Why #RespectYour[WeddingVendor] Isn't Going to Work

WeddingIQ Blog - Why #respectyour[weddingvendor] Isn't Going to Work

There’s a graphic going around on Facebook (I’d have reposted the image, but I’m not 100% sure where it originated so I can’t ask permission) that breaks down the hours spent by professional photographers on each photo session, as well as all their other expenses and intangible costs of doing business.  The graphic ends with a hashtag, #RespectYourPhotographer.

The sentiment is clearly popular, as last I checked, it had been shared several hundred times.  And I don’t disagree with it at all — I wish everyone knew how hard we all work as wedding professionals.  I’ll be the first to point out that owning a business isn’t easy, and the work that photographers, caterers, planners, DJs and every other wedding service provider collectively do usually doesn’t get much credit as, you know, work.

Still, I’m hesitant to try to earn that credit by itemizing everything we do.  Because, as challenging as some of those items are, listing them out as evidence of deserving more respect can actually have the opposite effect.  “So what, you spend X number of hours driving to the post office to ship my product,” a naysayer may think.  “I spend twice that many hours commuting to my cubicle.”  Or, “So you don’t have health insurance paid for, neither do I — in fact, I got laid off last month!”  There’s a certain grass-is-always-greener mentality that can make our complaints and sacrifices seem not-so-terrible to people who hate their own job.

And the fact is, most of us do this work because we love it and because we can’t imagine doing anything else.  We may not always get the respect we want and deserve, but looking to others for that validation is not only futile, it robs us of our own joy.

Cataloging every minute spent working on someone’s wedding — and it’s hardly just photographers who do this; it’s a common theme on DJ websites, too — also invites another problem.  By opening up your expenses for scrutiny, you may have the issue of clients feeling they can cherry-pick what should apply to their wedding, and thus be deserving of a price adjustment.  “Well, surely my wedding won’t require so much photo editing, or so much music prep time — can’t the rate be lowered?”

Again, I do feel we deserve respect, as our work is delivering a valuable service that enhances couples’ enjoyment of what should be one of the happiest days of their lives.  The respect for that work, however, should come from the quality of what we provide, and the fact that we won’t invite or engage in discussion of the merits of our pricing, or look to others to confirm our value.


Jennifer Reitmeyer

Jennifer Reitmeyer is the founder of WeddingIQ and the owner of MyDeejay, Firebrand Messaging, and Authentic Boss. She is also a WeddingWire Education Expert, a small business coach and a professional speaker on the event industry circuit.