Wedding Photographer Pricing Calculation - By Hasnudin, ADAN

This writing is dedicated to the professional wedding photographer and also for bridegroom to be. This writing might not be favourable to everybody, but the thing is, I just want to share with you some of my thought...

By the way, please excuse my English, I'm just an uneducated Malay guy trying to catch up with some other successful English speaking berabuk guys.

Many of you might agree with me that, wedding photographers now have a strong demand in the market. You also might agree that, the price to pay for a good wedding photographer is really expensive. But, usually, if you really shop around, you can get cheaper price from an unexperience part time photographer. But, you can even get a really good price cut from a photography company. So, what is the problem?

The problem is:
For the customer: With the low price, the photographer will cut a lot of 'unremarkable' cost in order to make a little profit. So, you will get a less quality of service or material. While the problem for the photographer is: You get less profit in that particular job and you have a good chance to make no profit at all at the end of the year! Then, without any profit, how could you invest in a good equipment, improve your product and even survive for the next year?

I have one good story to share with you. It's about my conversation with a young and unexperience video cameraman. I really feel sad for him...

I met this guy at a wedding. While waiting for the bride, I have a chat with him. It goes like:

Me: Berapa awak charge untuk shoot video kahwin ni?
That guy: RM 350
Me: Kalau dengan editing sekali, berapa charge?
That guy: Itu sekali dengan editing lah
Me: ( Terkejut. Terdiam sekejap...) Murah jugak tu...
That guy: Boleh lah..
Me: Semalam, masa nikah, awak shoot jugak?
That guy: Ya
Me: Berapa charge untuk shooting semalam?
That guy: Sekali lah tu. RM 350 untuk 2 hari termasuk editing. Saya bagi 3 VCD.
Me: ( Terkejut lebih besar. Terdiam lebih lama...) 2 hari shoot tu maksimum berapa jam?
That guy: Tak kisahlah. Pagi sampai malam pun saya kira sama jugak - RM 350.

And this is the best part...

Me: Boleh untung ke?
That guy: Mesti la untung. Saya charge RM 350. Kos saya tape RM 15, VCD RM 3, Minyak
kereta RM 10. Semua kos saya RM 28 je. Saya untung RM 300 lebih. Saya kerja
seminggu pun tak dapat sebanyak tu.
Me: ( Dah nak keluar api atas kepala ) Awak tak kira ke kos lain. Kos masa, equipment,
elektrik, kepakaran dan sebagainya?
That guy:( Tak faham )

Then, in a very short period of time, I explain back to him what and how he should charge. He don't know what I'm talking about. I can't help any further. I hope, by this time, that guy already discover what I'm trying to say.

If you also still can't figure out what I'm trying to say, let me explain in details here:

Ok, we know the material cost for that guy is RM 28. Now let add other cost that poor guy had miss out.

Let assume that this guy's fee is RM 10 per hour ( THAT IS REALLY CHEAP!) and lets have a look how much time did he spent for the job.

First, meet the client to discuss about the job ( 1 hour ) - RM 10
To shoot for nikah, he spend 1 hour to travel from his house to the location - RM 10
Then, he shoot the nikah, he spend 6 hours to cover that event - RM 60
The next day, he travel 1 hour again to the job location - RM - 10
Then, he spent another 6 hours to shoot the video - RM 60
After the shooting completed, he do the editing. It tooks about 12 hours - RM 120
Lastly, he send the VCD and meet the client. He spent another 1 hour - RM 10

TOTAL = RM 308.00 ........waiiiittt...we're not done yet!

Do you think this video equipment is free?
The video camera + editing PC cost about RM 6,000 ( This is the cheap one )
Do you think this video equipment no need to be maintained?
The video equipment will break down from time to time. Need to repair. Regularly, need to
service the camera. Need to upgrade the PC.
Do you think this video equipment will last forever?
One video camera will considered as OUTDATED in 2 years.

So, how much is the cost for his camera for 1 day use. I don't want to go into detail on asset depriciation calculation here. Let put it simple. Usually, people will rent out their camera for RM 100 per day ( That is the cheapest!) and usually, people will charge RM 100 per day also for rental of editing facilities ( That is also the cheapest!) Yes, even though you use your won equipment, lets treat it as if you have to rent it, or easier to say, the client have to rent the camera equipment with your shooting service.

So, lets add another cost for this guy:

2 days camera rental @ RM 100 per day X 2 days = RM 200.00
1 day editing rental @ RM 100 per day X 1 day = RM 100.00

OK, OK, I'm panic already. Lets add all the cost:
Material = RM 28.00 ( heheh...very cheap )
Time = RM 280.00 ( Opppss.. )
Equipment = RM 300.00 ( Huh!!! )

TOTAL = RM 608.00
Actually there is another cost, but I'm already afraid to count. Because, every time this guy do a video shooting job, he don't get any profit ( Not even a single cent ). He actually PAY his client RM 258.00 for giving him a professional & tidious job! Wonderful!

I've been in this business for the past 10 years. 7 years as a freelance. 3 years with a proper business setup ( with staff, office, asset etc.) The transition from a photographer to an entrepreneur takes a lot of effort. I need to learn a lot of thing about business ( Marketing, PR, Branding, Publicity, Sales, Pricing, Production Management, Training, Finance, Account, HR, Admin and a lots more ) It's not easy. Now I know why so few Malay people succeed in business. It is because:

1) It is so tough and the risk is so high.
2) We need to learn a lot of thing about business. It's not in our culture yet. We need to learn from a scratch.
3) Malay businessmen is too 'generous'. We don't really put a deep thought on what we should spend our money for and we feel too afraid to put a PRICE for our service.

Yes, our people is not really ready yet to pay for a service. That is why photographers have to compliment their service with an album and etc. That is why a doctor has to 'cover up' their service charge by giving the patient some not so useful medicine.

In a short note, here is what a photographer should charge for:
1) Expertise - time and money spent to master the skill
2) Shooting Time - time is money.
3) Equipment - charge like if you have to rent it from others
4) Post production time - per hour rate X how much time spent to touch up the photo etc.
5) Material & cost - petrol, prints, album, CD etc.
6) Overhead cost - advertsing cost, building rental, telephone bill etc.
7) PROFIT - you need profit to grow

And...also keep in mind that:
Miscellaneous cost eg: mistake, client ask for re-edit, price increase in stock etc.
Also remember, you have to work on weekends when you should bring your family for a picnic and sometimes you even have to shoot on public holiday! You also have to work in odd hour. Think about it. You too should have a normal life. Don't you like to charge a little bit extra just to compensate with your not so NORMAL lifestyle? Usually, the answer from cameraman is, " Tak boleh buat apa laa..cas mahal sape nak bayar???" For me what is mahal or murah depends on the value. If the cameraman do not value themselves, who will?

To bridegroom to be:

Don't worry about what I'm saying... If all the photographer charge properly, we all will get a very high quality wedding photography service. After all, when a photographer give you a cheap price, there is high chance that he is cutting down the time and cost that I've mentioned above.

Thank you for reading. Please write to me if you have any comments.

Dear friends, if you think this writing is helpful, please tell others about it. For the benefit of the industry, lets share your thoughts here.

Please visit our official website -

taken from Candidsyndrome Forum and credits to Hasnuddin@ Adan. The Ultimate Photographer bak kata Inche SaifulNang.

note: Saje je aku share info ni, sebab most of people tak hargai kerja photographer ni and yet, they ask for more for a little money. What lah people these days.