she can pay for porcessing...
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Tommy Metthe, Photographer
Abilene | TX | | Posted: 12:34 PM on 01.25.12
->> Since she started this subject... Why do bakers charge so much for wedding cakes?? I mean I can go to the grocery store and buy a box of Betty Crocker cake mix and frosting for like $4. I understand a wedding cake would take 4-5 boxes of cake mix, but how does that justify a baker charging hundreds of dollars for a wedding cake??
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Southern California | CA | USA | Posted: 12:39 PM on 01.25.12
->> Just from the post itself, why would any photographer or anyone provide services to her at any price. This one screams bridezilla stay away from it at any cost. I have turned down brides before after meeting with them and it is not easy, they get super pissed like they were left at the altar. Good that I always start off any consultation with this is an opportunity for both of us to see if we fit each others style in what they are looking for. Too many just want to book every job they can.
It's nice to work for yourself so you can accept work you want and be around people you enjoy.
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Gregory Greene, Photographer
Durham | NH | USA | Posted: 12:42 PM on 01.25.12
->> Kind of ironic that she is posting on Craigslist as that place is usually full of really competititve offers by "Pro Wedding Photographers". :)
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Tod Gomes, Photographer, Assistant
Pleasant Hill | CA | USA | Posted: 1:30 PM on 01.25.12
->> Good for you Israel! Yes, please do post the reply here if you get one!
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 4:02 PM on 01.25.12
->> "Why do bakers charge so much for wedding cakes?"

Why do caterers get so much for food? You can go to the local Kroger and get gallons of macaroni salad with paper plates and plastic utensils for not much money at all.
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David Shea, Photographer
Riverside | CA | USA | Posted: 8:36 PM on 01.25.12
->> All you guys should really relax. I think it's refreshing that someone is clearly looking at the long term and planning her expenses accordingly.

Put yourself in her shoes for a moment.

If you had to consider the expense of paying a wedding photographer to attend each of your next THREE weddings, I think you would be equally upset that wedding photographers charge too much money!

Over the the course of the next ten years, she would spend $9,000 JUST ON THE PHOTOGRAPHY! Adding to the frustration, $6,000 of that will be wasted on weddings that she will not want to remember anyway. That is so WACK! Wedding photography is such a rip-off!

So you see, that $400 craigslist wedding photographer is looking PRETTY good right now. It'll cost her only $1200 for her three weddings and now she can afford to have the open bar she's always dreamed of...

p.s.
At least she found an amazingly talented copyeditor for her ad!
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John Tucker, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cordova | TN | USA | Posted: 9:44 PM on 01.25.12
->> Why don't they ever gripe about that overpriced limo or that overpriced cake, or even that overpriced catered meal and what about that dress that they will never wear again? All that crap lasts that one day and after that it is long gone. The only things they have are the photos and the rings.....that is where they should invest their money. Then again, they are getting married, how smart can they be?
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Kirby Yau, Photographer, Assistant
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 10:35 PM on 01.25.12
->> Lunchables for the wedding guests!
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Los Angeles : SFO : HNL | CA | usa | Posted: 10:42 PM on 01.25.12
->> i sent this to her...

dear puget sound bride...
i am sorry you are having a difficult time finding a photographer for your wedding.

but there is a reason why some photographers charge $3,000 (or more) to shoot a wedding. and if you really think about it, there is a reason why you haven't hired the $1,000 photographer...you don't like their work.

so, aside from the obvious fact that talent cost money, there is more to it than just 'hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them'.

most likely that $3,000 photographer has an assistant and/or a second photographer. i don't do a wedding without one simply because i can not be everywhere. having a second photographer provides a different perspective of the same event, thus giving you more photos. if your photographer is not providing a second shooter, hire a different photographer or be prepared to be disappointed.
cost - $300 - 700

plus the cost of prints
cost - $200 - 400

outside of the wedding day, we will meet with you at least twice, once prior to the wedding and once after the wedding. sometimes more depending on the circumstances.
approx. 3 - 5 hours

if we haven't shot at your wedding site, we'll also go scout out the location(s) to see what the lighting is like and to figure out where to shoot your formal photos and group photos.
approx. 1 - 2 hours

we will also go to your wedding rehearsal to get an idea of what your ceremony will be like. at least i do. i don't like surprises.
approx. 2 hours

you are also paying for experience. we are prepared for just about anything. the more weddings a photographer has done, the more he knows what to be prepared for and what to do when a crisis occurs. like buying the bride a martini (or beverage of choice) when she's stressed out about the limo driver being late. or having bobbie pins or spare buttons ready. i carry a 'bride and groom' kit with band aids, towel wipes, thread needle, tissue, mirror, lighter, swiss army knife, pins and clips of all sizes and a myriad of other little things that may come in handy.
cost - priceless

when we are not shooting or editing or meeting with you, as business owners, we also need to take care of our business. we need to do our bookkeeping, our marketing, our equipment maintenance. yes, you pay for part of this because these are parts of the cost of doing business and part of the money we earn needs to cover the time to do these things. our work is more than just the wedding day and editing.

on top of that, we also have to pay our own medical insurance, equipment insurance and liability insurance, which might be something you might not realize if your employer provides this for you. this is also the cost of doing business.
cost - $500 - $800/month

as a professional photographer that only does photography for a living, there are three reasons that i can think of that a wedding photographer would charge less than $1500 for a whole day wedding...
1. he/she has a full time job and does it on the side for extra income. thus eliminating the need for a steady livable income or having to pay for their own medical insurance...and i forgot to mention, retirement planning.
2. he/she can't command that much money because their photos are not worthy of that rate, and therefore, can not be a full-time photographer.
3. he/she doesn't understand completely the value of their work or the cost of doing business and will either quickly learn to adapt or go broke trying.

so, yes, good photography cost money and unfortunately, this is what has happened with the advent of the digital revolution. because there are no film and processing costs, people have begun to believe that photography has gotten cheaper, but the reality is that it has not.

i spend more time at my computer now because of it. i also need to upgrade my cameras and computer every 3 years. in the film days, i shot with the same cameras for 15 years and didn't even need a computer except for invoicing and bookkeeping.

so i hope that i have added a little insight into why some photographers charge $3,000. it's not that we are trying to rip you off (ok, some might be because some aren't worth that much). but honestly this is what it costs to run a photography business successfully.

but i do wish you luck finding a 'decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.' while 'fun' should be included, 'decently priced' and 'exceptional' and 'amazingly talented' are usually mutually exclusive terms not typically found describing the same thing.

it's not impossible...but in the end, that old saying 'you get what you pay for' usually applies, so choose wisely. you don't get a second chance. there are no do-overs.

and a little advice, you might want to change your ad so you don't sound like a disrespectful, demanding bride. while this is your day and it IS all about you, having a bad (yet honest) attitude about what we do for a living is not going to win over any self-respecting photographer. any photographer, regardless of their rate, is not going to want to work for someone who belittles their profession.

respectfully yours,

an amazingly talented photographer (but not cheap)

http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/evs/2804332414.html
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Jack McCoy, Photographer
Baldwin | NY | USA | Posted: 11:17 PM on 01.25.12
->> "Why do caterers get so much for food? You can go to the local Kroger and get gallons of macaroni salad with paper plates and plastic utensils for not much money at all." What kind of wedding is that Jim?
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David Harpe, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 12:27 AM on 01.26.12
->> She should just let her uncle shoot it...
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Rhona Wise, Photographer, Photo Editor
Miami/Ft Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 2:54 AM on 01.26.12
->> Amen Darrell-

Here's another:

http://blog.nikkimaydayphotography.com/2012/01/26/why-wedding-photographers.../
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Sean D. Elliot, Photographer, Photo Editor
Norwich | CT | USA | Posted: 10:37 AM on 01.26.12
->> i suspect this bride is regretting that post by now. here is another very reasonable response:

http://www.kristenboothblog.net/2012/01/for-brides-why-wedding-photographer.../
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 11:16 AM on 01.26.12
->> I've written this more than once, but there's a ongoing tendency to not value the work of others. The attempt to educate a potential client is somewhat successful, but it's not a cure all.

BTW, Congrats Sean on your re-election at NPPA.


M
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Mike Huffstatler, Photographer, Assistant
Rancho Cucamonga | Ca | United States | Posted: 11:50 AM on 01.26.12
->> Have any of you heard back from the bride? I've seen the emails posted here as well as other site, but nobody has mentioned a reply from her.
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Brett Groehler, Photographer
Duluth | MN | USA | Posted: 5:23 PM on 01.26.12
->> Israel and Darrell:

well said. I love it.

A photographer friend of mine used to say

"If you want cheap photos hire a cheap photographer."

Enough said.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 5:41 PM on 01.26.12
->> Or, as Red Adair said, "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
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Ron Jenkins, Photographer
Fort Worth | Tx | USA | Posted: 6:06 PM on 01.26.12
->> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)
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Darrell Miho, Photographer
Los Angeles : SFO : HNL | CA | usa | Posted: 9:21 PM on 01.26.12
->> i have not heard back from her and i imagine no one will.
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Michael Lopez, Student/Intern
Ventura | Ca | USA | Posted: 6:03 PM on 01.28.12
->> What she doesn't know is that her divorce will cost more than the photographer.
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Thread Title: Pissed off Bride
Thread Started By: Jesse Beals
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