Monday, January 19, 2015

Cost of Wedding Photography

In talking to brides who are considering me for their wedding photography I am sometimes asked “Why is your photography more than the other photographer I spoke with?” Although I am not the most expensive photographer I am not the cheapest. Here is an explanation as to why a good photographer has to charge a little more.
Typically a bride first calls me and asks “How much do you charge for a wedding?” I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour on the phone finding out what day and how she has it planned. Places, times, size of bridal party and so on. I explain in detail what I can do with what she has planned and go over prices with her.
I spend just as much time if I am already booked that day and cannot do the photography. I will also give her some suggestions in looking for a photographer. Either way there is never any obligation.
If I am available and she wants to meet with me I spend anywhere from one hour to two going over in great detail the day of the wedding. Again, there is no obligation or cost.
If she hires me we set up a time to do an engagement photo session. She chooses the location and day. I suggest the best time and go over clothing and make-up. Between driving to the location, the photography and driving back I easily spend three to four hours.
When I get back I download the photos to the computer and edit them. I correct for color and density (brightness). They are not major corrections, as I was taught to get it right when taking the photo, just little tweaks here and there. I then convert them to JPGs so they can be viewed on any computer. I then burn them onto a disc for back-up and erase the memory cards after making sure everything was downloaded. This process takes about 2 hours sometimes more. I then call the couple to come in and choose their favorite which is enlarged, matted and brought to the wedding for guests to sign.
I do not charge extra to do this nor do I charge less not to. It is free because I like working with the couple so we are not strangers on the day of the wedding.
A month or two before the wedding I call the couple to coordinate the wedding day. Times, places, who I need when and where, list of family group photos, what time we need the flowers, and any special requests. I then type it up and email the schedule to the couple to make sure we have not left anything or anybody out. It’s important that we get beautiful photos in the least amount of time so the bride and groom can get on with enjoying their party. This all takes about an hour but it will ensure a smooth and fun wedding day.
On the day of the wedding I usually start two hours before the ceremony wherever the girls are getting dressed. I take the photos we discussed and more as well as keep everyone on schedule for the ceremony. Most weddings are about eight hours. Some are a little less and some a little more plus travel time.
When I get back to the office the editing process starts all over again. Download the photos, and color and density correct each photo. Then convert them to JPGs and burn them twice onto two DVDs for back-up. Create a slide show onto another DVD of all photos so they enjoy on their large screen TV. Erase all the memory cards after they each have been double checked that all images downloaded.
For every hour I spend at the wedding I will spend two on the editing process. If a wedding is eight hours I will spend sixteen editing. There is no short cut to this if I want the images to be outstanding.
I call the newly married couple and they come in and we typically look at the photos together. Sometimes they live far away so I mail them the DVDs or meet them half way. If the couple does not want a wedding album it stops here with about 30 hours invested.
Then there is the shiny equipment everyone tells me they wish they had. I bring three light stands, two tripods, five flashes, three cameras, six lenses, battery packs, cords, camera cases, filters, light meter, reflectors. I buy the most current and the best (most expensive). Do I use all of it? No, but I have all the equipment necessary to handle any lighting situation or challenge with ease. Not to mention computers, specialized software, liability insurance and fixed overhead of doing business.
Last but most important there is the cost of education. Anyone claiming they are self taught is unknowingly living in a small bubble of limited knowledge and expertise. Through the years I have invested a little over sixty-five thousand dollars in seminars, week long workshops, classes, trade shows, conventions, professional organizations, books, video tapes, and now DVDs.
Staying on top with the most current trends and equipment is expensive but is essential in being able to deliver photos with the “wow” factor.
As a comparison, for commercial jobs only the first hour consultation is free. After, I charge $250 for the first hour and $175 for each extra hour. If I would charge this the average bride could not afford my photography. Like most photographers I discount the wedding photography.
So to all my photographer friends, the next time someone asks you why you cost more. Ask then “Why do you think the other photographer costs less?”   

Friday, May 4, 2012


Just want to thank everyone who has read the blogs and all who who have subscribed to this blog. SInce we have set up a blog on our website all future blogs are posted there. If you go to it you'll see that several are already there. Tips, insite, and more.

See you there!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Print Judging and entering print competition

I just had the pleasure to be a judge at a photo contest for the PSTA or The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. They had a good number of prints and awarded First, Second, and Third prizes.

The theme was What does PSTA mean to you? The photo had to have in it something of or relating to the public transit system in Pinellas County, Florida.

There were three jud
ges of which I was one. For the most part we all agreed on which ones were the better or winning photos. However, I found it fascinating that several times we really had different views.

This is because we all learned photography or art by different means and sources. Each one influencing our idea of what is considered good or bad.

In the end we pretty much agreed on First, Second and Third place. The same is true for the ones we thought were less than good.

So here is the bottom line
: As one photographer once told when I was starting out, "Manny, the cream always rises to the top".

Top photo: My wife and I outside the PSTA building in St. Petersburg with a little gift for participating. I thought that was nice, thanks!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Sizzle Reel on Youtube.

We just finished the new sizzle reel and posted it on Youtube. Everything was filmed in Miami. We took some great photos thanks to all the models. We also photographed Pedro bello and his Dad, Pedro senior. They make hand roll authentic Cuban cigars. Then there is Luis Molina, a Cuban American artist. All were generous with the time they spent with us.

You can watch it by clicking the link below.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Silver Telly Award for Ken Cherry, Emanuele Pontoriero

Manny Pontoriero and Ken Cherry Receive a Telly Award for The Skilled Photographer 3 DVD Set.

Seen here with our Telly Awards with Tampa skyline at night in the background.

There are two Telly Awards, the Bronze and the Silver. The Silver being the higher of the two.
Both Ken and I received the Silver.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Photography on TV

Photography on TV

I have been lucky to be a regular contributor on a daily morning show here in Tampa, Florida. As a monthly guest for the past 2 years on Studio 10 I give some quick tips on making your photographs better. We have also held a photography contest with their help awarding a $400 gift certificate to B and H Photo in New York.

Whether on TV or other means there are so many ways to advance your photo skills. There are books, DVDs, online schools, college courses, seminars, workshops, apprenticeships, You Tube, and camera clubs. There are so many I probably left something out.

There is a lot of good and once in a while not so good instruction out there. Some is free and some you have to pay for. My opinion is that if you walk away with 2 or 3 ideas or techniques you walk away a winner. Even if you knew the rest of what was taught look at it as a review or refresher course.

Terry Quinn, a fellow photographer, once said to me, "If we both walk into a room with one dollar and we exchange it we both walk out with one dollar. Neither is any richer than when we entered. If we both walk into a room and we each exchange one idea we each walk out with two ideas. We have each doubled our knowledge".

What is truly important if you want to learn quickly is to immerse yourself in photography. You have to learn from all of the above and then practice over and over.

If you have not yet seen our instructional DVDs go to and search "manny pontoriero". Read the reviews and see if our DVDs can help you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

MArch of Dimes walk in Safety Harbor, Florida

March of Dimes walk in Safety Harbor, Florida

Saturday, April 30, was the March of Dimes "March for Babies" walk in Safety Harbor. There were probably 2000 attendees along with news anchors from Bay News 9, a Fox News Channel. It looked as if everything went great! Even the weather was perfect. I was there to take photos of the activities and participants.
They started with a warm up and then everyone started walking.
There were teams from K-Mart, Publix, Boars Head, just to name a few.
Kimberly Boone orchestrated the event and I thought she did a really excellent job.