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Jesus!!! That is Expensive

To a point, yes it is expensive it can be very expensive. 

*The Average rate for a wedding for a "great" photographer, tops in the industry, is between $7,500 to $12,500.. Award winning, recognized in their field, published etc. Have all the gear a bride/groom could want for capturing their day.

*The Average rate for a wedding for a "really good" photographer is between $3,500 to $7,500....very proficient in their field and lots of experience. Have a good amount of solid gear.

*The Average rate for a wedding for a "good" photographer is between $2,000 to $3,500. Good experienced photographer. May or may not be as proficient in all areas of photography with lighting, posing etc. Have some good gear.

*The Average rate for a wedding for for a "Beginner" photographer is between $500 to $1,500. Learning and growing and with time will elevate to the good, really good, or great level of photography...:) Building up their gear. 
Why in the HELL is it that expensive, 
It does have a lot to do with where you are location wise
I.E. Here is the town in which i live it's an average hamlet here in good ole Indiana a couple factories moderate employment, basically smalltown USA
 


And then San Francisco see the difference?? 40+ thousand dollar difference.  and over 5k just for the photos/videos
 


 And then we get stuff like this.. I know it's old and its craigslist via petapixel but this is the best representation i could find 


In the context of this, I’m defining luxury as something that you want or would like to have but don’t actually need. The Craigslist poster wrote, “They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15 grand after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! I love all you $ 3,000.00 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK.”
Immediately, I would like to point out that there’s a distinction between getting married and holding a wedding. Getting married is something you may need; holding a wedding is something you want. The poster is wrong when she states that getting married is expensive: relative to the price of a wedding, it’s quite affordable.  
Weddings are expensive because having a large catered party is a luxury. When you remove the ceremony from the rest of the day’s archetypical activities, you’re left with the greater portion of that hypothetical $15,000 bill. Your costs shouldn’t rise by much even if religious obligations require the ceremony be held at your respective house of worship.
The major expenses are everything that isn’t part of the official ceremony: the venue(s), liquor and multi-course meals for guests, a multi-tiered cake, flowers, decorations, entertainment, your wardrobe, makeup and hair, accommodations, and, given the nature of this article, your desire to have a wedding photographer document the entire affair and do so with exceptional artistry.
Luxury brands do not justify their prices with complex breakdowns of their costs. For example, when someone walks into a Chanel store and considers buying a handbag, the salesperson isn’t going to relay the cost of materials, labour, freight, lease, marketing, etc., to justify the price. What they’ll do is sell the brand and its story, its exclusivity and the status it imbues, the timeless design, impeccable craftsmanship, customer service, and its ability to retain value longer than other less exclusive brands.
All things considered, it would still be a frivolous purchase–because no one needs a Chanel anything, even among people who need a handbag–and most buyers of luxury goods know this. Unfortunately, when planning a wedding, some people, such as the Craigslist poster, never come to this understanding.
Consider the longevity of these expensive services. The alcohol, food, and cake get flushed down the drain (quite literally). The venue and accommodations will serve as faint backdrops to your memories. The flowers will wilt and decorations, tossed away. The entertainment will be a ringing in your ears the following morning. Your makeup will be washed away and the hair slept on. Your wedding dress will remain, but there will never again be a practical occasion to wear it (so donate your dress). or if it goes awry trash it (we do those sessions too)
Of all these unnecessary, impractical, and conspicuous expenses, the photo and video documents hold the most utility. Their value increases with time, having an inverse relationship to your recollection of the day.
When wedding photographers choose to acknowledge the question with detailed cost breakdowns, they put themselves and the profession as a whole at a disadvantage. Defending your rates in such a manner is an implicit acknowledgement that they are indeed unreasonably high and, worse, that your abilities don’t speak for themselves.
Wedding photography is a luxury service and there is absolutely no imperative for you to provide customers with an audit. Such an analysis may also put you at a disadvantage with customers who question your margins (since those who do only care about the bottom line anyway) and your perfectly legitimate reasons can be misinterpreted as excuses.
I would like to make a proposal to my fellow photographers:  Treat wedding photography as the desired luxury service that it is, not the basic necessity that budget hunting couples wish it to be.
Good wedding photography is a luxury service for a luxury occasion that commands luxury prices. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”

ok PART 2. 

Now, lets do some math. We’ll say that, conservatively, you get 1500 images onto your computer from one wedding. That is, by the way, very conservative. Most photographers get between 2000 and 2500, but for the sake of math, we’ll say 1500. After that, we go through the whole day and “cull” about 50% of those to trash, just because they are out of focus, the light was bad, etc.-just not good images. So, we are left with about 750 images to work with. Ultimately I always want to deliver about 500 finished images to the client, so that means another round of editing. This time I’m looking for images that are close to duplicate, meaning that they are about the same as the previous image, and other things that may disqualify it. Now we’re left with 500 images to deal with. 

500 images

3 minutes per image

500X3=1500 minutes, divided by 60 =25 hours

That’s 25 hours of editing if we chose to spend about 3 minutes on each image. I realize that this is an arbitrary number, but you could understand that “just taking pictures” at a wedding is what “uncle Bob with an SLR” does. True wedding photographers spend a lot of time on their craft before and after the actual wedding day, and they take a lot of pride in making sure the images are up to their expectations.  Just some food for thought before you complain that it is expensive, it is I know, but we (most of us) make it worth it.