This week is Part Two in our series covering why wedding photography is so expensive and why it's actually a good thing!
Hey there, dolls! We're picking up where we left off last week on the 6 reasons why wedding photography is so expensive and why it's worth embracing rather than running away from. If you missed my post from last week, you can find it here.
I've said this before, but I'll say it again: you deserve a photographer who is excited about shooting your wedding. In some ways, I'd argue that you can't put a price on passion because that passion is what inspires your photog to spend those extra few seconds tucking the stray lock of your hair back into place or to spend time before the wedding getting to know you and your partner so that they can personalise the way that their images tell your love story. I have worked for two different photographers in my life: one was, more or less, a "fast-food" photography service. You know the kind I mean: the one's they hire out for proms and school photos. He had fancy equipment and he knew how to use it, but he only made money on the sale of prints, so he was interested in getting as many images taken as possible to maximise the chances that parents might want to buy multiple prints. The resolution and quality of the image itself was absolutely fine, but they were stiff, posed, and cold. Because he wasn't there to capture the emotion of the moment or the soul inside the body of the portrait: he was there to turn things over quickly and make more cash, and his photos reflected that. The second photographer I worked for did a lot of product and market photography, so he wasn't even photographing people, but he loved what he did and he spent so much time faffing over lighting, placement, and framing. And without a single person in his shot, the resulting image was staggering: it told a story. It evoked emotion. It was beautiful because he was excited about what he did. And funnily enough, people booked him for photography jobs ahead of time: he didn't have to survive on the off-chance that his photographs might sell after they'd been shot. Believe it or not, the photographers who are worth the big bucks are the ones who care more about their craft than they do about the money. You want to get excited about your wedding photos? Then you better invest in someone who is excited about taking them.
"Believe it or not, the photographers who are worth the big bucks are the ones who care more about their craft than they do about the money."
I once sat down with a groom to get a shot list of all of the "must have captured" moments that he wanted taken at his wedding. The list was pretty extensive, which didn't bother me. But what did bother me was that he basically wanted the entire event of both the bride and groom's "getting ready" time to be captured: the men combing their hair, fixing their ties, shining their shoes; the women doing their make-up, getting into their gowns, pinning their curls. What's more, they both were opening gifts from one another in private before the ceremony, and he wanted me to be there to document the unwrapping for both of them. While they were in separate rooms. Doing it at the same time. Now, there is absolutely no problem with wanting both sides of the pre-ceremony to be documented: sometimes it can lead to some of the sweetest shots-- plus it gives the bride and groom the chance to see what the other was up to before the vows. However, I don't need to inform you that it is not physically possible for one photographer to be in two places at once. If you want to extend the coverage of your day (which is a valuable choice, meaning that it adds value to the package you choose), then you need to be prepared to pay the photographer extra so that they can take on a second shooter. This choice is not for everyone, but in the end, I took on a second shooter for the wedding mentioned above, and it not only saved my sanity, but it provided a much more cohesive story-in-pictures to present to the bride and groom when their images were revealed. They didn't regret the choice of extending their budget to extend the coverage: after all, you can't see everything on the day, so your photographer(s) can be those eyes for you and encapsulate more precious moments for you to cherish after the last piece of wedding cake is long gone.
When you pay for a wedding photographer, you are paying for more than their services on the day or even the products they give you at the end: you are paying for the experience of working with them. You are paying for someone who makes you feel comfortable in front of the camera and who evokes a sense of trust so that you don't need to worry about whether or not they are "getting the right shot" or "if that angle is flattering." You are paying for peace of mind during the entire process. You are paying for someone who has educated you so that you know exactly what you can expect from them after paying them. You are paying for security, professionalism, kindness, passion, and quality. Because seriously, think about it: you expect excellent service for any other important investment that you make in your life, and you're willing to pay to know that the job gets done right. You wouldn't hire a sub-par electrician to wire your house or a plumber with a bad reputation to fix the leak in your kitchen: you'd pay a higher price to know that the job was done right the first time. Because otherwise, you'll have to pay someone else to come out and fix it, and then you're losing money anyways. Only think about this: there is no "second chance" to photograph your wedding. You have one shot to get it right. And unlike the wine that you drink on the day (which you'll probably forget the taste of) or the number of tiers on the cake (which you might spend time regretting when you're bloated on your honeymoon), your wedding photos are the thing that will last: they will keep the energy and emotion of that day alive when the beautiful wedding invites you chose get put into keepsake boxes and the wedding dress gets sent off to the dry-cleaners. They are the opportunity to look on your wall and feel beautiful and bridal when you're sitting in your yoga pants PMS-ing with a bowl of chocolate ice cream. They are the reminder of that sweet look your partner gave you when you walked down the aisle so that when you two are having an argument, you can pause and remember how much they truly love you. Your choice of wedding photographer is an investment in the experience you get every time you look at your wedding album, share the photos with your children, or glance at your wall. It is the commemoration of the day you devoted your heart to a commitment rooted in love, and if that's not worth your investment, I don't know what is.