You will only have. one “First Wedding”
There are often discussions about how much to pay a wedding photographer. Those who do it for “the money” or their “hobby” leave a little to be desired and make ridiculous offers to someone to get that shoot. I want to clear a few things up right up front.
- You won’t get a CD of all the images from me – That is a gimmick. If I give you unedited images, what are you going to do with them? I’m more proud of my work than that. I’m also not going to post process 1,000 images and give them to someone on a CD. Realistically, 30-50 images will cover everything at your wedding.
- I don’t know a $200-400 Wedding Photographer. I’m $300+ in the hole before I walk into your wedding.
- When you undercut someone’s price, you’re telling them what you believe you’re worth.
- I won’t show up with a hotshoe flash to shoot your wedding with.
- Not every professional photographer can shoot a wedding properly.
Too often industry professional photographers are cast aside or snuffed in favor of someone who will attempt to shoot a wedding at a price that the bride and groom find affordable. When planning a wedding, the location, entertainment, food, flowers and other things take precedence over the photographer expense. When the wedding is over, the photographs are all you have left unless you have a fun honeymoon and a hangover. 🙂 Those are what you have left to recount your memories with.
Choosing a wedding photographer should be more of a priority. With the presence of digital cameras, everyone wants to become a photographer and feel they can shoot a wedding. So, we have to look at the quality of what the person can produce. We look at his portraits, pictures of their mom, dog, Facebook images and the like. True enough, a lot of people love those pictures. The fact will always remain that anyone can take a snapshot and for the most part the general public can’t distinguish between a snapshot and a professional picture. An acquaintance in NY once told me that if the customer had the same artistic talent as me, they wouldn’t need me.
Shooting a wedding is a completely different thing. Not every professional who shoots studio photography can shoot a wedding. Not everyone who can shoot babies, bands or club photography can shoot a wedding. There is more of an attention to detail, more planning and knowing how to use your camera and lighting equipment than most people can ever understand. There are seasoned, 20 to 30 year professionals that won’t touch a wedding because of all the liability and headache one usually encounters while trying to do a wedding shoot. There are also countless hours of work done by Professionals after the wedding and reception that involves post processing at a minimum.
Unprofessionals may show up with 2 years experience with a camera and flash. Seasoned wedding photographers show up with:
*Extra Camera Body
*Extra Memory Cards
*A Second Shooter
…and a “Plan B” for everything that could possibly go wrong.
Professionals understand the meaning of this precious moment and know that if something goes wrong with camera equipment, you can’t just re-shoot the wedding the following weekend.
Meeting the wedding planner, bride and groom prior to the wedding is a must. There is a contract that must be read and signed as well as getting on the same page with any particulars the bride, groom, planner and/or photographer may have.
Another thing to consider when choosing your photographer is how serious they may or may not be. If a photographer were hired who would showed up the day of the wedding with a simple camera and flash, he is unprepared to say the least. Many or most professionals will show up at the rehearsal, look at where they can shoot from, see where the bride will enter from, whether a flash is allowed during the ceremony, look for storage places for equipment, where to plug in lighting, etc. It’s simple preparation and attention to detail.
When speaking to someone about wedding pictures, it is common to hear someone say “it’s just a small wedding, we don’t want a lot”. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, you just don’t know it! Everyone wants their pictures. It has been proven more than once that those who don’t pay going rates will usually complain the loudest.
This is a message from someone who thought less money was better:
When my wife and I were going through all the steps to prepare for the wedding…getting the venue, the cake, the food, etc., my wife handled everything except the photographer. She left that up to me. Wifey did an awesome job of handling all the other logistics and I just tagged along to taste the cake and look at the room etc. She handled it all like a trooper and never, ever, turned into a “bridezilla.”
So, shopping for photographers I went. To be honest, most of the standard wedding photographers in my area didn’t really turn me on much. Everything just seemed too posed and contrived. I like more free-form, fun, and candid type of shots. In other words, I wanted to find my clone. We went to this huge wedding expo they have here in Vegas every six months and I must have looked at over 20 different portfolios and nothing really turned me on. One of the last booths I went to were these two women photographers who were just breaking into doing weddings after shooting for magazines for years. Their work was astounding! I hired them both and the shots they got were just spectacular. One shot in BW on film and the other color in digital. I cannot rave about how good the photos were enough. I think they both moved to the East coast at some point from what I heard when I tried tracking them down a few years later.
Anyway, my point is that at our wedding, everything was a huge blur. We had about 100 guests, family coming in from all over the country, the whole works. From when we showed up to when we drove away with the car decorated, I barely even remember what happened that night. Neither of us ate any of the food. We each had one drink of champagne and a small piece of cake all night. We don’t even remember eating that actually. We were so caught up in the moment, we only have a few real memories of the evening. The moment we said “I Do” and I broke the glass. The speech my Best Man gave that took him 4 months to write and had to use a ear prompter to deliver it because it was so complex and awesome. Our first dance. And that’s about it. The entire evening was just one big blur.
When we got our photos back, it totally brought back all the memories of our event that we never would have remembered otherwise. The entire wedding was photographed like one big story and it was absolutely wonderful. I remember the rate for the two photographers wasn’t cheap but it was reasonable. It was worth every single penny and then some and it is THAT reason why you pay for professionals.
When someone offers to shoot your wedding for a few hundred dollars, they’re telling you what they think they are worth. Hiring a “seasoned” wedding photographer is a necessity.
And I am for hire. I’m not cheap, I’m good at what I do.