Saw a craigslist ad today looking for a wedding photographer and bemoaning rates higher than doctor's/photographers:
1) That's not true. A good lawyer will easily run $500 an hour. Some photographers do have rates that high, but they don't cater to people who post craigslist ads.
2) The big difference is a photographer gets paid just for shooting but has to often do 1.5 hours or more additional work (for each hour shooting) in terms of editing, administrative stuff and client liasoning.
I seem to have a lot of 15 minute appointments with doctors during which time they also look at scans and write prescriptions. There's usually 6-7 doctors at a practice who each have 50 hours of billable work each week whereas as full-time photographer probably only gets paid for 15-25 hours of work each week.
Lawyers charge you the same $500/hr for time in court, editing, administrative stuff, client liasoning, going to the bathroom and writing the bill.
3) Photographers have a much higher success rate than lawyers or doctors.
Sorry to preach to the choir, but just state your budget and move on. No need to editorialize!