Why is Wedding Photography So Expensive?
Updated: Jan 4, 2019
There is a valid case for splurging on your wedding photographer. I want to tell you why good photographers are worth it.
GIRL I FEEL YOU. Honestly. I'm currently cutting all the checks for my own October wedding and I am SWEATING at some of these figures. But I'm biting the bullet, because I know when push comes to shove, if you want a certain type of wedding experience you have to do it right.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you get what you pay for.
Obviously, I am a very photography-oriented human. I allocated a larger amount of my wedding budget towards photography because I love photos, understand the importance of a talented and experienced professional, and realize (through years of experience) that aside from our wonderful spouses, the photos are all we have to remember our wedding day by years later.
Every professional wedding should be done with a smile. Honestly, mine are done with a smile, a few jokes, hours of timeline development and advice-giving, and with hours of me memorizing your extended families' names beforehand.
My whole entire purpose of being here is that I believe that a wedding photographer shouldn't just be a vendor who takes pictures at your wedding. I want to feel like a source of knowledge, an old pal that gets along with your family and ideally makes you laugh on your big day (if you're into a 25 year old girl making a lot of dad jokes and The Office references... I'm delightful).
When you look into a wedding photographer, I say every single time to every single customer that I want you to choose whoever makes you feel most comfortable, most at ease, and most at home.
I'm not a big fan of using overhead & education cost as a way to justify charges but here's some food for thought:
Many wedding professionals received a 4 year degree, or a two year degree. I have a BA in photography myself from SUNY Oneonta.
Top of the line, professional gear is expensive. I like to make sure I have backup equipment in case of a drop (knock on wood, but you never know when you'll become a butterfingers and the wedding day stops for no man), keep all files secured on and off-site (physically and cloud-based applications), and pay for the professional editing software I use, the websites I store your photos on, and any marketing materials.
We need to eat and feed our families. That's a "me" problem, right? I know. I think this argument is sort of lame, but if you think about it... we spend enough time planning, shooting, and editing your weddings to constitute 1-2 work weeks. What does 1-2 weeks of paychecks look like to you? About the same as we're charging for your weddings? Right....?
We need to pay our second photographers and assistants - who are present at your big days.
Photographers go all out to understand the timeline and feel of your event. I learn everything from your maternal grandmother's name to your cousin's nephew so I can make sure your day is smooth.
You should see some of the itineraries & family tree descriptions I come up with -- I do a lot of work before the wedding so I can accurately maneuver myself throughout your day without missing a beat or looking like a hot mess.
I'd love to say that every single picture is ready to go as soon as it's shot.... but that's just not the reality. I spend anywhere from 20-40 hours hand-editing your photos and culling your galleries to be the most perfect, streamlined, flawless representations of your day that truly tell a story as a collection of photos and individually. That takes work and time.
Photography is not the place to cut wedding costs.
Good photographers charge a premium because they are so good and do their jobs like no other.
There's more than meets the eye: at the end of the day, it's not just 8 hours of shooting. It's months of planning, followed by grueling (but super fun!) hours of post production.
Photographers use premium equipment to provide you with the best product possible.
Your event is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Ball out!
Your flowers and DJ are just as expensive
We charge $ because this is our profession.