Friday, July 15, 2011

VW Beetles and Pancakes

On Saturday, I will do the last wedding in a career that started for me at the age of 15, when I shot my first solo wedding for a small town studio.  The owner's wife had to drive me to and from the venues, as I did not have a driver's license. All the happy couples were only about 18 years old, and I was a big kid for my age, so no one questioned why a 15 year old was shooting a wedding for an established studio.

Back then, we shot the same 36 photos of each wedding (3 rolls of 12 square format on 120 film).  They were all printed as 8X10's and we put 12 of the 36 into a crappy album for $150. The other 24 were available for $10 each.  Most people bought all 36 for a total of $390.   Since you could buy a VW Beetle new for under $1000 back then, and a new Beetle today is about $20,000, that wedding cost $7800 in 2011 dollars for 36 shots and 3 hours of shooting time. The photographer I worked for supported a wife and two kids on what he earned, sometimes fitting in 4 weddings in a day when I was helping.

What is my point?  There is a team of photogrpahers from Toronto ("we have 14 years experince shooting weddings!") who will drive here and shoot 12 hours on a wedding for $500 flat and give the client all the image files and copyright. They are not supporting a wife and two kids in Toronto shooting weddings, becasues in 1963 dollars they are grossing only $12.50  each for the whole 12 hour day plus 5 hours of driving--workng out to 70 cents per hour, less the cost of gasoline to drive here.

In 1963, I also had a job as a dishwaher in a pancake house that paid 90 cents per hour and all I could eat.
Photographers these days are netting less money than a dishwasher but without the free pancakes.

No comments:

Post a Comment