How Much Should You Charge To Shoot A Wedding

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This is a free lesson excerpt from Fstoppers’ comprehensive wedding photography tutorial: How to Become a Professional Commercial Wedding Photographer.

Get a preview of the full tutorial here:

  1. tat fung says

    it is very simple , the price you can get to job.

  2. Lukasz S says

    Great content! Thank you!

  3. Gerson Madrid says

    Congratulations with your other NFL gig and your 6th Superbowl ring Tom Brady!!! =D

  4. Henry Torres says


  5. S Tra says

    Don’t listen to this guy. He has no idea what he’s talking about. How much you charge depends on how ugly the bride is. It’s as simple as that. If the bride is hot as hell, you charge a case of beer if that. If the bride is Rosie O’Donnel’s ugly sister, you charge $8,000 per hour. That’s the formula.

  6. American Girl Rider says

    Glad they were telling us their resume. Now where does the value of the title come into this video????

  7. GSquared Wedding Photography says

    Umm… you're not just making up a number. And yes, clients are very discerning. There is so much more that goes in to pricing than what this video tries to say. Just no. Horrible advice.

  8. Bobby Graham says

    Lee's lipstick is totally throwing me off.

  9. Alex Duncanson says

    Excellent advice. This video was a huge help to me.

  10. Sara DeGroot says

    Ugh. There's really no substantial discussion about figuring out how much it costs YOU to stay in business. You could summarize the entire video by saying "just keep charging more and more until people say no".

    Also, can we stop assuming (and repeating) that the bride's dad is paying for everything? Is he also giving the groom a goat? Your assumptions are about as outdated as that background music.

  11. Saske Lee Photography says

    21:05 is so real

  12. Diego Pisante says

    Hey Lee, this information help me a lot, I'm recently moved in to NJ from Brazil and I trying to find myself about how much to charge, and now I have a better start point….great job you are doing on Fstoppers.

  13. Andromeda Aksara says

    Why they are keep talking the same points over and over again. Hempf.

  14. David Smith says

    Great information guys.. what a beautiful job you did putting this video together, straight to the point, and information packed. Bravo!!! Thank you!

  15. Cindy Ayers says

    This was perfect! Just what I needed. Thanks for being real and explaining everything so well.

  16. Bertrand Van Isterdael says

    Total crap seriously the diamond exemple…save little bit to offer a $15000 diamond ring !?!?!?really one more guy living in an other planet!!!!!

  17. silvercat151 says

    Excellent insights. Thanks for this video!

  18. Gabby Jaure says

    When is it best to collect the rest of the payment? at the wedding? or when the photos are being delivered after the wedding.
    By the way… thanks guys for making this video. I've been watching so much of you guys's videos lately and you have been inspiring to go forward with my business.

  19. Dana Grey says

    Unfortunately, this video provides very bad advice! But there is also some good advice! I'm not here to bash Lee and Patrick as I do have respect for them, but let's look at this a different way. Lee & Patrick (F-Stoppers) what are your fixed and variable costs? Are you a registered or licensed professional in the state you operate in? Do you have an LLC, or Corp. filing in the state you operate in? Do you rent a studio or are you operating out of your home? My advice is this… Take all of your fixed cost, like for example a new Nikon D850 from B&H at $3296.95 and add 15% for replacement cost, ($494.54) which would bring it to $3791.49. Now, if you take 40 working hours a week for 52 weeks a year you get 2080 working hours. Now take $3791.49 / 2080 = $1.82 an hour. Do this with all of your fixed cost and if you put enough work into it and you are new, you can surely come up with a realistic ballpark figure for variable costs. Look at your old utility bills including your monthly cellphone bills. Add them all up over the past 12 month and then get an average. You should also know what your auto and homeowner insurance cost each month, so do the same. Per IRS rules, you can claim about 25% of your utility bills, if you operate out of your home. Other costs are like your laptop, internet, your subscription to Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop, again, I add 15% to all fixed equipment cost for replacement costs. What if you rent? Well, easy get on sites like and you can get daily rental costs for about every piece of gear out there. Again, this is a fixed cost so add 15% so after a few gigs, you can actually buy stuff.

    Most everyone has an old pay stub to figure cost like retirement, social security, medicare, and those cost, which will be variable. Now that you have a list of all of your fixed and variable costs, what about your wage? The Census Bureau puts photographers at a sad hourly wage of about $25 an hour. You need to know your costs of unemployment tax, local, state, and federal income tax rates, social security, etc, and all that is added to your $25 and hour, which you are likely to be is the $75 to $125 range. Now add up all of your costs, including all of your overhead (fixed and variable costs) as well as profit… some my opt for a fixed rate or a percentage like 5% to 25% based on your market, skills and experience. Then take all of that and divide it by 2080 hours and that is your magic number! Say that you want to make $100, 000 a year…. / 2080 hrs = $48.08. All of your other cost work out to $200 an hour. Same thing… Now you're at $250 an hour.

    You have a bride who likes your work and she wants you to shoot 8 hours at her wedding…. 8 x $250.00 = $2000.00 Whoa! Wait, what the hell? How the hell can I shoot a wedding for $2000.00? Simple! That is just one wedding! Now times that by the average of 35 weddings a year… that is $70,000. But you need $100K, so that means you need to book 50 weddings. You don't want to do that! So you enlist a second shooter and that works out to $125 and plus your $250 an hour = $375 and hour for 8 hrs. = $3000. That means you need to book 34 weddings a year and a good average without cramming is 35 as Lee and Patrick state… $3000 per wedding (8 hrs of shooting) x 34 booked weddings = $102,000 annually. Not a bad gross income!

    Here's the problem that plagues our industry! Rather than work the numbers like I have done, we have people just wing it and pull numbers out of thin air! Or as Lee points out an average of 15% of the total cost of a wedding in your area. Don't do that because you could be losing money! Know what your cost are and charge accordingly! Most don't want the hassle of the paperwork or added expenses, so they never register their business! But you want to call yourself a damn "ARTIST. If you are charging any amount and not a registered business and you get caught, bear in mind you are now engaging in tax evasion, which it is not hard to check hosting companies to see when you setup your website, Facebook pages and other social media accounts where you are promoting your services as a professional photographer. Further, most are not paying themselves unemployment tax, paying local, state, federal or even social security tax, nor even figuring for retirement! Instead you play the feast and famine game between gigs… charge $6000 for a wedding, while working a fulltime job, bitch, whine and complain about people using cell phones and they have absolutely no idea of what good photography is! Then, you guys have the nerve to call yourself a "professional" and an "artist" when the reality is you are a "Professional Hobbyist" at best! You then want to play show and tell of social media site to say "Look at me! Look at me! Look what I can do!" You further plaster and ruin your images with your watermarks with is nothing my than advertising… and I have seen so-call professional wedding photogs put their watermarks on a bride's wedding images. OMG! I have went through the over-priced high res images about 7 of my friends got and I sat down with each and we re-edited their images, removed watermarks and had the edits professionally printed. They all felt like they were ripped off and rightly so when you price your photography by how much a bride has for a wedding photography budget, or at 15% of her total cost. They were telling their friends and I was getting tons of request but I hate wedding photography and I don't want to shoot them or have to fix professional hobbyist artist's work! Now four of them, we went back to the photog and I had them ask for the outtakes and at least a review of the photog's full set. All four found images they wanted but the photog withheld with the damn excuse of I just wanted to put my best work out there! As you an artist or a photographer providing a service? If you're an artist, stop doing weddings! If you are a photog providing wedding photography, let your client pick! My one friend found an image of her grandmother plastering some wedding cake in the face of her hubby after the father-daughter dance. To her that image meant more to her than most of the entire album! Again the photog said "I didn't like that shot and it wasn't my best work so he withheld it. The image was a bit underexposed but we were able clean it up pretty decent. See Joe Buissink's website. He as a image of a bride and groom slightly fuzzy and it truly captures the moment. That is what clients want and are willing to pay more for!

    You guys who are charging out the ass for professional hobbyist work and bucking the system makes it hard on those of us work are running a business and going it legit!

    Lastly I did a spread sheet using using the data from and in Ohio I used 8 major cities and the average cost of those 8 for a wedding is $16,017 on the high end, total! The photography came in at $2631.00 with an additional $1480 for digital photos, engagement sessions, albums, prints and even a photo booth! If you combine those that is $4111.00. If you are charging more than that, you are ripping people off! Further if you take a deposit in Ohio you better review the law as you need to comply with 7 points of law in order to do that! (Ohio Administrative Code 109:4-3-07 Deposits. It shall be a deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction for a supplier to accept a deposit unless the following conditions are met: A through E of this section.) Where I have the problem is people like Lee & Patrick giving bad advice here on stuff like deposits. Instead, find out what consumer laws apply in your state! Plus, if you use a contract, which I sincerely hope you do, you better make yourself familiar with ORC 1345.02 Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices, ORC 1345.03 Unconscionable Consumer Sales Acts or Practices respectively! (for example… Ohio Revised Code 1345.03 Unconscionable consumer sales acts or practices, including but not limited to, (A)(B)(2)(5) Whether the supplier required the consumer to enter into a consumer transaction on terms the supplier knew were substantially one-sided in favor of the supplier; (6) Whether the supplier knowingly made a misleading statement of opinion on which the consumer was likely to rely to the consumer's detriment;") In, short, play your artist role and hide behind "I'm an artist and I took the image, so I own the copyrights… period!" Operate by that and when you do as the masses and take hundreds of images and only give the client or models a small limited amount, despite your contract that you own the copyrights which is true, you just violated consumer law in Ohio of having a one-side contract and transaction in favor you the supplier… you the photog!

  20. Jacob York says

    well, photographers need to make a lot of friends

  21. Don Jose says

    I can't access your website Lee.
    I'g getting an error

    Could not connect to MySQL: Can't connect to MySQL server on '' (4)

    The site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. We appologize for any inconvenience

    Hope you set it up for your clients.

  22. Scott Everett says

    Who the hell even spends $5000 on a photographer? I'm a pretty average looking guys and there's only so much polish you can put on a turd… I'm never going to come out looking like Brad Pitt.

  23. Mister GG says

    American videos about prices in photography or videography are completely out of european reality so don't take this serious. A wedding video in Europe for 12hrs is about 700 euros if….and in US i've seen a youtube girl getting 1400 Dollars for 4hrs shooting, with 80 weddings for a year…make the math!
    Here in Europe ppl want to pay 300 euros for a wedding and a 5000 euros wedding or 3000 are EXPENSIVE!! and usually they have 4 crew members…

  24. Mister GG says

    a wedding….a phone…a ring…a wedding…an ipod…..a phone….

  25. Ava Hall says

    This guy only shoots royal wedding or higher, like honestly

  26. Maggie Ruff says

    How do you have time to shoot anything in four hours??

  27. Paul Wence says

    if your a wedding photographer, is it a man job or u need an assistant?

  28. Chat Cat says

    I just increased my prices.

  29. Kemi's Choice says

    "They would break up before the wedding"? 😂😂

  30. Jacqueline Nunez says

    how do we get to your wedding website?

  31. wheres your website of how much u charge, I want to look at it for price ideas like you said in this video

  32. Brian Morris says

    You do have to make it about the cost of business… its irresponsible to say its just fabricating a number.

  33. Jim Payton says

    When you set your prices, what do you include with the pricing? You stated that the first one you gave them a jpeg CD.

  34. Janeyanna says

    Wedding photography sounds like a Get Rich Quick scheme.

  35. Nathan Simpson says

    You should be looking at median wedding costs. That would be a lot more useful.

  36. Old400 says

    Great video, guys. I don't shoot weddings, but your approach is good advice for anyone struggling with the business end of photography.

  37. Meth0z says

    wtf… this psichology is so weird and backwards.. lmao

  38. Meth0z says

    "i had assited a great photographer.. oh right, and Lee… for 6months to a year" lmao 10:25

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