Recently, a coworker sent me an extremely helpful link to a blog post from a amazing local wedding website, EVER OURS. The post, Behind the Scenes Wedding Photography was written by Lydia in regards to all the goes into photographing a wedding. As a local wedding photographer, this blog post stuck a home run because pricing photography, specifically wedding photography is one of the most difficult tasks as a photographer. The amount of time and preparation that goes into photographing a single event goes well beyond just being there the day of the event.
Below is the blog post - I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!
You can also find it at: http://www.ever-ours.com/2012/02/behind-scenes-wedding-photography.html
so a few weeks ago, within the wedding photography world, there was a bride who wrote a complaint about how much wedding photography cost and how it was "whack" how much they were charging.while i agree that sometimes some photographers are definitely not worth the amount they are charging, i am understanding at times with why they charge what they charge.i don't think the general public realizes what a wedding photographer's job entails.and so i'm fortunate enough to know quite a few truly amazing photographers who took the time to educate me what they do and the time it takes with each client and thought it would be best to share it with you all.i'm hoping this serves as an educational tool for brides and grooms.just so they are aware what they are paying for and what exactly a wedding photographer does.
i suppose i could write an essay on this, but i wanted to keep this short and easy to read.
so here are a few points people should know about:
1. most important is that a photographer does not just show up for those 8-10 hours to take your wedding photos and that's it. please remember that.
2. during an engagement session, a photographer takes approximately 100 to 500 images.
during a wedding, a photographer takes approximately 1,000 to 3,500 images.
that doesn't include what the second shooter captures too.
3. immediately after the engagement session and/or wedding, the photographer has to "dump" and back up the images so there will never be a situation where these images are lost. this can take up to an hour depending on how many images were taken.
4. next is one of the most tedious parts where the photographer culls through those thousands of images and gets rid of any "bad ones" which typically means closed eyes, multiple duplicates of the same shots, weird and awkward positions, some not-on-purpose blurred images etc.. some photographers go further and organize them into collections (family, ceremony, reception, etc.). after this culling process, comes the intensive editing. this is where the photographer will edit photos for color and exposure correction as well as making sure that the images fit their photography style (which is why you picked them in the first place, or at least should be the reason why you picked them in the first place). so from the thousands of images that they took, most photographers slim it down anywhere from 300 to 1000, which they then send to the clients to approve. all this takes more than just a few hours especially if you want your images to be awesome sauce.
5. most photographers provide album design for their clients. these can take anywhere from 7 hours to 2 weeks to design. but this only happens AFTER the clients have given them the images they like best and want. the photographer can't proceed with anything til that happens. the photographer has to then take the selected images and customize them to the layout of the album design.
6. all in all, each client can take about two to four weeks of a photographer's time. you have to remember that they work with multiple clients at the same time. so their day to day could consist of answering inquiries, taking care of their email inbox, meeting with potential clients, meeting with clients, backing up their images, culling their images, editing their images, emailing clients images, waiting to hear back from clients, editing images again to fit clients' needs, album designing, sending to clients to approve of album design, editing album design to fit clients' needs, waiting to hear back from clients, sending album layout off to album design company, making sure the album is just perfect when it comes back, packaging it up for the client and sending it off. and that is just client care. the photographer also has to spend time to market and promote themselves. some are more than fortunate and can depend on word of mouth. but for those just starting out, they really need to find the time to put themselves out there.
7. please also remember that involved with the pricing of a wedding photographer includes things like web hosting, graphic design, postage, shipping, fuel and airfare, hotel fees, advertising, office supplies, and taxes too. it's no joke running a small business on your own.
8. wedding photographers are human too. like you, they also need to have a life outside of their work. they need to spend time with family and friends too. so there is also a constant juggle of a work/life balance like any other person. they can only take a certain amount of clients per year in order to keep themselves sane. if you think about it, most weddings are on the weekend and there are only about 52 weekends per year. so keep their sanity and pricing in mind when it comes to that point.
theses are only just a few points that i wanted for you all to be aware of.
as far as why certain photographers charge a certain price, the reasons behind it may be different. they may charge that much because that's their only job and they are trying to support a family and a living. they may charge that because perhaps they are that damn good. who knows. that's up to your opinion..the eye of the beholder.
but i just really want brides and grooms to understand and be aware of what goes on behind the scenes. when they pick their photographer, i hope that they keep all this in mind.
i highly encourage brides and grooms to do their research. this doesn't apply to just wedding photography, but all wedding vendors.
examine their work, really examine their work.
is it your style? are they consistent? can you see yourself loving this 40 years from now? talk to them and see if you even mesh. you see this as investment in not just a product but an experience to cherish forever, so do they.
you might find a diamond in the rough who is just starting out and doesn't realize his or her full potential yet and that's why they are charging on the lower end. they may be just building their portfolio. or you may have already been following a wedding blog and you very well know who you want and why, but please do not be surprised by their price. like those in corporate america, wedding photographers do get raises because their work is constantly improving and more amazing.
anyways, i could go on. there's a lot more to it with this subject. this is just a starting point for all you brides and grooms. but i just wanted to share and educate those out there who are on the search of a wedding photographer.
they most definitely aren't "whack". they are the only ones who are there to capture your big day for you to have forever.
I am in love with life and all those in it.