You may have noticed that the pricing section is often called "Investment", and in some ways "Investing" is an appropriate description. Why? Because I genuinely believe that's what you wedding photographs are. Unlike many of the other things you will spend you budget on, your photographs will truly last a lifetime and beyond. And like all good investments, it's importance and true value will increase over time as your memories fade.
As I'm a professional wedding photographer, this is the part where I tell you that NOT hiring a professional wedding photographer will be a mistake at best and an absolute disaster at worst. Or is it? If you have read my questions and answers page and my about me page, you will already know that is not the way I do things. The only person who can decide whether your photography is important enough to warrant hiring a professional is you, and I am providing this information to help you make an informed decision as to what is right for you, not me.
Why hiring a professional wedding photographer costs what it does can be a complete mystery to most people. I have heard people say "They only charge that much because it's a wedding", "They just dream up a figure", "They charge as much as they can get away with" and "They just rip people off". Here I hope to dispell these myths and explain to you why a professional wedding photographer charges what he or she does to photograph your wedding so that you can decide whether you think it is a wise investment or not.
What you may think you are paying for.
Someone to turn up on your wedding day and push a button on a camera.
What you are actually paying for.
Let's start with how did you find out about me? Was it a search on your computer? Did you see an advertisement in a magazine? Maybe you were given a leaflet by the wedding planner at your chosen venue?
How did you get in touch with me? Email? Telephone?
For a business to be successful, it has to be visible. You have to be able to find me and contact me, all of which involves some small cost whether it be an advertisement, printed leaflet, a professional website or a telephone.
So we arrange to meet to discus your day and your requirements. You take a look at my samples of wedding albums, print boxes, usb cases, acrylic prints and so on. Whilst my suppliers will provide samples at a reduced price, they do still have to be paid for. After all, my suppliers have to cover the costs of producing those samples and it is in my interest for them to stay in business so they can provide the beautiful products my clients ask for.
Then the conversation may move on to questions about my equipment, experience, whether I am insured and professionally trained and so on.
I have public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance and equipment insurance, which also adds a small cost. I use professional grade equipment which requires a substantial investment on my part and, though it is very reliable and well made, it does wear out and requires replacing from time to time. I have invested in professional training so that I can provide photography to a high standard and I have many years experience, which it is impossible to put a price on. They say a good photograph isn't just "taken" by the photographer, it is "created" by the photographer and that is where the training and years of experience come in.
You may ask what happens if I'm ill on your day. Will I arrange a replacement? That is just one of the reasons I pay to be a member of the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers). So that I can arrange cover if the worst happens. This is again a small cost but well worth it for your peace of mind so you know that, even if I do fall ill, you will still get an experienced professional wedding photographer on your day.
You decide to hire me so we complete contracts. These contracts are drawn up on a computer, printed off then signed and you get a copy. Paper and printer ink need to be replaced on a very regular basis and there are other small administration costs. Though most of these costs are small when taken individually, they do add up and are necessary when providing a high level of service.
Before your day we will meet again, perhaps at your rehearsal and at your reception venue. Needless to say this involves travelling costs. I bring so much equipment with me to try and cover all eventualities that I need a van to transport it all in. This van obviously needs to be taxed and insured and there are fuel and maintenance costs involved as well.
Your big day arrives and, not only do I take photographs, but I do all I can to help your day run smoothly. This is another area where my years of experience photographing weddings and seeing how they run can be very useful to you. Once more, there are travelling costs involved.
After the day all those images, and on a full day that could be well over 1,000, need to be processed, edited and enhanced. To do this I need a fast computer and a professional colour profiled monitor to make sure your photographs look really great. I also need the facility to store your images and duplicate copies of them (to guard against any possible equipment failure) along with many tens of thousands of images from past weddings in case you need another copy in the future. This means I have to invest in numerous reliable hard drive and off site storage.
When your photographs are ready to be viewed, I upload them onto my website so that you can view them where ever you may be. Even if you are still on your honeymoon. The image files will be large and there will be hundreds of them, so a fast broadband connection and a professionally maintained website which offers these facilities are a must.
You have decided to buy a wedding album so we meet to design the perfect one for you. Your chosen photographs are uploaded to the printer's website together with your design specifications, they send me a bill for their work and the cost of deliveriy and we wait for them to produce a beautiful product for you to cherish for the rest of your lives. Needless to say, the printers have costs which they have to cover and they would like to make a small profit so that they can continue trading.
Then there is a charge for my time. You may think that a wedding is just one day but an all day wedding involves around 50 to 60 hours of work. Time spent in consultations with you, replying to your emails and questions; attending your rehearsal; having a "practice shoot"; preparing, checking and cleaning my equipment and charging batteries on the day before the wedding; photographing your wedding on the day and many hours spent editing your images afterwards and uploading them onto your gallery, not to mention all the time spent travelling. This is why I have to limit the number of bookings I take in any one year, so that I have the time to provide you with a quality service. I absolutely love what I do and I accept it is my choice to earn my living by being a wedding photographer, but I do need to make a profit so that I can stay in business and pay my way in life.
You may say there are "cheaper" photographers out there and you are right, there are. My response to that is they are offering a totally different product and level of service. It may well be that what they are offering is sufficient for your needs, but please don't make the mistake of thinking all photographers are the same. The quality of the finished product and the level of service provided varies greatly. You just need to decide which quality of product and level of service is right for you and your big day.
A good professional wedding photographer has invested in training and is experienced enough to be able to tell the story of your day without turning it into a "photo shoot". Your wedding is incredibly important to them as their reputation depends on them providing you with a quality professional service. They will understand when and where you look at your best and which photographs are really important. As they only have one chance to get it right, they will have invested in professional grade equipment with back up equipment and services. To be able to offer a quality product and high level of service simply costs the photographer more to provide. It is often said that "when the day is over, your cake has been eaten, your flowers have wilted, your guests have gone home and you have returned from your honeymoon, it is your photographs that will help keep the memories of one of the most important days of your life alive". I'm sure you must realise there is a lot of truth in that saying.
To go back to the quotes near the start of this article, I would like to say the following. We do not only charge that much "because it's a wedding". As I hope you can see, there is a lot more to providing quality photography and a high level of service than you might at first think. We do not just "dream up a figure". We take into account our business costs, as any other business does, together with our time and charge accordingly. We do not "charge as much as we can get away with". There are a lot of wedding photographers in the market, some excellent some not quite so good, and we have to make our prices competitive otherwise we do not get any bookings. We do not "rip people off". I credit you with the intelligence to know when you are being "ripped off" and if you think the service being provided is not worth the price, you will go elsewhere. Those photographers who do not charge a fair price for their work will simply go out of business.
I am very biased and will obviously say that, in my humble opinion, investing in a good professional photographer is a very wise investment. What I hope I have done here though is provide you with enough information to help you decide whether it is a wise investment for you.
If you would like more information then please Say Hello ! and we can have a no obligation chat.