It seems the moment the word “wedding” is mentioned everything gets 10x more expensive. I mean how hard is it for someone to click a button and get some photos for you?
Perhaps there’s more to it than meets the eye. Let me help you see why wedding photography isn’t cheap but is actually value for money.
To help understand what you’re paying for I’ve broken it down into 4 areas-
- Craft & Experience
Tools help people get a job done. Buy cheap, buy twice is the rule of thumb, one I firmly believe in. When it comes to making sure your wedding day is captured with minimal issues good quality tools is a must.
Here are a few tools that are needed to get you your pictures –
- 2 x Cameras (At least )
- 2 x Lenses (At least)
- Many High Capacity, Fast & High Quality Memory Cards
- Camera Harness
- Batteries (Camera, Flash, Etc)
- Camera Bags
- Light Stands, Modifiers, Flashes
- Image Editing Software Subscription (Capture One, Adobe LR & PS)
- Website Hosting & Maintenance
- Many Hard Drives
- Cloud Backup Subscription
- Fast Computer
- High Quality Monitor & Monitor Calibration Tool
- Car (Tax, Fuel, Insurance, Maintenance, Etc)
- Internet & Phone
- Comfortable Shoes & Smart Clothing
I’ve only really listed obvious things. There’s a lot more smaller items, like pens etc, that are always a constant expense. But I’m sure you get the point.
Time is an expense that is easy to under-estimate. You see me turn up on your wedding day for 10-12 hours and I can forgive you for thinking that’s about the limit of my labour. That 10-12 hours is definitely not an easy ride, I’m always knackered after a day on my feet with my mind in constant use. But those 10-12 hours aren’t the first hours I’ve put in or the last.
In the build up to your wedding there’s a good amount of time, albeit in lots of small amounts, that are spent in client relations, emails, research, preparation, etc.
After the wedding, is perhaps when the bulk of the work comes in. Before I even get to editing your pictures there’s a few other steps. Backup is something of a mantra I preach and that takes time. Cataloguing and organizing the photos is also a crucial but boring part of the process.
Then there’s culling, editing, exporting, and delivery. Even then that’s not the end. Weddings I shot last year I’m still spending time on. Creating Albums, Blogs, Advertising & Maintaining a social presence all are an ongoing time expense. Again like with tools, there’s always a lot of smaller things that add up and take time.
Craft & Experience
Before I get onto craft, I just want to talk about experience. This is something that can never really be quantified. It’s something that’s always being built. It’s connected with time, but in the sense of what you have done with your time.
Experience of how a wedding works, how a camera works, how to edit pictures, how to keep on top of your taxes, are all things that are needed for a wedding photographer.
Also just because you have experience doesn’t mean you’re good at anything. Someone who’s shot weddings for 20 years v someone who’s shot them for 1 year – who’s the better wedding photographer? All depends on the end result really and can be very subjective.
Essentially what I’m trying to say though is that what you’re paying for is someone who is not only experienced but a craftsman. Someone who really knows how to balance light, composition, moments, camera settings, the limits of that camera and lens, where to be at any given moment, knows how to deal with people in the right way, the list goes on.
Before the wedding it’s really hard to see the value in a service like wedding photography. It’s something that’s a long way away, there’s little emotion in it.
It’s only after the wedding day that the value comes. After the excitement, people, moments, emotions, etc have passed does wedding photography bring its value. Consider it an investment. Something that will only get better with age.
It’s through the photos that you can hold onto that day. A photo is a powerful way to keep memories fresh for years to come.
So if you’re wondering whether to spend all that money on a professional photographer, then I’m going to say yes. You won’t regret it.
I know I’m biased as that’s how I make a living and have an interest in telling you this, but from seeing so many people so happy to relive their wedding day through photos is evidence enough to me that it’s more than worth it.