Clever Infographic for Brides Reveals All of the Little Known Costs of Being a Wedding Photographer


We’ve said this about a few other wedding photography resources, but this infographic is the kind of thing every bride and groom should be shown before they embark on the harrowing journey of hiring a wedding photographer. If they did, maybe they wouldn’t be so shocked at what are, essentially, perfectly reasonable prices.

The infographic was put together by Italian photographer Francesco Spighi, and in it he uses the well-known analogy of the iceberg to describe the costs of wedding photography. Meaning that most of the costs involved are ‘hidden’ beneath the surface.

So while all wedding photographers know they’re there, the average couple (or amateur thinking of starting a wedding photography business) doesn’t have any clue what they’re in for. Scroll down to get a peek beneath the surface:


Of course, as Tiffany Mueller over at DIY Photography points out, the costs and equipment described are used in most types of photography, not just wedding. The reason infographics like this are necessary in wedding photography is that there’s such a disconnect between the person hiring the photographer and the person taking the pictures.

You expect a Director of Photography or Art Director to know these things; none of us can honestly expect a bride or groom to. Which is why you should maybe print this puppy out (or something like it) and hand it out to your potential clients. It could come in handy when it comes time to discuss pricing.

(via DIY Photography)

  • pgb0517

    It’s lazy writing. Still, it doesn’t help that the Chicago Manual of Style has flip-flopped on this rule in modern times.

  • Adam Cross

    then surely spell checking would be even more important for a non-native speaker, right? (though we don’t actually know his level of English,it may be his first language, who knows; I’ve seen worse than this from English people)

  • emPORTAL

    This is not an infographic… it is more a lot of statements, with supporting imagery.

  • Grive

    I haven’t heard or seen anyone picketing a photographer.

    And, pretty much all freelancers who work on a profession that anyone can be an amateur at have to deal with this, as well as most professionals who charge a flat rate for a service. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

    If you’re incapable of convincing your clients that you’re worth whatever you’re charging over a “fauxtographer”, then you really need to check your sales pitch, your porftolio or your catalog.

    “I charge that because I guarantee this quality [portfolio] without issues, without fault, no matter what, on your day.”

    You need to make them believe you when you promise that. And you need that quality to be well beyond what someone with a Canon 7D, a hotshoe-mounted 430exii and a diffuser can pull off.

    The answer to “fauxtographers” is not to banish them into oblivion or make sure you need a special secret member’s club card to buy a DSLR. The answer is to prove to the client that the camera doesn’t make the professional. Wedding photography is one of the easiest photography fields to justify your price: The couple have one shot at this. Allay those fears.

  • Lee

    Nobody cares what are your costs…. It is just funny to see how people are defending a declining industry by blaming the customer for being insensitive to what are the cost in one day’s work.

    Please go back and study economics 101, entry barrier is low, rapidly changing technology, etc etc will lead to….. ???

  • oscar

    Not true… iso 4000 means bad glass or total darkness. Even in moonlight you would have more light. In low light conditions and manual focus a photographer should miss at most 1 in 3. So if you have a D600 and a 35/1.4 glass a good photographer would be very well equiped. I shot recently a party in the night and my appertures went from 3.5 up and didn’t need flash until total darkness when dancing in strobos and missed at most 1/3 of the shots with a D70

  • oscar

    Point taken but you don’t use the flash to get enough light in a wedding. You use it to overpower other lights, or to darken the negative space or to show that you have equipemnt that justify your price. Thats why I said that with the former equipement you could get good results in the post. :)

  • Matti R

    For the hidden costs I would like to add the spell checker…

  • Dylan

    Hit the nail on the head with that one. I would never hand this to a client. If I got handed this, it would leave a very bad impression of that photographer. Instead, I think its better to sit down and just explain the costs with people.

  • Dylan

    There’s also places that don’t allow flash photography.

  • Dylan

    Nothing wrong with shooting with a Canon 7d and a speed light. My main body is a 50d, and my backup is a 40d. I’ve never had complaints about my gear because people don’t care about that, they care about the final product. You’re not going to book a wedding client and have them break down all your gear and then hire you, or not, because of that. Unless you’re shooting another photographers wedding, but then they should only be looking at the quality of your work, not your gear.

  • Grive

    Oh, I did not mean to imply that there was anything wrong with that setup. I’m sorry to give that impression. I worded that very poorly.
    You can get good pictures from pretty much any DSLR that has been in the market in the last five or so years. I used that example as what I’ve seen as the stereotypical “fauxtographer” (amateur) setup: Premium crop-sensor and a 430exii flash (if there is one).

    My point was not that the 7D was a poor camera, my point was that if you want to call yourself a pro photographer and charge like one, there must be more to your work that what a random guest with a good camera can achieve.

    Especially considering that as the “official” photographer, you have a lot more leeway in what you’re allowed to do vs. someone else.

  • Dylan

    Ah okay, sorry for the confusion.

  • Bryan Haywood

    Well you are right… there is not a certain level of cost a professional should be using… the cost should equate to skill, style and gear….but we’re losing out on people who’s grandmas bought them a camera from Costco and who pirate editing software and who’s parents bought them a PC. They have no start up costs… so 400 bucks is 400 bucks. They often don’t even hire a second shooter either. So it’s up to us to educate our clients on the value of our services and that we’re worth the 2,000-4,000 for their wedding if not more depending on the size of the wedding. We live in a society where we don’t care about quality all we care about is “Good enough” our craft is treated as disposable and people don’t understand that we are creating something that will out live us all…that we’ve frozen in time a moment of history that you can’t get back… there are no do overs. I’m not one for selling fear but they should be cautious with who they deal with

  • Mr Hogwallop

    Sorry, this is bottom feeder’s tactic. If the work doesn’t justify the cost guy needs to say “but look at all this other stuff instead of the photos”
    ….And explaining that you need to eat is pathetic, especially when you have thousands of $ of equipment around your neck.
    There are people who really do NEED TO EAT. Grow up and become a better photographer.

  • OtterMatt

    That’s the distinction: a professional should be providing a better product by default, because of their experience, dedication, and knowledge. There comes a point where a professional shooter can’t compete on price, because to do so would require lowering the quality of service so far as to be useless. Your clients simply need to know that you’re WORTH what you’re charging, not why you need to charge what you do. The reason the market is saturated isn’t because of pro shooters. It’s because of the never-ending torrent of hobbyist shooters who think they can run with the pros because they know how the auto-focus works on their Rebel.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    …and, once again ‘photographers’ are rubbish at economics and should stop handing out business advice.

    Businesses don’t set their prices based on their costs plus an arbitrary markup, they set their prices based on what the market is willing to pay. So this (jumbled, messy and plain ugly) infographic is actually *worse* than useless because it perpetuates the myth that your entire value as a photographer is based on the cost of your gear plus 10%.


  • Edgar Allan Bro

    Armchair photographers.
    ..whose language.
    …their spelling and syntax errors.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    No one ever questions costs in any other industry?
    No one complains about gas prices or dentist bills?

    What kind of magical fairy land do you live in? Jesus. Try getting outside your mom’s basement once in a while.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    Getting the dummies riled up is easy clickbait.

    Next, let’s have a story about Creative Cloud, then one about how Canon is totally better than Nikon.

  • Stolz Productions

    JAJAJA nobody makes money down the road selling reprints!

    In my contract there is a clause that allows the photographer “me” to use photos of the event or shoot in my publicity or portafolio, that clause has another one with the same number right next to it that says the photographer “me” can’t use the images for self promotion. Its a sticky subject and since I sometimes shoot weddings of artists, politicians or even managers of these people where many actors, singers etc are in attendance at the wedding but, in the US and this is backed by twitter as well as Facebook, by law in the US unless the photographer renounces his copyright to the client the photographer retains copyright of the images taken and can use them and control them as he wishes.

    If you are shooting in the US it is important to make sure that your contract covers who owns the rights to the images and also make sure that if you are going to use them for auto promotion in your website or printed portafolio that it appears in the contract. Don’t just focus on the economic characteristics of the contract but also on use, delivery, obligations of both parties.

    Reprints are a joke and best case scenario you will get $5 for a reprint and end up spending $$ to save all those files.

  • Stolz Productions

    I agree with both OtterMatt and Bryan, the thing is who do you compete with? Let the amateurs compete with the amateurs and as professionals let our work speak for itself.

    Here is Mexico prices for wedding photography depending on what is offered in the deliverables vary from $700 USD to $10K USD and so you have the newbies, amateurs and uncle Bill’s in the $700 to $2000 US range.

    Personally I calculate my rates on an hourly rate based on what I feel my time is worth with a minimum of 2 hours (I never bill less than 2 hours), when I quote I always take into consideration deliverables which might be impressions, album, photo retouching in cases of magazine or model books, and I work from there. If I am going to use my retouching guy in the wedding photos I calculate that into my pricing as well as travel time and costs (I do a lot of work all around Mexico).

    Add to that if I am taking another photographer with me (weddings of more than 200 people) or we are going to shoot video (2 videographers) assistants etc. All of that taken into account.

    I do run promotions but those usually are for MY benefit as the photographer, engagement session or prenup session where I dedicate an hour or two to the couple and sometimes their family. Why? It’s a chance to bond with the couple, gain confidence, its super informal so it gives them a chance to be themselves and I get to see the challenges of the shots ahead at the wedding. Details that I need to take into account for esthetics on the bride or even the groom and decide how to overcome them.

    So lets stop competing with amateurs and focus on delivering a better product to our clients with high quality images that any magazine would die for. (even if they are not for a magazine every bride wants to be that magazine model)

  • Stolz Productions

    I am not sure I see either of Oscar or Davids specific points, I have probably come to know more wedding photographers in 8 years since my wife expanded her event coordination business to include weddings.

    Lets break it down first whether a photographer uses or doesn’t use a flash for a particular shot or event could be a personal choice or could be lack of equipment, the D600 is a bad example because it has a built in flash and thus the “amateur” would most likely put the camera on full auto and shoot away until the card is full.

    it is about the glass but I don’t think at a wedding with normal lighting and conditions using a 35mm / 50mm or 85mm 1.2 or 1.8 lens you would ever push above 1600ISO (I never have anyway). Then my concerns would be using a 1.2, 1.4 or 1.8 f-stop for an entire wedding shoot, I mean you lose some of the creativity unless you go to 2.8 and above (everything behind the focal point and in front blurs at least some)

    Oscar I never talk bad about others work but if I was to critique the gallery you posted I would say it lacks the “wow” factor, looks like you didn’t even do color or lighting correction but you can see the disadvantage of using a 35mm 1.4. On the flip side the iguana shot looks nice although I would have worked it up in post production better.

    If you look at David’s work his photos come off the page at you, they have depth, they have color and are alive. You can see the detail, the thought in the poses and the shot and you can see that he likes to experiment with lighting.

    Every photographer takes to a shoot what he or she feels necessary, frequently my wife has said to me “you take too much with you to a shoot” or “other wedding photographers don’t carry 2 cameras” but I have this need to be prepared for ANY possible situation from changes in lighting needs to having a moment when I see an opportunity to play with lighting using synchronized Canon 600EX flashes or for a beach or outdoor day wedding my reflectors or defusers. The point is no 2 photographers are alike, we all think and work differently.

    No Oscar you don’t use flash to “overpower” other lighting, you use flash to compliment existing lighting and create a better image, if you are just using flash to overpower other lighting you don’t understand the incredible tool that the flash is. I simple use a flash sometimes for fill lighting, other times for scene lighting and other times yet for creativity.

    Dylan is also correct, some places like some churches, museums and other historic places don’t allow flashes but that is a part of being prepared and knowing the location of the shoot before, looking at the logistics of the shoot and planning every shot before the day comes and you are standing there with that 4.0 – 22 lens and have to crank the ISO up to 4000 to compensate.

    I don’t think I EVER go to a wedding shoot alone, I always take at least a second photographer and an assistant. I always have 2 cameras with 2 different lenses mounted and at least 4 lenses in the bag. I generally carry 2 of everything in case of any problem. One day in a “trash the dress” shoot a wave came unexpectedly and one of my 5D’s got wet, without the second camera the shoot would have been over.

    Shoots I will do alone are fashion or books, studio work, commercial stuff, but I usually take an assistant to help with the kit and sometimes a scene stylist depending on the shoot and the budget.

  • Stolz Productions

    While I didn’t criticize any of the grammar simply because I saw that the photographer who did it is not from a english language country and I wasn’t looking at it to grade him on spelling and grammar.

    I don’t think it is a good tool for selling, it kinda reminds me of the fire alarm salesman who comes into your house with a flip book presentation and a cassette recording of the presentation and plays the tape flipping the pages.

    I am NOT a salesman and don’t believe in the hard sell, if they believe in you they will pay your price. I refuse to sit and explain my equipment costs, overhead, payroll and other incidentals to potential clients to justify my price. If you go into a restaurant and sit down open the menu and a NY Steak costs $100 dollars you don’t ask the waiter or the owner why it costs that much, and the waiter or owner isn’t gonna spend even 30 seconds explaining why he has to charge that much or hand you a flyer with the breakdown of rent, electricity, water, gas, payroll, stove, grill, product costs to convince you or not, you pay it or leave.

    While I have a website my portfolio is on my iPad and printed and bound by each year of my work. My website has some shots, information and so on but because of who my money shot clients are I cannot publish them on the internet without signed waivers. Some have 1 year clauses others 5 year clauses but the bottom line is I don’t sell on the internet, I need the person in front of my looking at my work so I can see their expressions, so that I can imagine them in their wedding or photo shoot. I always tell clients up front “I am not a traditional wedding photographer” I have a photojournalistic style and don’t like the posed stuff like during the first dance and the couple pauses to look at the camera for the smile shot… I want natural, unposed, tear running down the cheek, the groom whispering in the brides ear. I shoot a lot with a 70-200 2.8 from distance.

    So while the image is great for banter amongst professionals and amateurs alike it is not something that I would publish or share with potential clients. I came across it because a friend in Cancun saw it and sent it to me via Facebook.

  • oscar

    Thnx for the critics, that helps me to be a better photographer. The photos came directly from the camera, no post, I was a guest, and meant to ilustrate the capabilities of a 10 years old Nikon aps-c manual focus (needed service) equipement in the hands of a newby in photography. My point is that the d600 is a full frame camera with 20dB signal/noise around iso4000. If you wanted to put as an example of bad equiped photographer you should had put an eos or equivalent Sony or else aps-c equipement.

  • oscar

    Thanks for the ilustration

  • oscar

    Thanks for the ilustration. Yes you have to be prepared, and only a camera and only a lens without flash you are not, but maybe that person is part of 2 or more photogs, I mean I can have many cameras and pay another photographer to take shots at the same time I do. You are right you need equipement but a sight or talent too. Being talented the more importat thing of both assets. Greetings :)