…yes, you read that right. I shot my first wedding for $125.
As a new professional photographer, I only had my DSLR for a couple of months and still didn’t really know what I was doing, but I knew I was going to continue to make myself learn to shoot in manual mode! I had taken tons of images of my own children and some generous friends’ children. Then that one fateful day, my sweet grandmother called me and asked if I would be interested in shooting a wedding. Her church youth leader was getting married, and she had found out that they didn’t have a photographer and they were planning on letting a cousin take some snapshots with her iPhone…yikes.
My grandmother knew it was going to be a small wedding and thought I wouldn’t be there for more than an hour, but bless her…she didn’t think about the hour to drive to the venue (nor the hour back and the time spent AT the event).
She asked if she could pay me my hourly rate at that time, and (of course) I agreed because I really wanted to try and shoot weddings, and, besides, who tells their grandmother no? Not I, my friend!
The drive itself took me a little over an hour, and thankfully I had taken my husband’s 4-wheel drive pickup truck as a last minute decision. I didn’t know how much I was going to need that truck to drive, because the off-roading that took place to get to the venue was crazy! I drove through fields, then across a creek, through more fields and gravel drives to a house that was not quite built. It had, however, had enough property on it to host a wedding for this sweet couple.
I knew y’all wouldn’t believe me…just as I knew my husband wouldn’t either… so I stopped and snapped some pics with my cell.
Yep…$125 for that. Around 2.5 hours of driving, another 3ish hours to shoot, plus the hours of editing later. I think I made about $8 per hour…maybe! But dang, they were the sweetest couple!
Y’all. There you have it. We ALL start somewhere. We all shoot for free to build up our skills, and we all charge nominal amounts in the beginning, but the most important thing to know is that we do not stay at the bottom of the pay scale, and you CAN quickly begin to increase.
Within a few months, I shot another wedding and charged well over 10 times the amount of my $125 wedding. So do not get discouraged, my friend! (But definitely charge more than $125 for your first wedding!)