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Industry Survey on 3rd, 2nd and Lead Wedding Photographer Pay Rates

By Pye Jirsa on March 7th 2015


We want to compile an awesome industry survey resource for 2015 on current “average” pay rates for 3rd, 2nd and Lead Shooters.

This survey will take less than 1-2 minutes, and we will compile all of the results for an article to be featured on SLR Lounge. All results will be completely anonymous and provided simply in an overall statistical format. Please help us to keep the integrity of this survey by being HONEST!

Before participating, please read the following guide:

1. Consistent Work

Please base your responses on how much you typically pay, or get paid. Don’t provide responses based on “One-time I was paid…” or how much you would pay if you were in a pinch.

2. Be Honest

Everyone is underpaid, we know. We all deserve more. Please base rates on what you actually pay or receive, rather than what you feel you should pay or receive.

3. Only Day Of Rates

If your shooting rates include pay for culling/editing/meetings/planning/etc, please break them out. Rates should only be for actual shoot time. We will do another survey later on post-production rates.

4. Convert to USD

Please convert all currency to USD before entering your response. No need to answer in Japanese Yen and throw the entire thing off =)

5. Don’t Comment Regarding Rates

Please don’t go posting in comments who pays what, or how much you get paid. Let’s keep this classy and confidential!

Take the Survey

Please participate by taking the survey at

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Graham Curran

    While converting to USD levels the playing field for making comparisons what a photographer can charge depends on the local market and this should be part of the data.

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  2. Matthew Saville

    I think the #1 use for this type of information will be for aspiring photographers to know what to ASK FOR when looking for work, and as such it could be extremely helpful!

    As someone who has 2nd shot for at least twenty different wedding photographers in my career, I must say the results are absolutely all across the board. Everything from $100 to $1200, and that’s just for 2nd shooting, not even lead shooting!

    I wish these numbers had been around ten years ago when I got started…

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  3. Rafael Steffen

    This survey is going to help us understand other costs involved in covering a wedding.

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  4. Greg Silver

    Looking forward to seeing the results. Although I’m not a wedding photographer, I’m really interested in seeing what this industry looks like from a photographer’s perspective.

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  5. Pye

    Hey guys, I love debates and conversation. Critique is also always welcome, but please remember that what sets SLR Lounge apart from the other sites is that we want to foster a positive and uplifting community. Please leave the trolling and negativity out of the debates/discussion.

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  6. George Brown

    For Robert S.

    The Motive:
    “We want to compile an awesome industry survey resource for 2015 on current “average” pay rates for 3rd, 2nd and Lead Shooters.”

    The Part Where You Are Anonymous
    “All results will be completely anonymous and provided simply in an overall statistical format. ”

    No one cares about your pay. It’s anonymous. If you don’t want to be involved then don’t be involved. Don’t make a moany little comment about how you refuse to be.

    Also, maybe practice a bit of grammar.

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    • robert s

      ~Also, maybe practice a bit of grammar.~

      I wonder if you speak any of the languages I speak fluently that you try to insult others regarding their grammar. quite a cheap shot.

      you do realize the internet is intl, yes? maybe you lack the understanding that the internet is not only people who are from the US?

      my mother tongue is not english and its quite immature to criticize another for that.

      now you being a newcomer at level 1, I can only assess it was made for trolling.

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    • George Brown

      I apologise, that last comment was necessary. I think I just found your attitude a little rude and distasteful and it’s usually enough to set me off.

      Sorry Pye. My only true response was intended to be “if it doesn’t interest you, don’t comment on it.”



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  7. Paul Empson

    personal? my rates are all over my website :-D

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    • robert s

      A lot of people put their prices on their sites because they dont want headaches and to deal with window shoppers. I personally feel its best to get them in the studio, connect with them, show them the work and then talk price.

      its happened that many who were shopping for a photog that costs X amount of money actually were willing to spend more when they came in and we were able to connect and thats a huge plus. those who see the price will quickly close the browser and move on because the price was not in their bracket but many times you can convince them to pay a bit more. and youll be surprised but there were quite a few who I was able to convince and show them why they should pay a bit more and its not only because of the work but also because we were able to connect. something you would never have the chance to get should you post the price.

      its like when you go to the photo store and you hold the 70-200 f/4 in your hand because thats all you can afford. then you hold the 2.8 and you know you should stick to your budget but still you go for the superior 70-200 2.8. its the same with people. its perceived value.

      I used to post prices when I started. that was years ago. not today.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Both business models work just fine. I know plenty of wedding photographers that have been in business for 20-30+ years, and they use both business models.

      I will say this though: the higher you go, the more it does help a little bit to post at least ONE pricing number. If your packages average over $10K, you just don’t have that much time for lots of sit-down appointments with $1500 inquiries.

      (No I’m not speaking from personal experience lol, nor am I insinuating about anybody else’s price brackets…)

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  8. robert s

    no . you post yours first and ill be right after you. thats really personal info man.

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    • Pye

      Lol, did you not read that it was an anonymous survey?

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    • robert s

      whats the motive. anyone can write what they went and skew the results. I wouldnt write the exact figures. you dont expect people to really be honest on how much money they make. I dont look in other peoples pocket and certainly dont want anyone looking in mine. its strategic for other pros to know what others make and its the only reason for this.

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    • Kevin Liu

      Oh jeez. This is hardly really personal info. People just want to know how much they could be negotiating for their second shooting jobs based on market. This is an awesome resource. As always, if you don’t want to play along, you can always click the back button and go read something else.

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    • Richard Hammer

      I think you’re being a bit too sensitive here. The survey is ANONYMOUS, and the information is not being used in a malicious way. You act as if the folks at SLR Lounge are collecting this information just so they can use it for personal gain. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Pye is already a successful photographer.

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    • Pye

      By that reasoning, there is really no point to any survey. People can always lie, and surveys that don’t involve any form of “sensitive” information really aren’t worth taking in the first place.

      The purpose of a survey is to obtain information about things that are unknown and a large enough survey size, will provide that the outliers on both sides of the curve cancel each other out.

      But again, if this isn’t something you find valuable, it’s that easy just to skip it and move to the next article =)

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    • robert s

      ~By that reasoning, there is really no point to any survey. People can always lie, and surveys that don’t involve any form of “sensitive” information really aren’t worth taking in the first place. ~

      thats also a point why surveys on the internet are not accurate. people have all sorts of motives to skew and lie about them. anybody can be anybody on the internet and anybody can write what they feel. if people follow anonymous surveys just because theyre anonymous t

      @ Richard Hammer nice points richard. but Pye doesnt need your help. we can have an discussion without you backing him up. dont bring up slrlounge. it has nothing to do with them.

      the survey will be incorrect. many wont enter the truthful figures in.
      who knows how anonymous. it says anonymous so its true? you sure are naive if you believe everything you read on the net. people have motives to everything. no one wastes their time for no reason. its always about money bottom line.

      @kevin liu. yes thank you for mentioning the back button.

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    • robert s

      I can go in with multiple computers and be done with those 6 questions. yes I saw the survey. No I didnt fill it out because I dont want to lie. I like being fair. but anyone can just erase their cookies and redo it over and over. most times people are motivated for personal reasons not to be accurate with surveys.

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    • Kevin Liu

      “I can go in with multiple computers and be done with those 6 questions… No I didnt fill it out because I dont want to lie.”

      Just because you can be a stick in the mud, doesn’t mean you have to be. If you’re not going answer accurately, you don’t have to participate. Besides, If you do lie and give an inaccurate figure, it wouldn’t matter much. If enough people participate in any survey, the few inaccurate responses usually find their way into the extremes, and like internet trolls, outliers are typically disregarded.

      The survey will be fine.

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    • James Rogen

      “you show me yours and i’ll show you mine” what is this, jr high truth or dare? stop being so insecure and fill out the damn survey

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    • Matthew Saville

      Robert S, to be honest when you say that, there are two things that come to mind: Either you make a ton of money, or not enough.

      You’re welcome to refuse to participate, and you’re welcome to voice your opinion here! Either way, when the survey results are published I hope they can give you reason to feel good about what you make!

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