Why Is Wedding Photography So Expensive?

I wrote an article back in 2015 for Wedding Lovely about the cost of wedding photography.  I was thinking about it again recently and decided to do a quick rewrite on the subject. If you’d like to read the original article, click HERE.   Alas, here are 5 reasons why wedding photography is so expensive.

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Yes, quality of photography, but also of equipment. Full frame dslrs and computers don’t run cheap.  In addition, photographers need a variety of lenses to capture the various activities that happen on a wedding day.  Their overhead also includes, taxes and license fees, web hosting, client gifts, film, etc.

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For a seasoned wedding photographer, this isn’t their first rodeo. Photographers know what kinds of moments to look for, are able to anticipate those hugs, high fives, and tears. They understand how the day will unfold and all the special moments in between. They are also able to do this with a smile on their face and a calm voice all while shooting seamlessly in a wide variety of lighting conditions.

A photographer on a wedding day is really several photographers in one - documentarian, product photographer, portrait artist, landscape and architectural photographer as well as pet, child, and family photographer.

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There’s simply more liability on a wedding day.  It can’t be replicated.  If you schedule family photos and it rains, those photos can be rescheduled.  A wedding day typically cannot, so wedding photographers are ready and prepared no matter what the day brings.

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There are only so many weekend dates in a year and a wedding photographer can only be in one place at one time.  By shooting your wedding, they are foregoing other work, but also precious weekends that could be spent with friends and family who are off from work or traveling to see them. Instead, they choose to spend those days with you and your family helping you have the best wedding day experience possible.

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Simply put, photographers are people who have to pay rent, bills, insurance and taxes just like you.  Often times, their taxes are more because they are taxed on their business as well as individually.  That said, a photographer living in a large city most likely charges more than a photographer living in a rural area. 

If you have anything you think I should add to the list, I’d love to hear! Leave a comment for me below.

Pink Coastal Bridal Inspiration | Beaufort, South Carolina

Last November, I went to Beaufort, SC and had Taylor Doehrman of Taylor Dawn join me for a couple shoots.  We did one at Anchorage 1770 then woke up super early the following morning for a sunrise beach session on the coast.  If you've ever thought about doing a morning after the wedding shoot, I'd highly suggest going someplace like this.   We found this quiet little sandy beach and it was the perfect dreamy spot.

south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot
south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot
south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot
south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot
south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot
south carolina coast beach bridal shoot
south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot
south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot
south carolina coastal beach bridal shoot

Location | Beaufort, SC

Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Design | Taylor Dawn

Bridal Boutique | Fabulous Frocks of Atlanta

Top | Garnish and Frill

Skirt | Jenny Yoo

Model | Anna Schuler

Film | Portra 400 on Pentax 645nii

Film Lab | The Find Lab


10 Days in the Life of a Wedding Photographer

"You’re a photographer, right?  So, like, what do you do all day when you're not shooting?"

I get this question often.  It’s not that people are trying to discredit my profession or think that I just sit at home watching Netflix all day.  They are just genuinely curious.  It’s not a typical 9-5 job.  There is the flexibility that I can do laundry while I’m working or take a personal day if I need to, but many people don’t realize that running a photography business is actually less time shooting and much more time actually running a business.

To show people what I do, I decided to keep a record of everything I did for 10 days.  Each week could look different, but this may give you a good idea as to what a photographer does behind the scenes and what the day-to-day might look like.

DAY 1: Sunday, February 19th

10:30am - Church

12:30-5:00pm - Simply Foxhall Workshop - Hosted by Simply Cater.  I photographed the styled shoot element, shot some behind the scenes of the event, and spoke.

Side Note: I don’t typically work on Sundays, but an opportunity came up for me to speak and photograph at this event.  Last week I was talking on the phone with organizers, emailing, and preparing my talk - “How to draft your perfect photo timeline.”

BTS of Amberly, of Wrennwood Design, lighting the table at the Simply Foxhall Workshop

DAY 2: Monday, February 20th - President’s Day

Some of my friends with 9-5 jobs had this day as a holiday, some didn't.  I decided to go "halfsies".  Also seeing as I worked the day before, I felt no guilt about taking a half day.

AM- uploaded, culled, and began editing photos from Sunday

PM - took off to spend time with friends, rest, and read

DAY 3: Tuesday, February 21st

AM - Did some styled and BTS photos for Maybe to Yes Workshop at 433 Bishop

Then, had to leave for a little bit to go meet my clients for their engagement session in Cabbagetown.

PM - Returned for the afternoon portion of Maybe to Yes for more BTS shots.

At home “after hours” - uploaded engagement photos and day one of maybe to yes and culled images, Sent headshots to a friendor. 

BTS of Taylor, of Taylor Dawn Design, at the Maybe to Yes Workshop

DAY 4: Wednesday, February 22nd

AM + PM - At Maybe to Yes all day - headshots, styled shoot, and BTS photos

"After hours" Started drafting blog post for Brianne McMullan Events

DAY 5: Thursday, February 23rd

AM - uploaded and culled Maybe to Yes workshop and styled shoot photos from day 2, Returned emails, Booked an engagement session, Called ga doe about log in info

Went to the Atlanta Youth Academy (AYA) to hang out with my mentee, Precious.*

*Yes, this is one of the perks to making my own schedule.  I can volunteer in the middle of the day!

Returned groom’s suit from Sunday’s workshop

PM - Finished editing Simply Foxhall Workshop photos, Uploaded to online gallery, Returned more emails

Some goodies from Grice Grove that were at her pop up shop at Simply Foxhall Workshop

DAY 6: Friday, February 24th

AM - Chapel at AYA and 2nd graders were leading. (When I went the day before, Precious and her teacher asked if I was coming and who could say no to that sweet child so I went two days in row.)

Posted blog post and promoted on social media

PM - Uploading the rest of SFW photos to online gallery, Reviewed a portfolio/ website for a newer photographer, Met her for lunch, Sent Simply Foxhall Workshop photos to the organizers of the event, Edited MTY headshots

Our new Tuesdays Together Atlanta leaders and speakers at Maybe to Yes - Kristen Green and Sarah Chancey

DAY 7: Saturday, February 25th

8am - Engagement Session at O4W park - again I don't normally do portrait sessions on Saturdays that I don't have weddings, but she was flying in from Nebraska and thus, I broke my own rule again... must get better at that.

No more work this weekend! 

DAY 8: Sunday, February 26th


Sabbath aka no work or emails for me today!

Taylor taught attendees about styling and they got to play with pretty paper, ribbon and jewelry

DAY 9: Monday, February 27th

AM - Emails - following up with brides, discussing engagement sessions, with my CPA to file my taxes, Submitting shoots to publications, Signed up for webinars, Editing -worked on MTY, finished editing an engagement session, Planning/ dreaming for future fun things like workshops, mentoring sessions and a summer intern. Be on the look out for all these fun things potentially happening in the future!

PM - Exported engagement sesh and uploaded to online gallery, Posting to social media, Blog post planning

DAY 10: Tuesday, February 28th

AM - Respond to emails, Finish blog post, Post blog post, Cull images for styled shoot submission

PM - Went on a run (again with the work perks - I give myself freedom to run in the middle of the day), Submit to publication, Research engagement shoot locations, Listen to Ashlyn Writes Webinar, Start editing MTY Workshop day 2


So there ya have it - 10 days in my life and what I did.  Like I said before, every week, every day could look different depending on what is necessary to accomplish that day.  Some days look more exciting with workshops and photo sessions while others tend to be a bit less exciting like doing taxes and talking to people on the phone at various government agencies.  Through it all, I'm happy to get to run my own company for as long as the Lord wills it.

Peace up, A-Town down,