An informative look at what a wedding photographer charges per hour?

Cost of a wedding photographer in Calgary

We often hear people talking about how much their wedding photographer charges per hour. “They only work for ten hours and yet charge thousands of dollars” we regularly hear. The reality is much further from the truth. Let’s look at how our wedding fee is split up. First, we will look at the hours actually spent on each wedding.

When we receive the wedding inquiry, we put together a custom information package detailing all the pricing for the particular wedding. If the wedding is outside the city of Calgary, we research the costs associated with permits and travel fees. We then meet the clients for a wedding consult to explain our photography style and process, as well as to answer questions they may have, This session usually lasts for one to one and a half hours, on top of the initial exchange of emails.

We then conduct an engagement session with our couple. While the session itself lasts for two hours, we spend several hours researching new locations so that each client gets something unique to them. Once the session is complete, we edit the photos and upload them to our website. For every hour of photography, we typically spend a minimum of two hours culling, editing, exporting, and uploading photos. This engagement session, therefore, adds an additional eight hours of time.

Between the engagement session and wedding, we have multiple emails regarding scheduling and timelines, transportation, photo locations, and transportation. These emails and conversations add another 4 hours of time as all the details are sorted out.

Just days prior to the wedding, we begin the task of prepping all our equipment. Batteries all need charging, memory cards sorted and formatted, and a thorough check to ensure all our equipment, and backup equipment is all accounted for. These checks add several more hours to the timeline.

On the wedding day itself, gear is loaded and we make an early start to the wedding site where the bride and groom are getting ready. Photography on the wedding day typically lasts for ten hours. After the day, equipment has to be reloaded and cleaned up from the wedding reception venue, we head home again and equipment must once again be put away. With the large value of equipment, we have to be sure it is not left sitting unsecured, After a long day, we still have things that need to be done. The 4000 plus images are downloaded to our computer and the back-up process is started.

Calgary wedding photographer charges per hour 2
Calgary wedding photographer charges per hour

At this point, the post-processing work begins. We go through every single photo looking for images that are out of focus, duplicate, or have other technical errors with them. We then go through the photos a second time looking for groups of photos, picking out the best one or two photos that will tell the story. and show the best emotion. Once we have culled down to the selection of photos we are going to give to the client, the editing begins. We now go through every photo once again, this time doing the basic adjustments to bring out the best of each photo.

Adjustments to exposure, contrast, shadows, hue, detail enhancement, and a wide assortment of other variables are all individually adjusted. As we go through, we identify photos that have random strangers in the background, odd shadows, or other items that distract from the photo.

Once we have individually adjusted every photo, we go back and do the big repairs on the photos we identified in the previous step. Each photo is brought into PhotoShop and the process of cloning, dodging and burning, and spot repairs are all done. All told the ten hours of wedding photography results in approximately 25 to 30 hours of post-production and gallery development.

Once all the photos are adjusted and looking their best, time stamps are synced from each of the cameras and each photo is placed into the best spot in the timeline to tell the story.

The photos are then exported into a format that can be viewed by the client. Once this is done, an online gallery is created and all the photos are uploaded into it. A mobile app is created and the email to the client is finally sent out.

Calgary wedding photography cost
Calgary wedding photography cost Photo Courtesy of Good Free Photos

The wedding fee doesn’t all go to the photographer. The second shooter is paid from this fee, as well as the part of the cost of our annual business licenses, for Calgary, Kananaskis, National Park, and Kneehill County must be deducted. As well, part of the cost of our business insurance is deducted from the remaining amount. Equipment costs, repairs, and replacements, accountant fees, website, and gallery hosting costs are only a small percentage of the fees that get paid out by the business.

After paying all the fees, the remaining funds are split between the 62.5 hours it took to complete the wedding. Needless to say, what the photographer charges per hour is not what you would think. We hope this provided you with an informative look at what a Calgary wedding photographer charges per hour and how those rates are determined.

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How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Charges Per Hour?


Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.

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