The Cost and Value of Wedding Photography

This is a post I’ve literally had on my “to blog” list for…FOREVER, and today, I’m finally tackling it. As a bride myself, I know how important it is to decide on a budget and stick to it. It’s so easy at the beginning of the planning process to “assume” what each part of planning a wedding costs and nowadays there’s so many things you can do yourself to save money. Maybe this could be a whole other blog post in and of itself, but what I “assumed” before I really started planning was never very accurate. To many newly engaged women and men, I feel like photography is definitely one of the things where the perceived cost is usually substantially different from the actual cost. There are so many options out there, but in most cases, just like many other things in life, you get what you pay for.

I think a lot of this perceived cost by the general public comes from how easy it is to get into this profession. My dog could literally go to Best Buy, buy a camera, and call himself a photographer. Okay, he can’t, but you get where I’m going with this. What most people don’t understand is that we’re really more business people than photographers. It’s a good week when I get to spend any percentage of the hours I’ve worked that week, actually shooting. Many weeks of the year, I am here in my office, behind my desk, staring at my computer screen…all day. From 9 am to 5 pm. Managing finances. Writing blog posts. Staying on top of taxes, licenses, permits, and insurance. Budgeting for new equipment, computers, hard-drives, back up systems, etc. Emailing with clients. Emailing with photographers. Emailing with vendors. Marketing. Marketing some more. Advertising planning. Designing marketing materials. Managing my marketing plan. Networking. Continuing my education. And then I shoot on the weekends, when most people are spending time with their families. You get the drift.
So, when a newly engaged bride assumes that they are hiring a photographer to arrive on their wedding day and shoot for eight hours, unfortunately that’s not all that they are paying for. The costs necessary to run my business and in turn just show up that day are endless, and not cheap:

– Phone and internet
– Office space (in my case heating/cooling, homeowners insurance, mortgage)
– Vehicle costs (gas, maintenance, insurance, repairs)
– Business insurance
– Web hosting, website membership, and custom blog
– Client proofing and management systems
– Professional associations
– Business cards, brochures, other marketing materials and marketing costs
– Partnership expenses
– Workshops, seminars, conventions, books, education
– Templates/design
– Editing and photo management software
– Computer and additional hard drive space
– Camera equipment and upgrades
– Lenses, flashes, and other crucial accessories

Over the course of a photographers relationship with a bride, it’s not unusual to invest between 50 and 80 hours in that one client. After managing business operating costs, there’s also a great deal of time involved with wedding and portrait clients. Time is money. These time commitments include:

– Initial inquiry, emailing and correspondence
– Meeting/consultation if necessary
– Filing paperwork, contracts, receipts, invoices, hiring a second photographer (weddings), other administrative duties
– Location scouting
– Engagement session prep: cleaning equipment, trip plans, session plans
– Travel to engagement session
– Time shooting engagement session
– Travel from engagement session
– Image downloading and backup
– Image culling
– Image editing
– Image backup
– Formatting blog post
– Uploading galleries or packaging and delivering products
– Arranging publication
– Client correspondence
– Wedding prep: cleaning equipment, trip plans, wedding plans
– Travel to wedding
– Time shooting wedding
– Travel from wedding
– Image downloading and backup
– Image culling
– Image editing
– Image backup
– Formatting blog post
– Uploading galleries
– Arranging publication
– Client correspondence
– Product design
– Product packaging
– Product delivery
– Follow-up

And this is really just the bones of the client relationship…of course there are always things that come up, additional questions, commitments, needs, etc. My goal with this blog post is not to whine and complain about my job…I love my job and enjoy each of these steps in the relationship with my client. My goal, rather, is to educate brides and photography enthusiasts about the costs of running a business and how you could expect these costs to translate into what you will pay for wedding photography.

Recently, Lauren at Every Last Detail published this short blog post as a precursor to a more detailed one coming soon. From a 2011 survey she did, Lauren discovered that the average price of wedding photography is $3520. Of course you can find photographers with smaller packages and fees for less, or photographers with larger packages and fees for more. But I will remind you that 9 times out of 10, you get what you pay for. This number is simply a realistic average.Obviously when planning my wedding, I knew that our photographer was one of, if not the most, important vendors we would hire. I definitely considered that when determining what percentage of our budget we were willing to allocate to photography. To me, photography is something worth splurging on. Some brides melt over flowers, their dream dress, and the stunning work of event designers. I completely understand that; I do. But honestly if you skimp on photography, how will you remember those things you loved so much? When hiring a wedding photographer, I encourage you to seek that balance between style, technical expertise, personality, and cost. Cost is not the most important part of the equation. Finding someone who can document those parts of the wedding that mean the most to you, whose work you appreciate, whose skills and expertise you VALUE, and who you get along with (think about how much time you spend with your photographer on your wedding day!) is incredibly important.

In all honesty, it’s difficult to create and manage a business model which makes your photography business profitable and eventually lucrative. The above costs are simply to operate my business and work with a client. This is how I make my living, so this doesn’t even get into my costs of living and what I take home. And just like everyone else, I also pay taxes. Most photographers are comfortable, but not filthy rich. They work hard, dedicate hours of energy and passion into creating beautiful artwork for their clients, and do it for the love of preserving time and emotion. I am a huge believer in quality over quantity, and that photography is something you don’t want to skimp on.  After all, these are family heirlooms; your wedding images or album is the only tangible thing you take away from your wedding that will remind you of EVERY single thing that was so special about that day.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Bridal Shower

Although I have deep roots in Maryland where I grew up, I am absolutely in love with all things southern. I live on a farm in a small town in South Carolina with my handsome husband, my beautiful step-son, our two yellow lab fur-kids, and three spoiled horses. My blog is a journal of sorts. It’s where I can share all about the things I love so much: my family, our life together, and of course all of the amazing and wonderful people and pets whose story I get to tell.

I love collaborating with laid-back and down- to-earth couples who appreciate the value their wedding images will have for the rest of their lives, and I believe in unique weddings that are truly designed around two people and who they are together. I strive to create images that are emotional, organic, fresh, and genuine, but that will remain timeless twenty, thirty, or sixty years down the road. I believe in printed images, developing friendships with my clients, and having a completely relaxed and enjoyable wedding experience. Each and every story I get to tell is unique and I truly enjoy sharing all of the little pieces that together form this beautiful relationship.

I am currently booking weddings for 2013 and 2014, so please get in touch below to start the journey of documenting your love.

Begin Your Wedding Journey

The 2012 Wedding Giveaway

2011 was a great year. I photographed my first two weddings (Lindsey & Chris, Maile & Archie) and I spent two days in Boulder, Co. learning from one of the best wedding photographers in the industry at the MJ 2 Day. Although I’m new to the wedding industry and I don’t have years and years of experience, wedding photography is something so special to me because there’s just not much that beats spending the day with two completely in love people and creating images from real moments that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. I tear up, cry, and laugh through the whole day, because it’s just so incredible to be a part of something so meaningful.

While a big part of my plans for 2012 involve second shooting for other photographers much more than booking my own slew of weddings, I do hope to book just a handful, and something I’m SO EXCITED to do in 2012 is give away free wedding coverage. Although it’s one of the most important parts of the wedding day, wedding photography can be very expensive. However, it is the only thing (besides your marriage of course!) that you will have when the flowers are gone, the cake is eaten, the I Do’s are said, and the day is all said and done. Successful wedding images should take you back to that day and help you re-live the special moments that too quickly slipped from your memory, or you were too excited or nervous to remember after the fact. So, I’m extremely happy to be offering free coverage to one lucky couple!
So here’s the nitty gritty:

To enter: Between December 19th and January 26th, send an email to with the subject: 2012 Wedding Giveaway and include the following information…

– You and your fiance’s name (or a friend and his/her fiance’s name! You can absolutely enter on a friend’s behalf so long as they are getting married in 2012!
– A short but sweet story about you two as a couple, something that makes you unique, something funny or special, or just flat out why you deserve to win
– Up to 3 photos of the two of you together
– Wedding date & venue/location(s)
– Just for fun: Your favorite way to spend your time together on the weekends?
– Contact information (email and phone)

How it works: Up to three finalists may be chosen by Brittani, Erin from A Lowcountry Wedding, and Sarah from Dodeline Design based off of their story submitted. A blurb from each story accompanied by an image will be put into The 2012 Wedding Giveaway album on the Britt Croft Photography Facebook page, and you send your friends to “like” your image between January 30th and February 8th. Remember they must first “like” the Britt Croft Photography page! The picture with the most likes by 6 p.m. on February 8th wins, the picture with the second-most likes wins 25% savings, and the following morning, one finalist couple will be chosen for a free engagement session!

What you could win:

1. First Place: 8 hours of wedding day coverage with Brittani, an online gallery for sharing with friends and family, a DVD of all final high-res images (500-800) with a personal print release, a complimentary engagement session

2. Second Place: 25% savings on wedding day coverage if booked within 3 months

3. All finalists: 10% savings on wedding day coverage if booked within 3 months and one free engagement session given away to a randomly chosen (using finalist couple

The fine print: Just the things I’m obligated to include! 🙂

– All 2012 dates other than 5/19, 9/15, 9/29 and 11/3 are fair game!
– You must be engaged and actively planning a 2012 wedding – OR – your friend must be engaged…you can definitely enter on the behalf of a friend as long as they are planning a 2012 wedding! 🙂
The wedding can take place anywhere, but weddings outside of South Carolina or Maryland will be subject to standard travel fees
– Additional add on’s (second photographer, album, parent’s album, additional hours, etc.) are available for standard fees
– Questions? Want to learn more about me or my business? I’m more than happy to answer any questions 🙂 Send them to

2014 in Review

2014 was a truly amazing year. Writing these yearly “wrap up posts” is always so challenging, because there’s so many wonderful, amazing, challenging things that happen in a 365 day period…how do you wrap it up into a few words? But this year I’m going to keep it short and sweet, and let the photos do most of the talking. If I had to choose one word to describe how 2014 felt to me, I’d choose Joy. I find so much joy in this job and feel incredibly lucky to meet and connect on such a deep level with the people I do. Whether it’s the vendors and creative team all working together with the common goal to make our couple’s day all that they’d dreamed, or teaching my clients to enjoy their time in front of my camera, or just being privileged to see such intimate, private moments in peoples lives unfold in front of my eyes…I feel so much joy.

Thank you to every single one of you who worked with me this year…I am incredibly grateful for your trust in my vision and I work so hard to be proud of the images I capture for you. I’ve selected my absolute favorite images from the year to share below. I know there are way too many, but this year I felt more connection to moments and their legacy more than I ever have, and these images are those that represent that the most. Those genuine, raw, tangible moments are the ones that I love the most. Whether it was the people, the colors, the location, the technical challenge, the sheer emotion, these images all struck me deepest.

I can’t wait to see what lies ahead in 2015!

2013 In Review

Last week was a whirlwind of editing my two Christmas weddings, but I’m excited to finally get a chance to sit down and recap on the last year of my little business. What a great year it was 🙂 I get a little emotional writing these kinds of posts (so bear with me), because most days I really can’t believe this is my job and this is the kind of work that I get to do. I really feel that the job of a photographer goes outside of us as people…it’s bigger than us, and the slices of life that we forever freeze in time with our cameras are truly monumental parts of peoples’ lives. When our skin is wrinkly and our hair is gray, images are reminders of people, places, and years bygone, they are proof that love existed, they are feelings and moments that you can relive again and again long after our once vivid memories have slowly washed away. They become something so valuable the longer time goes on, these little pieces of us that are passed on time and time again after we are gone. Being able to be a part of so many wonderful couples lives, to basically be an extended member of their family for a day…it’s awesome. It’s a huge responsibility and a true privilege. I really love this work 🙂

In 2013 I crossed paths with so many new wonderful faces, and plenty of special familiar faces, too. I made new vendor friends, new photographer friends, new friends in my clients, met lots of sweet four-legged friends, and did a lot of traveling. I put over 28,000 work miles on my car. So a huge shout out to my ole SUV who has carted me all over the daggone east coast since 2007 haha! She’s a special vehicle and has been such a big part of my business! I shot 4 weddings in Georgia, 9 weddings in Maryland (but made 12 trips total), 1 in New Jersey, and 6 in South Carolina. I attended Making Things Happen in North Carolina…and it changed me so much. I strengthened friendships (both personal and professional), got pretty far out of my comfort zone probably a dozen times (and it always paid off), quit the Facebook news feed almost a year ago (one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!), cleaned house on the social media information I allow into my head (yay!), got in front of the camera of one my favorite photographers and now friends, and crossed some really great goals off my list. I shot a handful of rolls of film, and loved every single frame. I photographed 35 dogs in less than 6 hours and helped raise over $500 for the pets of the Aiken County animal shelter…annnnnd I felt it in my back until the chiropractor fixed me haha ouch. I second shot a lot this year, too, and am endlessly grateful to Paige Winn for being such a great friend, inspiration, mentor, and allowing me to share in so many of her client’s beautiful weddings (and crash at her house, and also oogle over her dogs and kid haha). And I defined my version of success and read some really powerful books.

In 2013 I also learned so much about why I do what I do and the purpose and mission of my business. I still struggle with it, but I’m becoming more confident in being different than the masses and listening to my gut rather than doing this, that, or the other because someone else is or because it works so well for X, Y, or Z. Because of all that I learned, I knew it was time to make some big changes in my “internet home” so I made the somewhat scary financial commitment to give my blog a face lift and convert it into my one central internet home for my business. I’m so excited to be working with Renee again starting this week and I look forward to collaborating with her to really mature and elevate my web presence so that it now matches the heart of my business and the style I’ve come to develop with my photographs.

2013 was such a wonderful year and such a year of growth, and I get so excited at the end of each year…about having the time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work, to plan for the next year, and to craft a new set of goals. 2014 will be more about fine tuning and consistency rather than trying to continue to grow. I’ll always be growing as a photographer, business owner, and person, but I’m not looking for actual growth in numbers. As always, it’s quality over quantity for me. I’m really happy with where I’m at and just want to keep doing what I love and making people happy through the images I create and the emotions and moments that I freeze. I could never do this alone, though, so thank you to everyone who has ever assisted me on a wedding day, believed in me, cheered me on, supported me, encouraged me, shared or featured my work, or given me a pat on the back. A special thank you, of course, to my husband for never telling me to “get a real job” back when he probably wondered if I could really make a career out of this (haha), and for always listening to me whenever I need a ear. He never fails to tell me how proud of me he is or to recognize how hard I work. Thank you to my mom for giving me the means to make this business happen in the first place and for passing on her love of photos to me. And a huge thank you to her (and my brother a time or two) for picking me up and taking me to the airport countless times this year, and for always giving me a place to stay and a car to drive when I’m back home for work. And most of all a huge thank you to everyone who trusted me this year…to everyone who got in front of my camera, hired me to photograph their wedding, or allowed me into their life for even just an hour or two hours so that I could create something beautiful out of their love or connection. I know this sounds like an Academy Award thank you speech or something…but I just honestly feel so humbled and grateful to get to connect with so many incredible people through this job. I love being a part of such raw and emotional times in peoples lives, and to create something tangible out of something you usually just feel. It’s amazing and I’m a pretty lucky person 🙂 Happy 2014!