Weddings can be so expensive, with the venue, the food, the clothes, the decorations, the DJ or band; the list goes on and on and on. Add the photographer’s cost on top of the list, and it can feel overwhelming, and it will make you wonder why wedding photography costs so much. So we’re here to break it down from a photographer’s perspective so you can understand all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
Everyone wants to remember their special wedding day. Therefore, home videos and poor quality photographs on a camera phone won’t cut it; this is why most couples opt for a professional wedding photographer to document their special day. However, many are faced with and ask ‘Why is Wedding Photography so Expensive?’.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Expense of a Wedding Photographer
- 2 Understanding Weddings – Not Just Taking Pictures
- 3 Reasons wedding photography is expensive.
The Expense of a Wedding Photographer
The price charged by wedding photographers can range hugely, and many charges into the thousands for a full day of shooting. However, they are a necessary part of any wedding day. Wedding days are the most important day in many of our lives, and the risk of not having the photos you dreamed of runs high unless you have professionals taking care of them.
Not only do wedding photographers take staged photographs of the wedding party and guests, but many also offer a full day of shooting which involves everything from photographs of the bridal makeup and hair being done right until the last person leaves the wedding reception. Furthermore, photographers’ work is not done when the day is over as they then have the responsibility of choosing the best quality photos and making any edits to those that need them.
With such pressure on professionals to capture every perfect photograph, it is somewhat understandable that wedding photographers are so expensive when considering the sheer amount of equipment required.
They need one camera, lenses, tripods, memory cards, batteries, a different camera for this, a different camera for that, and camera equipment is not often easily affordable. Many wedding photographers’ kit reaches a cost of well into the thousands of pounds. With all this expensive kit, you also need public liability insurance that most venues require before allowing you to work on their premises, again another large expense.
That is just the camera. What about editing your photos? A powerful laptop or PC is needed, software to edit the photos, backup hard drives so nothing is lost, USB pens and online storage to supply your photos, all these costs add up.
With everything there is time, you are not just paying for the wedding photographer to attend our wedding for 6-12 hours, and that is it, they will spend time making sure all they have all the equipment set up for your wedding, they may go and recce your venue to ensure they know the best places for some beautiful photos, then after the wedding, transferring images, backing them all up, and then editing them and creating albums that you fall in love with.
Additionally, wedding photographers have a huge pressure placed upon them; one wrong click or one faulty piece of equipment and the hundreds of wedding photographs you have been waiting for are gone, and the fault lies solely with the wedding photographer themselves. You are paying for an experience.
Understanding Weddings – Not Just Taking Pictures
Building a Rapport
This person will be close to you throughout your special day, so find someone you trust. They’ll need to adapt, listen and communicate well. You’ll be exchanging instructions with them before, and after the date, so a pro will be available online, by phone, and in-person, so you can get to know each other. An excellent wedding professional forms a connection with you to be immersed in your ceremony, which will show in the intimate moments they catch on film.
Knowing Where to Focus
There is so much happening on the day of a wedding that the average person doesn’t even think about. A free photographer might only show up at the ceremony a little before the guests do. At the same time, a professional can come in for shots of the bridal party doing hair and makeup, tying ties and pinning corsages. The amateur could also forget to get various shots showing your friends and family because they’re only thinking of the bride and groom.
Experience has taught a wedding photographer where and when to look for fleeting moments like the first kiss. Likewise, a professional knows how to be quick and discreet, making them less distracting during the service.
Anybody with a camera can call together a group of people and snap a picture. If your artistic friend is a little shy giving people directions, then the group could end up randomly bunched together. Someone who’s not getting paid could start barking directions and make an already stressed-out bridal party more nervous. And then they only snap a few different group shots, and in half of them, people aren’t ready, their eyes are closed, or the lighting is off.
Personable, discreet professionals know how to be upbeat, communicate clearly, and keep up the pace when guiding and directing a group for formals. Taking extra shots of crucial pictures to avoid blinking, awkward expressions or missing key poses is essential for every formal photographer.
After the ceremony, the amateur photographer has now worked ten hours, and they’re getting tired. This is where the friend or family member you “hired” feels entitled to relax and take only a few shots for the rest of the evening because they’re doing you a favour.
If your cheap photographer is a stranger, they may assume their work is done after the ceremony. But, if you made a contract for the reception, what does that entail? More formal shots against a blank wall for whatever guests volunteer? Flat, flash photos of people in a dark room?
Some of the best shots at a wedding can be the candid shots of people dancing and laughing at the reception. To avoid blurry, barely recognizable faces, you can trust a pro.
Post Production Isn’t Just Fixing Mistakes.
A photographer’s work doesn’t end after your wedding day. But, first, the shots are uploaded to a computer and edited with professional software.
In the case of the hobbyist, it’s possible they don’t have editing software at home or may only know a few basics. Having already spent an entire day on this, if they’re not going to edit them, they probably won’t go through the 2,000 raw shots to find the good ones either. You’ll end up sorting through blurry and dark images looking for something that looks nice.
This, again, is something you discussed with the photographer before the wedding, and now they’re bringing out the style and mood you requested. Wedding photo styles can range from candid photojournalism with a de-saturated, vintage look to artistic portraits with a light, airy glow. A professional photographer uses both camera effects and computer after-effects to achieve your desired look and feel on the best shots.
Money Makes a Difference
Payment in exchange for services makes this a serious business. A free photographer is not going to be held to a standard of quality work. They also have no motivation to deliver final results promptly. It could be months before they get around to sending your photo files.
A casual photographer probably won’t have a contract or any assurance so that you know exactly what they’re going to do and what you’re going to get. Professional photographers have contractual obligations and goals that both of you agreed upon. If you get a free photographer or only pay them a little, they don’t have much reason to take your wedding day seriously.
Reasons wedding photography is expensive.
Several things make wedding photography so expensive. These are some of the reasons coming from a photographer’s point of view. Getting to know these will surely help you comprehend more about the photographer’s psychology of pricing.
The initial investment of gears
One of the primary reasons why wedding photography is so expensive is the initial investment photographers make. The investment photographers usually make on their gears is a huge amount of money. The camera, lenses, lights and other additional accessories cost a lot. Just having a camera doesn’t/can’t give you the professional quality you expect. That’s why for delivering the best quality, photographers need higher performing gears. Otherwise, they can’t match up to the standards of professional photography. So, many times the charges for wedding photography depends on the gears a photographer usually uses.
Quality of work
This is basically the reason for choosing a professional photographer for wedding photography. You can have the gears, but the skill and experience won’t be there. Photographers spend years perfecting their skills and gather experience in the field. That experience leads to gaining uniqueness and creativity in their work. And that has value. You can’t replace that with just having a camera in your hand. A more skilful and experienced photographer will surely charge you more money. That’s how it should be in the first place. So, you are basically paying for that value rather than the photographs.
Wedding photography isn’t just a spot work. The post-processing involved in wedding images is critical. Some photographers have their own styles, and people choose them for that reason. So, maintaining that style becomes a priority for these photographers. They have to spend hours in front of their computers to get the best output for that purpose. Editing takes a lot of their time, and it’s an integral part of wedding photography. Some may even spend their whole day capturing the true essence of the photographs. As wedding events involve many elements, it is very difficult for them to edit the pictures. That leads to a lot of hard work and time towards the work. They can outsource photo editing services, but that also costs money. So, you aren’t just paying for photographs. You are also paying for the editing.
Professional photography isn’t just about investing once and enjoying the fruits. As a professional photographer, you always have to keep upgrading yourself. To compete, it’s necessary to have the latest gears with high quality. And when it comes to the best gears in photography, they cost a lot. Also, photographers need to have the best graphics for their monitors and PC. So, they constantly upgrade their computers as well. There are many things related to the photography field. For example, all the editing software actually cost a lot. Aside from that, there are sudden expenses such as a broken lens, broken lights, malfunctioning camera body etc. Accounting for all these expenses will probably make the photography charges seem legitimate.
There are various expenses involved in the field of wedding photography. First, photographers need to get to a certain location to cover the wedding. The further the destination more expensive it gets. They have to provide additional services such as photo albums, pen drives or HDD, compact disks, etc. All these add up to a decent amount of expense. So, when you are hiring a photographer, they are charging you for all these things. It’s usually all included in the cost. This eventually leads up to making photography a bit more expensive than usual.
This is the number one reason wedding photography costs so much. You hire a wedding photographer based on the look of and the quality of work they produce. It takes so much time for a photographer to develop their shooting technique, find their perfect editing style, and find the best way to interact with each other to bring out the best reactions and expressions for photos. This takes both natural talent and high dedication to practice until they reach the ever-elusive perfection. A good photographer is always researching new poses to try better methods to get the results they’re looking for. They will keep an eye on which gear is the best to give you the ultimate level of quality.
You are paying for talent and experience. This is a day that you can’t recreate if something goes wrong. You want to pay for the assurance that the person photographing your big day knows how to handle any lighting, setbacks or time delays and how to handle prominent personalities and reluctant subjects smoothly.
Finally, your photographer has their own set of business expenses that also explain why wedding photography costs so much. There will be photographer’s insurance, accountants or accounting software, client management software to keep everything organized, and online gallery services, to name a few. Any physical product photographers offer couples is another expense. A computer and photo editing software is essential for a photography business, but it doesn’t grow on trees.
The difficulties in work
Wedding photography is a lot harder than it seems. It’s hard to take photos in a room full of people. It is quite obvious that there will be people wandering all over the venue at weddings. This makes it very difficult for photographers to get their desired shots. So, they have to work extra hard to get the pictures they want. And if your photographer is dedicated to their work, they will try to give you the best memories with all their effort. That’s something you should be wary of.
Lastly, the thing that makes photography a business is time. A wedding can go on for 7 to 8 hours at least. And the photographers have to work through all those hours continuously. They can hardly take a break for the complete 7 or 8 hours. They are constantly putting effort into getting pictures from all over the event because they don’t want to miss any special moments. That’s why they are there for. So, it’s only fair that they charge you money for all the hours they spend doing your work. You are basically paying for their time. It’s just like any other service.
Well, now you know why is photography so expensive. But, aside from all those reasons, there are some things still unspoken. For example, the number of money photographers spend on learning and going through photography courses. Nothing comes free in this world. So, they have to spend quite a lot to get to become professional photographers.
Considering all these factors, you aren’t actually paying too much money to the wedding photographers. On the contrary, the amount is decent if they provide quality pictures. Just think about capturing memories and reminiscing them now and then. You can’t put a price on that. And they help you get something that you can cherish for the rest forever. After all, it’s the most special day of your life.