It's not uncommon in conversation to hear people remark how expensive Wedding Photography is...and then, why?? It's also understandable. In this installment of the Blog, I'd like to shed some light on the subject from a Photographers point of view.
I think there's a great misunderstanding on what true Photographers go through as apposed to what I've heard others (not me) refer to as "Faux~tographers."I kind of laughed at that the first time I heard it. In a day where buying excellent Cameras are relatively affordable, and take absolutely wonderful photos out of the box, it's easy to question it. Not to mention the crazy ability of Phones. My Galaxy S7 takes great photos too!! I had a young lady at a wedding I shot say to me, "So, my phone's pretty much as good as your Camera." Ouch!! I smiled, chuckled a bit and said, "Not so much." But that's another story, for another time.
When a person becomes serious about becoming a photographer it's exciting new world of dreams and possibility open up. You see these unbelievable images and you're just blown away. As you pursue this craft which I wholeheartedly consider a form of art, it becomes blatantly clear that this isn't just a "Point and Shoot" kind of thing. I started not just looking at photos, I tried to understand the story, the emotion, and the context of what was on display. I then began to ponder how I was going to convey those things into what I was seeing behind the lens. How was I going to effectively tell my Clients Story without words, without sound, and in most cases, no print media to say anything.
We photographers spend an insane amount of money acquiring equipment we know we can depend on to capture our images day in and day out. Most cameras have a life expectancy of 150,000 Shutter Clicks. Now to the average person, technology will outgrow their equipment. But that's not true of professional photographers. When this becomes your livelihood you realize what's at stake. Your clients are putting their faith and trust in you to take care of every detail. Many times to make the most common things, look uncommon. I know I have invested at the very least $20,000.00 in gear, software, computers, education, memberships to professional associations, insurance, etc. not to mention, my great team deserves and earns their pay too!!
Then, there's study and preparation. You have to know all these technical things. Time is precious to all of us these days. Clients really don't have time to stand around and hope the photographer can figure something out. If there's a time lag, it's easy for people to become uncomfortable, and the artistic influence of any session ruined. So, I have personally spent thousands of hours reading, watching, doing trial and error, working to create a flow that works for clients as well as myself. It doesn't matter where I go, I'm constantly thinking about, "How would I do a Bridal Session here?" "How would the light fall, and how could I place a Bride in such a way that all of us are stunned (in a good way) with the final outcome. How do I capture all the moments in a wedding that when the couple and family look at their gallery, prints or album it takes them right back to that Special Day.
The Consultation. This is something I have come to require from a Couple/Bride. This is included in the package price, but it's a critical part of the process. I must find out what the couple desires, and how we're going to achieve that. We must clearly and effectively communicate with each other the expectations on both sides to make this day a success!! I've even done consultations over the phone, on Facetime or Skype, since some couples are in a different location from me, or our schedules won't permit a face to face meeting
Wedding Day! Such an exciting time! If I haven't been there, I often scout the wedding venue several days before to insure there's not any surprises when I arrive. I like to develop relationship with other wedding vendors, not just to network with them, but first and foremost to ensure that what we're doing is done in harmony. That collectively we make the day as good as it can be. I arrive early and leave late. If you don't love this part of photography, this isn't for you! If someone is shooting weddings for the money alone, they're making a huge mistake. I know in my own personal experiences, I give everything I have to the day, and when I'm done, I'm tired. But for me, it's so worth it. When a client has booked full day coverage, my second shooter and myself typically capture 1700 or more frames.
After the food, cake, beverages have all been consumed, the dances are finished, and the guests are gone and the couple is on their honeymoon, that's really when all the work starts. I start by downloading and double backing up the photos from the wedding. Then comes the hours of culling over the photos to see which ones are "keepers." During a wedding, you don't have time to selectively pick and choose like you do during a session. You go with what's happening.
The Editing. I think the next step is where the majority of people who ask about the expense of photography, miss out. I'll never argue that just about anyone can take a wonderful photo. But, how do you take a RAW file, look at it, and decide the key elements that record that moment in time and tell the story correctly? That's something that a professional learns over time and experience. What type of edit does the couple, and in most cases the bride like? There are so many types of styles to choose from, and it's my job to choose correctly. Of course, there is a difference in the shots taken during the course of the day. You have all the "must have" photos that are a mix of Artistic and Journalistic Images, and they get edited accordingly. Once I've edited the photos, I create a gallery for my couple, this too takes a good amount of time. I want my clients to be able to showcase the memories of the day.
The Delivery. I just recently revamped my wedding packages and I've done all I can to pack them full of value. In that, every package includes a Premium Photo Album (not Book). I love delivering the a finished product to my clients. There's an old saying that a photo isn't really a photo until it's printed. Which leads me to my next point.
Making an investment in your images. I often find it a bit bewildering, that in consulting with other photographers, clients hired a professional for their photos, but when it came time to print, a discount store or pharmacy was good enough. Before I was a photographer, I did that too. But I learned the inherent value that professional print companies provide. They use archival paper that will preserve that photo for years to come. They calibrate their machines to be color correct, and ensure the white balance doesn't shift. Think about this, I've seen it happen for myself, a guy is working in the photo department at your local discount or pharmacy, he's working hard on the Machine that's giving him fits. He starts getting paged overhead to go fix a problem somewhere else in the store, and that can be problematic. I proudly use MPix Pro Printers. They're part of The Miller Labs Group of Professional Printers.
In closing, I'm not intending for this to be a commercial, but I wanted folks who are spending their hard earned money to see what goes into creating the cherished moments of one of the most special and important days of your life. So, with that, please know that we strive to make your photography as value packed as possible to earn your business. If you or someone you know is planning a wedding in the future, we'd love to talk to them. My job is not to just take photos, but create and deliver an experience for my clients that makes their day the most special ever. I recently read a review one of my clients wrote where she said that I had a calming effect on her when I didn't even know it. That was the biggest complement I could have received. There's so much going on, and let's face it, there can be lots of pressure from family and friends to "do this!! do that!!". My team and myself would love the opportunity to visit with you and help make your wedding day dreams come true. Message or call us, and let's visit! It's free! Our Package Prices are proudly listed under the Investment Tab on this Website. We can tailor a package for your needs as well.