Does Wedding Photographers Charge you Genuinely?
When selecting a Wedding Photographer for your special day you have to understand that often you do get what you pay for. If you head towards the cheap end or think that your cousin will capture your day on their iPad, then you will be disappointed with the end results. Just like Accountants, Lawyers, and Architects, Wedding Photographers are professionals often spending many years of hard work, blood sweat and tears honing their particular craft. Wedding Photography in particular is a specialist art and just because someone might be a great Landscape Photographer, they may not necessarily be a good Wedding Photographer.
Wedding Photographers must;
Deal with the stress of knowing that there are no dress rehearsals or tomorrow to reshoot. If they miss the first kiss that moment is gone forever.
Know where to be and when. Positioning and timing are everything to capture the special moments.
Be flexible to deal with any unexpected situations as they happen. This also goes for location. Wedding photographers have to deal with the locations the bride and groom choose and this might not be the best for photography, the results still have to be great though.
Be approachable. Outside of the bridal party you will spend the most time with your photographer so they must be approachable and personable at all times.
Now that you know this you can begin to understand that these skills are not developed easily or quickly. Time, effort and passion, goes into being a great wedding photographer and many serve a one to two year apprenticeship working for an established Wedding Photographer for little or no pay before photographing weddings themselves.
Wedding Photographers require equipment, lots of it, and often high end with regards to quality. Typically a wedding photographers kit with approximate costs is as follows;
Main camera body Canon 5D MkIII or Nikon D800 are considered the standard for a mid-level Wedding Photographer. Each costs around US$2,500. Top End Wedding Photographers will have either a Canon 1Dx or Nikon D4 costing around US$6,000.
Back-up Camera Mid-level Wedding Photographers will have either a Canon 6D or Nikon D600 camera costing around US$1,800. Top End Wedding Photographers will have either a Canon 5DMkIII or Nikon D800 costing around US$2,500 .
Lenses The standard lenses in a Wedding Photographers bag will be a Wide Angle Lens (+/-US$1,600), a Standard Zoom lens which is generally a 24-70mm lens (+/-US$2,000), and a Telephoto Zoom lens which will be a 70-200mm lens (+/-US$2,500). These are the three must have lenses. Over and above this, you will probably find that your photographer has a Macro lens to get amazing ring and detail photographs and a range of non-zoom lenses known as Prime lenses which give exceptional results in special situations.
Flashes and other lighting As a standard, a Wedding Photographer will have a minimum of two to three flash units costing around US$500 each that can be operated by remote triggers when places around a room. You might also find that your Wedding Photographer also has portable studio lights to give them the edge in areas of bad natural lighting and to get amazing effects. These kits can cost upwards of US$1,200. Light stands and light shapers will also be included with all lights.
Memory each and every Wedding Photographer will have lots of memory cards on them and programme their camera to save two versions of each shot that they take on a separate memory card in case of damage to their primary card. They will also have portable back-up drives on them as a secondary back-up.
Editing Equipment typically this will be a MacBook Pro or iMac Desktop with Photoshop and various other editing software loaded onto it.
The list above is the basic kit that a reputable Wedding Photographer will own and as you can see their equipment costs well into the tens of thousands of dollars. This equipment is essential to give you the results that you expect on your wedding day and has to be paid for somehow so will be factored as an overhead cost into your quote. Please also remember that this equipment will also be insured and it is not unheard of for this insurance to cost two to three times the cost of a photographers car or house insurance. Again this cost needs to be covered somewhere.
Now that the equipment costs have been covered we need to start to look at the time required to photograph a Wedding. This is generally broken down into three sections as follows;
Pre-Wedding this will include meeting with you, photographing a few engagement images for invites, and scouting your Wedding venue before time.
Wedding this is a whole day, for an afternoon Wedding the day will typically start with photographing the venue, the Bride and Groom getting ready and bridal party shots from around 10am and continue until 10 or 11pm when the Wedding Reception is starting to draw to a close.
Post-Wedding this will involve editing which is generally twenty to forty hours depending on the photographers workflow and style. Meeting with you to finalize the Wedding Album design and then delivering the album and prints to you.
In all a typical Wedding will take around forty to sixty hours of your Wedding Photographers time. So a typical working week for a Corporate Worker. When photographers divide the amount paid by the couple by the hours worked it can often be that they would earn more waiting tables at a diner.
Finally there are general costs such as Studio rental (if they have one), food, mortgages/rent, petrol, and the various other day to day expenses that we all have.
When considering all of the above it becomes pretty apparent that Wedding Photographers are very much Professionals in their own craft and not just there to take pretty pictures that could be taken on an iPad so please consider this when deciding and scrutinizing the price given by your chosen photographer.
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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )