In our current days of social media, photographs are everywhere. The truth is that the advancement of technology has made everyone a photographer. Utterly defining the word; a person who takes pictures is a photographer. So, technically everyone who owns a mobile phone is a photographer. In my recent research, I’ve concluded that there are a lot more mobile or smartphone cameras than professional level cameras being used. By the year 2022, mobile phone users and other camera users will have produced more than 7 trillion photos. Social media is a huge storage area for these trillions of photographs. Because photography is so readily available, why is it so expensive to hire a professional photographer?
A professional photographer is a lot different than those with a smartphone camera. As a professional, the standard of quality produced by the photographer is immediately raised above those with the cool Instagram account. A professional photographer has the experience to deal with many different situations that would make most mobile phone photographers and new photographers panic. Troubleshooting lighting and adding the creative touch that produces the final product that attracts clients is what makes a professional photographer worth every penny.
When a bride hires a wedding photographer, they are hiring someone that they can trust to document one of the most treasured events in their life. The first reason wedding photography is not cheap is simply the fact that the photographer is documenting such an important day. The time it takes to go through the day of a wedding should always be considered when searching for a photographer. Depending on the plans, a wedding event can last from 4 to 10 hours. A wedding can also include a rehearsal dinner. Engagement photos are sometimes included in the service provided. Because a wedding should be planned from the engagement to the end of the reception, many photographers include engagement session along with their wedding packages.
In my opinion, the wedding album is one of the most valuable products offered. Yes, I know that it’s cool to have digital negatives. Some photographer will include the files with their packages. The cool factor with the digital files is that they can be shared on Facebook or Instagram. The images from a wedding on a CD or USB drive cannot be displayed in the living room or on the wall as art. I believe the wedding album is the best way to view images because it is tangible. Some photographers are biased towards an album because they want to sell them, but I truly believe that the photographers that I know want to educate the bride and groom about the best choices for documenting their day. A CD or USB drive is not the most secure way to keep your images. They get damaged, and your photos will not be accessible. Backing them up on a hard drive adds a little more security, but they can also fail. Instagram is definitely not the place for such a special day. A wedding album can be displayed and kept for grandkids to view. If there is a fire or some other tragic event, the photographer may have your images achieved. When shopping for a wedding photographer, an album should not be the last thing on the couples' minds.
When the wedding is over, the real work begins for the photographer. After a long 10 hours of shooting a wedding, there are thousands of photos that the photographer has on his CF/SD cards. These images have to be processed. A photographer will spend hours culling through these images. Color corrections will also add to the time spent after the wedding to complete the job. Retouching is another post-production task that may need to be completed. This time adds up! The days that it takes to complete the post production process can easily turn into weeks. So keep in mind that the photographer is not done with your wedding when they leave the venue.
Before you Book
When searching for a photographer to document that particular day, there are some things that every bride should keep in mind.
- Price, of course, you want to stay within your budget. Price is always important, but remember everything that comes with that price. In my opinion, “you always get what you pay for.”
- Style is one of the most important factors in choosing a photographer. All photographers have a unique style that they are known for and continue to shoot. To try to get them to shoot another style can cause conflicts and alter the final products. If you see a lot of images on a photographer’s website or in their portfolio that you like, they are probably a match for what you’ve envisioned for your wedding day.
- Coverage- Be sure to have an understanding of how much coverage is needed for your wedding day. Photographers usually have a set number of hours included in each package that they offer.
- Prints and Products offered by the photographer can also help determine the cost of the photography. Choose a photographer that has a variety of products and not just images on a CD. Just handing over a CD with images is an incomplete service!
- Don’t forget Other Services! Determine whether or not you have a desire for things like bridal portraits, engagement sessions, a second photographer, and more. Don’t be afraid to ask the photographer about products or services that you do not see offered. They may not have them listed because of the lack interest from other potential clients. Ask!
Cost of Wedding Photography
There is a lot that goes into the expense of a wedding! According to the site Cost of Wedding, in the United States, the average cost of a wedding is about $26,645. The photography is a smaller percentage of the total cost of a wedding. Wedding photographers do not just come up with prices because it’s what they want to get paid. The pricing of wedding photography is meant to compensate the photographer for their time and talent. When you are shopping for a photographer, you should not be expecting to free or extremely low-cost services just because professional photography seems to take a backseat to Instagram and other means of instant gratification. Because I am a photographer, it’s easy for me to say the photos are the most important vendor when planning a wedding. But even if I weren't being hired to shoot a wedding, I would think the same. When the wedding day is over, what is left? Will the venue ever look the way it did for your special day? Are you going to wear the dress again? How long is the food going to last after the reception? Those are just a few questions that should be asked during wedding planning. It is the memories that are the most important part of a wedding. The best way to preserve those precious moments is to document them or photograph them. Look for a trustworthy, experienced photographer to handle those memories that can never be replaced!