It’s important not to undervalue experience when choosing a wedding photographer. While experience and expertise are not always directly correlated, photographers who have shot numerous weddings are likely to have more experience handling difficult situations such as scheduling changes, timeline issues, and tensions between family members. If a photographer has shot at your wedding venue before, they may also be better prepared to direct photographs quickly and efficiently.
If an experienced photographer is shooting at a new venue, they would likely recognize the importance of visiting the venue beforehand and adapting to the new environment. It’s crucial to ensure that your photographer understands your venue or has a plan for selecting locations for first-look photos, portraits, and formal shots.
However, keep in mind that a photographer who offers this level of preparation is likely to charge more than average.
While style is often a matter of personal preference, it’s closely tied to a photographer’s philosophy and approach to capturing and editing photos. Photographers who charge a premium have typically developed a style that’s in high demand.
Style corresponds to demand by fulfilling a desire for either artistic manipulation or a unique philosophy that evokes a certain emotion or sense of originality. Some people prefer a natural and clean look, avoiding trends and capturing things as they truly are, while others prefer something more original, with a unique look that goes beyond reality. For example, some may prefer a bright and airy style, while others may prefer something darker and moodier.
The style you choose and the demand for photographers with that style in your area will ultimately impact the pricing of the photographer.
WHAT COMES STANDARD IN THEIR PACKAGE?
Different photographers have different approaches when it comes to pricing and packaging their services. Some may start with a higher price point, offering more value in their packages, while others may have a lower starting price but offer less in their basic package, allowing you to add on additional services at an additional cost.
Some examples of what to look for as being included or not are:
Do they include one shooter only, one shooter + second shooter, or two professional shooters
Do they include a heirloom quality album?
Do they include an engagement session?
Do they include any timeline review sessions and/or venue walk-thoughs?
Do Wedding Photographers Sneakily Over-Charge?
Each photographer has a unique approach, but a typical wedding day involves a significant amount of work, including:
•1-3 hours of initial meetings and communication with the clients
•2-3 hours for a local engagement session (including travel and photography time)
•1-3 hours for editing, exporting, and delivering the engagement session
•2-3 hours for preparing the timeline and planning before the wedding day
•10-20 hours for the actual wedding day, including set up, local travel, coverage, tear down, and photo backup
•7-30 hours for post-production work, including editing the photos
•1 hour for miscellaneous tasks and backup activities
This means that a photographer could potentially spend 60 or more hours working on a single wedding, not including expenses.
Furthermore, this estimate does not account for additional expenses such as hiring a second shooter, purchasing and maintaining equipment, continuing education and professional development, business insurance, software updates, and advertising.
Determining the cost of wedding photography ultimately depends on your budget and finding a photographer that is the right fit for you. The value of a wedding photographer is subjective and depends on factors such as their reputation, photography style, and personality. It’s important to choose a photographer who makes you feel comfortable and can capture the moments that matter to you.
While some couples may be willing to pay $500 for a photographer, others may be willing to pay $5k, $10k, or even $20k+. Higher-priced photographers often have more demand due to their skills and style, but it’s possible to find cheaper photographers who are still “worth” more than their current price range.
What’s most important is finding a wedding photographer who can help preserve your precious memories for generations to come. Keep in mind that photographers work hard under a lot of pressure, so it’s important to value and cherish them as they do for you.