Posted December 06, 2020 08:15:00As wedding photographers in Maine are set to start getting paid a salary of $800 per day starting this January, the Bangor Daily News has learned that the job has been filled with challenges and it will take at least three years to bring the pay to what it used to be.
“This is a pay rate that’s more than $1k per day.
It’s been in the $1.2k range,” said Katie St. John, director of photography at the Bangors Wedding Photographers Association.
“We’re working with a very small pool of photographers to help them navigate that process.”
The Bangor Photographers Union is one of the many wedding photographers that have recently signed up to take the pay increase and that is one that the union is happy to help.
“We know that the pay is going to be a little bit higher than what we’re seeing now,” said St. Johns.
“But we’re working really hard to get the pay back to what we thought it would be.”
While the union does not expect the pay rise to be the same as it is now, St. Johanns said that she and other photographers are doing everything they can to get it to where it needs to be to help other photographers get paid as well.
“That’s one of my biggest challenges, is that I think it’s going to take about three years, probably more, to bring it back to where we were in 2017,” said the photographer.
“It’s a long process and it’s not something that can be done overnight.
It takes a lot of work.”
The photo industry in Maine has been hit hard by the global recession and many photographers are feeling the impact.
While the industry is doing well, the average pay is only $1K per day, and the union has been working hard to bring that down.
“There are still a lot more photographers out there that are not earning a living wage in Maine and I think that’s something that we need to pay attention to,” said Ms. St. Johan.
“This is something that’s going on now and we’re going to keep pushing forward to help the industry.”
The pay hike is only one of several steps the union and the Bangore Photographers Guild are taking to help photographers in the industry.
They are also helping to pay for equipment and rent for the first time in the state.
“I’m really happy that we’re making the transition to the online payment,” said Julie Eberhart, president of the Bangoring Photographers.
“There’s no better time than now to start making that transition.”
While she and the other union members will be making a lot less money than they used to, they are happy to be taking the pay hike.
“It’s really about putting in the time to get to the point where we’re comfortable and we feel like we can take on the responsibility of making sure that we can provide a safe, healthy and rewarding environment for everyone in the photography industry,” said Eberhardt.
“If we don’t, then I don’t know what the hell will happen.”
Ms. Eberhard said that they are looking at ways to increase their wages so that the average photographer will be better off in 2021.
“The pay we’re getting is really reasonable.
I think the pay that we get right now is more than we’re actually getting out of the industry right now,” she said.”
Our union is really trying to raise the minimum wage.
We want to make sure that it’s higher than the minimum we’ve been making.”
The union has also helped to expand the amount of wedding photographers available to photographers through their membership program.
The Bangor Wedding Photography Association has been a key supporter of that program, and they hope to expand it into other areas as well.
“There’s so much more to be done.
It really is a lot bigger than we’ve ever been able to get,” said Kate Brown, the president of Bangor Photography.
“I think we’re all just getting started and we want to see more and more photographers in this industry get paid well.”