Wedding Photography Hidden Costs

June 18, 2014  •  1 Comment

Wedding Photography - Hidden Costs and Common Mistakes


Choosing a photographer for a wedding is no easy task.  Weddings are difficult on individuals.  Usually, budgets are tight and vendors are expensive.  Allocating money in the right areas of a wedding is one of the most important tasks an individual will have to tackle during the wedding planning experience.  After all, isn't the goal of wedding planning to get more bang for your buck so that there is plenty of funding left over for an extravagant honeymoon?  The answer is YES!!  So, what exactly should you look for when looking into a photographer?  Well, Forever Photography of El Dorado, Arkansas is here to help!  Below is a list of what we feel are the top priorities for a client to research cost wise when looking for a wedding photographer.

Photography Packages

Packages are a great way for a client to save money for their wedding.  Many photographers offer various levels of packages for their business that fits a wide variety of budgets out there today.  Calculating the cost of these packages is fairly easy.  For example, lets take a look at our Petite Wedding packing that can be found on our Wedding Packages page at Forever Photography.

Our Petite package is an $800 package that gives the client a wide variety of services at a very competitive price compared to other photographers around the El Dorado, AR area.  This package includes 4 hours of coverage, a complimentary engagement session, a complimentary slideshow of your wedding journey, and a high resolution digital disk with printing rights so that you may print your pictures off at a vendor of your choice.  As with all of our packages, we also include a digital online photo gallery so that you may order higher quality prints of your favorite pictures at an additional charge (Something we will discuss in a bit).

Now, if you break this package down, you can see, that for the $800 dollar price, you really are getting a lot out of the package.  If you move over to our Wedding Al La Carte page, you will see that the engagement session alone is a $150 value.  So if you take the $800 initial package cost, and deduct the $150 session cost, you get $650.  If you do the same process with the Complimentary Slideshow that number becomes $400.  Divide that by the 4 hours of wedding coverage and you get $100 an hour, which is $25 an hour less than what we charge for our regular session.  Savings equates to about $100 and doesn't even factor in the time we take the edit, post, and deliver your final product.

This is just one example of a package.  There are many packages out there around the El Dorado, AR area from various photographers.  However, there are also a lot of HIDDEN COSTS!  Which brings us to our next portion of this blog.

Hidden Costs

So, you've chosen your photographer, you've had your wedding covered, you're married, paying off the honeymoon, rings, and the actual wedding itself!  Lets say you get your digital disk of the wedding packed full of great pictures from your special day and see one in particular that you really love!  You decide to use the photographer to get a specialty print made to hang on the wall.  And that's when it happens.  Hidden costs hit!

Print cost should play a HUGE factor in determining your Wedding Photographer.  Just because your wedding is over, doesn't mean that the savings should end.  After reviewing several photographers in and around the South Arkansas area and their price lists, we came to a startling conclusion!  Prints cost an arm and a leg!  We saw 8x10's at $20, 4x6's at $5, Wallets at $20, 16x20's at $200!  Let me tell you this, the answer is no, these pictures should NOT be this much!

Many photographers are in the business to make money.  When people hear the word "Wedding", everything seems to go out the window.  If you've been looking around, you've probably already seen that everything that has to do with a wedding is expensive.  There is a reason for this.  People know that weddings bring irresponsible spending.  People know that clients are going to spend extra, unnecessary money to make sure their day is "Perfect".  We've got news for you.  It's not the florist, the decorator, the caterer, or even the photographer at your wedding that is going to make it "Perfect".  It's you, your soon to be spouse, and all your friends and family sharing your special day with you that will make it Perfect!

Back to the topic at hand.  We will give you an insight on our cost for prints at Forever Photography.  The results are startling, I assure you.  Lets go back to the examples of sizes and costs above.  First of all, we us Mpix Labs for our prints.  Now, I'm not going to say that a photographer should not make a small profit on pictures ordered, because yes, we do get a discounted rate for our pictures, and yes, these are extremely high quality pictures that you won't get from your local Wal-Mart or Walgreens.  But, where does the transition from profitability to absurd start?

On average, after researching 8x10's, we found that the average 8x10 from photographers around the El Dorado, AR area was $15 to $20.  Forever Photography sells their 8x10 pictures for $6.00.  Now you see the difference right?  Now, why are other photographers so expensive?  Are they using better print services?  The answer is no.  Mpix Labs is one of the best on the market.  The answer is, profitability.  Many photographers feel that their work should be paid for.  They believe they can charge extra for their pictures because of the work they put into that picture.  However, they fail to remember, the client ALREADY paid them for their services!!  Inflating a cost 400 to 500% is a common practice by many photographers today.  Yes, a profit should be made, but, and here's the real surprise, the cost of an 8x10 for Mpix Labs is $2.09 for the photographer!!  After shipping and handling, and service fees, we usually see an end profit of around $1.79 per 8x10 ordered from Forever Photography.  We do this because we believe in quantity over inflation.  We believe if we offer reasonable pricing for our pictures, our clients tend to buy more prints from us as opposed to one over priced picture from us then the rest from Wal-Mart or Walgreens.  It is our goal to get you to order all of your extra pictures from us.  By charging the El Dorado, AR average, that could get extremely expensive!  This is why we keep our pricing down.

The above is just one picture size example.  For times sake, I won't go into detail on all sizes out there today, but I assure you, you'll notice a trend.  Our suggestion is to take advantage of the Free Consultations photographers here in the area offer.  Ask the photographer what their print cost is.  Most of the time, they do not list this price on their websites so that you cannot see before the fact.  It's when you go to order that you realize how much the pictures are.  By asking, you can stay ahead of the planning game.  Remember, these prices don't only effect you, they also effect parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brother, sisters, and friends.  Stay informed, ask questions, and if you don't like what you see, go somewhere else.  There are plenty of vendors here in South Arkansas that would be more than willing to conduct business with you.  Remember, the final decision is yours!


We hope that this post has not only been informative, but that it has also shown you that planning plays a crucial role in budgeting for a wedding.  Always remember, yes, this is a very important day in your life and you do deserve the best.  However, the best isn't always what it appears to be.  Always research your vendor, ask question, and make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you sign a contract.  If you don't, a $5,000 Wedding could easily turn into a $10,000 Wedding!

Thanks for taking the time to read this and remember, it never hurts to talk to multiple vendors for the same service.  Here at Forever Photography, our consultations are Free of charge.  If you would like to speak to us about your upcoming wedding, give us a call today.  We would be more than happy to sit down with you and discuss the possibility of serving your Wedding needs.


Forever Photography ~ El Dorado, Arkansas 71730 ~ 870-866-6074



Josh N Photography(non-registered)
Your blog is very nice. These tools are really very helpful...:-)
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