Knoxville Wedding Photographers
Daniel + Martha Howell. Who are we?

We're a husband and wife team who loves to photograph the emotions of weddings, make friends with our clients, and have fun working.

We could live at Starbucks, although Daniel prefers black coffee and Martha likes "girly" drinks like Frappuccinos. We both love listening to the musical genius that is Harry Connick Jr. Our favorite vacation spot is the Big Easy - every time we leave, we know what it means to miss New Orleans. We call Sweetwater home and are happy to be here; it reminds us of where we grew up. Our little family consists of us and two adorable dogs.

Enjoy our blog and checking out our newest work and learning about us in the meantime!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Why is Wedding Photography So Expensive?

I don’t know how many times I hear the same thing over the course of conversations with brides.

“I have a very tight budget, so I don’t know whether I’ll be able to afford photography…”

“I have a little sister who is into photography, so I think we might let her take some pictures so we can save some money…”

Both of these comments spur from the same general idea. Photography is expensive. One comment I heard from a bride was:

“I’m just having problems convincing my parents to book. They can’t understand why wedding photography has to cost so much.”

I write this as an answer to her and the many others I have talked to about wedding photography. So, why does it cost so much? Should it cost as much as it does?


Cost of Equipment/Studio

Photography is very expensive for the photographer. Photographers spend many thousands of dollars on camera bodies, lenses, flashes, memory cards, film (if they still shoot it), batteries, and many other accessories they have to have just to shoot the wedding. Keep in mind that one professional camera body alone (without the lens) can cost around $5,000. That’s for one. Most photographers carry around 2 or 3. These bodies also require repairs and many times have to be replaced after a certain number of events. The lenses can also be as much as $1,200 on the low end all the way up to $3,000 on the high end. These are the costs we have to pay, though, in order to be able to provide you with the quality of images that you desire.

The above was just for equipment. If a photographer has a studio then there are all of the costs associated with the studio, much like your home. There is also the cost of printing services, website maintenance, directory listings, and many other things.

In short, it all adds up. If a photographer isn’t careful, he can spend all of what he (or she) makes on equipment and paying bills. In order to make a living (which is what we are all out to do anyway) then the photographer has to set prices at a certain level.


When it comes to pricing structure, a photographer has to count on a certain number of events per year to be able to eat. The higher the price a photographer charges the fewer events a photographer has to do. This in many ways is beneficial to the client.

If a photographer has to turn around every single weekend and shoot a wedding, sometimes even two a weekend, because of their lower prices, then their time is split among many different people. They have to work many events just to be able to survive. More than likely the quality of the images each client receives will begin to suffer after a certain point.

On the other hand, if a photographer charges a certain amount and then limits the number of events they accept in a year (like many do) then they are allowing themselves the time to spend working on your images.

Speaking as an artist, I work best when I’m not rushed. I provide better service when I’m not worried about eating or paying my own personal bills. I don’t want to be rich, I just want to be comfortable doing what I love to do. Many photographers share the same sentiment. I do better work when I charge more.

While there are many photographers who charge very little for their work, go ahead and compare. Look at the photographer who charges $500 as opposed to the one who starts at $2,000. The one who charges the least most likely is someone doing photography “on the side”. They may be getting paid, but what makes them a true professional?

While it may fit into your budget now, what about your memories later down the road. I’ve done portrait work for many former brides who saw my work and then immediately felt terrible about their own pictures. Sure, they were pictures of the day, but they lacked the feeling, the emotions, and the creativity of a true professional. Will you have regrets later on down the road?


A good photographer is an artist. Any old Joe can snap pictures. A photographer takes into account lighting, color, and composition for every image. There is no haphazard shutter popping for an artist.

When you book a photographer you should be looking for someone with that creative eye. Their eye is the most important thing. This goes beyond any equipment they may use. A true artist should be able to take your picture with a cellphone camera and still have it be beautiful.
When you pay, you pay for that artistry. If there is any one quality that is the most important, it is that of creativity. Don’t skimp on it.

The Bottom Line

While you are shopping around for a photographer, please think on these things. When you are tempted to pay $500 for the Joe, remember that these are your memories being captured. While it may seem like a good idea now, will you love your wedding day pictures 10 years from now, or will you have regrets? You only get one shot for this day. Why not make the investment in your memories?

Choose an Artist, not a photo-snapper.

-Daniel Howell


Eugene Brown July 17, 2008 at 7:08 PM  

Great answer brah!!

I actually do Videography for weddings, And a lot of that can apply to videography as well!!

Good luck to you man!!

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