The wedding photography market in the United States, i.e. the number of wedding photographers in the United States, is a difficult number to compute. First of all, the term ‘wedding photographer’ is such a loose term that defines seasoned professionals, as well asyour typical uncle with a digital camera. Secondly, aswith many independent contractors, not everyphotographer follows all of the rules of a legitimate business. For example, any statistics based on United States tax information might understate the true number in an industry with so much unreported revenue. Furthermore, many studios do not register their businesses; and others do not join professional organizations, making these measures unreliable as well. With so many ‘under the radar’ and part-time wedding photographers, the actual number is quite difficult to estimate.
However, we believe that we’ve come up with a reasonable number for the wedding photography market using deductive reasoning. Below is our rationale: Our first step was computing a reasonable estimate for the number of weddings per year in the United States by taking the average of two figures derived from two independent sources.
From there, the next step is to find a reliable number for the average number of weddings per year per wedding photographer. We found a great article on www.pdnonline.com that details the results of an online survey they conducted in 2008 with 1,098respondents. Their results indicated an average of 21.1 weddings per year per wedding photographer (studio/business owner). However, the 21.1 accounts for only studio/business owners, not encompassing those that second shoot a few weddings year or those that work for large studios or wedding venues that might shoot a wedding every weekend. Furthermore, the 21.1 figure could be inflated, as the number does not specify if the respondent photographer was the sole photographer at the event. If multiple photographers are counting a particular wedding as their own, the number should be lower. To account for these factors, we created a sensitivity analysis in the graph below.
Number of Wedding Photographers in the US
|Avg Number of US Weddings Annually :||2,183,300|
|Avg # of Weddings/Year/Photographer :||21.1||19||18||17||16||15|
|Estimate 1 (90%) :||93,127||103,419||109,165||115,586||122,811||130,998|
|Estimate 2 (75%) :||77,605||86,183||90,971||96,322||102,342||109,165|
|Estimate 3 (50%) :||51,737||57,455||60,647||64,215||68,228||72,777|
If professional wedding photographers averaged 21.1 weddings per year, there are 2,400,000 weddings annually, and every wedding used the services of a professional wedding photographer, the estimation for the number of wedding photographers would be 114,000 (2.4M/21.1). However, not every wedding uses a professional or even amateur photographer, hence the use of 90%, 75% and 50% breakdowns.
The calculations are pretty straight-forward, taking the total annual weddings, multiplying that number by either 90%, 75%, or 50%, and dividing those figures bythe average number of weddings photographed by awedding photographer per year (21.1, 20, and so on).
From this calculation, we believe that 100,000 is a reasonable estimate for the number of wedding photographers in the United States, as the combinations of average number of weddings per year per photographer and number of weddings that hire a wedding photographer seem reasonable (16 and 75%, 19 and 90%, etc).
We realize the limitations of this analysis; however, this is the best estimate we could calculate based on the available information. If any of you have any other alternative methods, feel free to share. We’d love to hear from you.