The photographer arrives at the wedding, enjoys a feast and good wine, occasionally presses the trigger between bites, and then charges an eye-rolling sum. We’ll bet you too have heard this stereotype in one form or another. Come join us for an overview of what all is reflected in a wedding shoot’s final price.
One question you’ll often hear is: Why do wedding photographers charge so much for their work? Let’s take a closer look at why the prices for wedding photographers’ services are so high. Or are they actually all that high?
Going Broke to Go Pro
It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that a photographer just spends their limited time on the wedding day and pockets an immensely high amount for these few hours. But you have to look at it more in-depth. You see, the shoot itself is just the tip of the iceberg. No photographer is born a pro. They have to work their way up to it.
Behind every capable photographer, you’ll find hundreds of hours of self-study and countless consultations and successful or not-so-successful projects, as well as enormous costs invested into equipment and education. And this isn’t just artistic work. It’s not enough to just be a great artist; somebody has to see your work. In this oversaturated market, it’s not easy or cheap to show why precisely you are the right choice.
The Work Never Ends (or Begins) With the Shoot
Once a photographer has been chosen by a couple, they have to get to know that couple as well as possible and learn their wishes, requirements, and needs. These all need to be fulfilled, so that the work delivered won’t be missing anything and everyone will be satisfied.
If at all possible, the photographer checks out the site before the wedding day even begins. They seek out a good spot for the couple’s staged shots, and they have to guess at what time of day it will have the best light. Their long and thorough preparation is often the key to success, even though it’s not visible, and they don’t directly show it off in any way.
The Photographer Has a Huge Responsibility
On the wedding day the photographer is typically there from morning until night so that they won’t miss anything. It may seem like the wedding photographer just occasionally moves wedding guests around and lightens up the group shot with the traditional “if you can’t see me, you won’t see yourself.” In short, more smile-raising than it is difficult. But in reality, it’s a great responsibility. The group photo really does have to show everyone, from the smallest kid to the oldest granny. If someone’s missing or can’t be seen, that’s the photographer’s mistake. And sadly you can’t add anyone to the photo after the fact.
Retouching Isn’t a Matter of Minutes
Retouching is a chapter all its own. While it’s not rocket science, it takes long practice to get it right. And it also has its limits. Retouching away a few pimples and minor defects is no problem, but bending reality significantly is going too far, even if many guests would prefer it. Also, retouching takes time. As the number of edits grows, the processing time grows proportionally.
And in fact the post-production process overall is the biggest part of the work, even though nobody sees it. Ideally the photographer is able to copy the wedding photos onto their computer right after getting home. Then they produce at least one backup just in case. After this, hours of sifting through an enormous amount of material, sorting and selecting, await them before they can even start their creative work.
Not to mention the photo editing itself. Every photographer has their own style and workflow. But in general it can be said that they always have to first master their software before they can use it to achieve their goals. That too takes some time (often a lot of time) and has its cost.
Every job is unique. And every profession contains a large number of individual skills that you have to master if you want to excel in it. Photography is no exception, and there definitely aren’t photographers out there raking in money just for a few trigger-pushes, as many people think.
Have you run into myths and prejudices like this one before? Don’t hesitate to share your experiences in the comments.