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Archive 2013 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices
  
 
othfilm
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


http://www.slate.com/articles/life/weddings/2013/06/average_wedding_cost_published_numbers_on_the_price_of_a_wedding_are_totally.html

In 2012, when the average wedding cost was $27,427, the median was $18,086. In 2011, when the average was $27,021, the median was $16,886. In Manhattan, where the widely reported average is $76,687, the median is $55,104. And in Alaska, where the average is $15,504, the median is a mere $8,440. In all cases, the proportion of couples who spent the “average” or more was actually a minority. And remember, we’re still talking only about the subset of couples who sign up for wedding websites and respond to their online surveys. The actual median is probably even lower.

Just figured it was a friendly reminder that just because the average price for a photographer is $2000-2500, that doesn't mean half of the photographers are getting that or more. It only takes one photographer making $10k+ to counter a half dozen CL shoot-and-burn photogs.



Jun 13, 2013 at 02:45 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Perhaps the most important bit of information shared in this subforum in a long,long while. I always talk about how the median is far more useful than the average when discussing any spread of information where inequality comes into play (e.g., salaries, home prices, car prices, wedding photography).

If Bill Gates shot a wedding and joined FM to talk about it, the average net worth of recent posters here would jump to somewhere between one and two billion each. The median, of course, probably wouldn't shift at all, as it would simply describe the particular net worth that exactly half of us exceeded and half of us fell below.



Jun 13, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Well then you should also consider the median in terms of photographers. The truth is that while there are a number of full time pros, many weddings are shot by part-timers and even more are shot by friends, newbs and people who are charging insufficient rates.

So while the median a bride is spending is lower than the reported average, the median photographer is MUCH lower than a full time pro. None of this changes raw data of what a full-time pro needs to charge to make a living though... and that number is WELL above the average or the median.



Jun 13, 2013 at 03:37 PM
morby
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


From the article...

"Photographers who charge $2,000 for an evening’s worth of snapshots point out that TheKnot’s reported average is $2,379, so you’re actually saving $379."

In your experience do you find that most couples view photography as just "snapshots"? If so, cost of wedding photography would seem outlandish. My experience has been that most couples recognize quality photography and are willing to pay for it.



Jun 13, 2013 at 04:09 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Who honestly cares what anyone else is charging?


Jun 13, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


TTLKurtis wrote:
Who honestly cares what anyone else is charging?


The only people's rates I care anything about are those that are in my market, charging about the same as me, and are of an equivalent skill level and professional behavior. I.e. my direct competition...

The newbs, CL bottom-feeders and otherwise jackwad fauxtographers are irrelevant to me, but so are the full-time pros with tons more experience than me who are charging 200-300% more than me.



Jun 13, 2013 at 04:29 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


When you say they're your direct competition, do you know for a fact that you're getting the same inquiries they are from the same brides? If you're getting your leads from different sources, then to the bride you aren't necessarily direct competition.


Jun 13, 2013 at 05:12 PM
amonline
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


I worry about my market and direct competition. I don't care about the inaccurate statistics that blog writers want to push as a story. I have often found that these "average costs" have little to do with the "photography budget". Most clients look at them separately anyway. I've had 10k cheap beach wedding budgets spend 25-30% of their "budget" with me. There are no "rules". Memories are priceless. Some get it. Some don't. I usually don't book the ones that "don't".


Jun 13, 2013 at 05:18 PM
othfilm
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Tony Hoffer wrote:
None of this changes raw data of what a full-time pro needs to charge to make a living though... and that number is WELL above the average or the median.


Completely agree. Just thought it might be useful, especially for newer people (like myself) when considering how to explain value and managing price expectations. If I was a $2k photographer expecting it to be easy since I'm "average" price, this is helpful to understand why there are fewer clients than I might expect.



Jun 13, 2013 at 07:25 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


At either end of the bell curve there is far less competition and that particular segment is greatly underserved and starved to compelling options. Armed with data like this I surely wouldn't be aiming anywhere near the average...

- trr



Jun 13, 2013 at 08:03 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



D. Diggler
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


TRReichman wrote:
At either end of the bell curve there is far less competition and that particular segment is greatly underserved and starved to compelling options.


Ya lost me here. Not following.



Jun 13, 2013 at 08:17 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


It seems like when someone posts a statistic like this everyone fixates on the average or the median. Everyone wants to discount the outlying entries that throw off the curve. I say the business and profit is in the outliers. Part of the reason that the average is where it is is not just because of the market but because photographers keep offering "average' - offer something else and see what happens... I'm quite thrilled servicing a tiny segment of the outliers, and I'm finding that they are massively underserved as everyone falls all over themselves to fight over the average middle.

- trr



Jun 13, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


TTLKurtis wrote:
When you say they're your direct competition, do you know for a fact that you're getting the same inquiries they are from the same brides? If you're getting your leads from different sources, then to the bride you aren't necessarily direct competition.


Seeing as how there are about 6 million people in the DFW area, the odds of them being my literal direct competition as quite small obviously.

I only call them that b/c to a customer we seem quite similar. Similar skill level, processing ability, pricing, product offering, etc. My personality, charm, excellent service, timely deliver, etc. are what give me a leg up, but that's only if I can earn a F2F.

As I'm sure we're all too well aware, the "target market" of people who value photography as an art and not a commodity get smaller every year. My true fear isn't what other individual photogs are charging, it's that the photography industry will go the way the rest of the economy has the last decade...the death of the middle class.

If we as an industry keep on this path, in another ten years, there will only be the pond scum CL trolls and MWAC "overnight pro" guys at the bottom, and the niche market, boutique bigshots at the top. There won't be a market in the middle anymore.



Jun 13, 2013 at 11:01 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Jamesbjenkins wrote:
As I'm sure we're all too well aware, the "target market" of people who value photography as an art and not a commodity get smaller every year..


BULLSHIT!

What is getting smaller are photographers willing to communicate value. The market is NOT to blame - the industry is.

Which number is bigger? The number of people who could be compelled to love what you love and believe what you believe or the number of people that already value photography?

Our responsibility is not just to grab the low-hanging fruit of people who already want what we do, our responsibility is to create new believers. It is completely within our ability to make the market as large as we want.

- trr




Jun 13, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


TRReichman wrote:
BULLSHIT!

What is getting smaller are photographers willing to communicate value. The market is NOT to blame - the industry is.

Which number is bigger? The number of people who could be compelled to love what you love and believe what you believe or the number of people that already value photography?

Our responsibility is not just to grab the low-hanging fruit of people who already want what we do, our responsibility is to create new believers. It is completely within our ability to make the market as large as we want.



Down boy.

Did you read my whole post, or starting typing as soon as you smelled blood?

jamesbjenkins wrote:
If we as an industry keep on this path, in another ten years, there will only be the pond scum CL trolls and MWAC "overnight pro" guys at the bottom, and the niche market, boutique bigshots at the top. There won't be a market in the middle anymore.


I agree with you that there are too many photographers that take the easy way out and engage in the race to the bottom. Obviously, that's a zero sum game. Practically speaking, when you're dealing with a client, they are either the type of person who sees our work as a commodity or as an luxury art.

However, your "we can make the market as large as we want" comment is pure lunacy. I'm certainly a "glass is half full" kind of guy, but even I know there are very concrete limits for a given geographic area as to how big the potential market is for a given price point. Unless you have some magic potion that will make every bride suddenly cancel the DJ, caterer and venue to have an a capella wedding with water bottles, ritz crackers and somebody's iPhone on a "wedding tunes" Spotify station.......all so they can afford this amazing $15k photographer who made a believer out of them.

There's your "bull****".



Jun 13, 2013 at 11:40 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


TRReichman wrote:
Part of the reason that the average is where it is is not just because of the market but because photographers keep offering "average' - offer something else and see what happens.


Offer more of a niche product that would most likely end up having less appeal to the mainstream client?



Jun 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM
TRReichman
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Who is worried about the mainstream? Show me a wedding photographer in any market with even a fraction of a percent of measurable market share. We all run niche businesses whether we admit it or not.

- trr



Jun 14, 2013 at 12:07 AM
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Service industries of all kinds are technically "niche" markets...and most of them are expendable when it comes down to necessity vs. convenience.

In a way, every service industry is in danger of going the way of obsolescence or only being available to the wealthy...especially with an economy like ours that is shifting more and more wealth away from the majority and towards the already-extremely-rich.

Mass availability of cameras and photographers (plus video, DJ, and other vending services requiring only a small to moderate amount of skill to get paid/be successful) leads to devaluation of the market, which, when combined with economic shifts that strain the middle class beyond any level of normal mental health and well-being or else push them into a lower economic group, also makes less work available for middle-class photographers/other vendors, which makes them poorer, and so on in a spiral...

A little of the cream rises to the top, but a lot more just becomes muck at the bottom.

However, the trend can't be stopped easily unless the majority of working class people start earning more money again...preferably without giving away 95% of their lives to the corporations/businesses they work on/for. How's that going to happen when the biggest controllers of money are only getting tighter and tighter with their purses (corporations, banking/financial groups, etc.), plus when insurance and utilities and everything else keeps inflating and increasing in cost without a respective increase in per capita income...?...



Jun 14, 2013 at 12:16 AM
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


Ultimately, it's an issue of income inequality mixed with widespread availability of technology. The market is definitely bottlenecking (a small number of superwealthy clients and a large majority of budget brides, with shrinking numbers in between), and each year it becomes more challenging for the majority of folks to make a living in wedding photography.


Jun 14, 2013 at 02:17 AM
morby
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Mean, Median, and Actual Wedding Prices


TRReichman wrote:
Our responsibility is not just to grab the low-hanging fruit of people who already want what we do, our responsibility is to create new believers. It is completely within our ability to make the market as large as we want.



I agree with this 100%. I recently went through a price change and was worried that it had the potential to sink my business. My wife and I decided that we wanted to book 36 weddings a year and average $5000 per wedding. I was really stressed for a period of time thinking that not many people would book us at that price. But, since the switch we've been averaging over $5000 per wedding and I'm tracking ahead of last year in booked weddings. Our clients and their budgets haven't changed (I still shoot at all of the same venues). What I believe has changed is our ability to communicate value and making our clients believe it's worth it.

EDIT: I hate mentioning numbers because it feels boastful. The only reason I put that out there is because I think we are the ones hurting the industry by devaluing what we offer. My skill isn't much different than many people in my area, but I do believe that the value I place on it is. Communicating that value is important in making new believers like Todd is talking about.



Jun 14, 2013 at 02:54 AM
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