Even though I’m relatively new in the wedding photography industry, the one thing I see floating round is the price of a good wedding photographer. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when you’ve had an awesome consultation with an awesome couple you felt you really connected with, to receive an email 2 days later saying “Thank you for your time, but we have a friend with a camera who will do it for free.” I understand completely in this industry that not everyone will book with you, that’s just how it goes. However, what makes me feel sad is how people only look at photography based how much it’ll cost them and not the quality and value of the photographs themselves. You have saved and budgeted for the perfect dress, the most incredible flowers and your dream venue… so why not for your dream photographer?
Sadly, we live in an era where photography is available to everybody. Entry-level DSLR’s are available in pretty much every single gadget store nowadays, which loosely means ‘everyone can be a photographer’. So, what’s the point in hiring a professional photographer and spending at least £1,000, when Uncle Bob has a Canon 400D with a zoom lens and has offered to capture the day for free?
Making the investment into YOUR perfect photographer will make a difference beyond your wildest imaginations. Their prices are set to reflect the amount of hard work they will put into your wedding – not just on the day but the weeks of post-production ahead of them afterwards, too.
Wedding photography is not an easy job. It’s not all about snapping a photo in the right place, at the right time. It’s about creating memories, preserving moments and capturing real, pure emotion. Your wedding photography needs to tell an everlasting story of your day, from the big moments right down to the tiny table decorations, from nervous smiles, belly laughs and emotional tearful moments. Some of my favourite moments are from when a couple takes a look through their photos and notice things they hadn’t seen on the day or notice you have photographed something you didn’t think anyone would remember. Once Uncle Bob has had his first/second/third pint of Carlsberg, do you think he will remember to photograph these moments in the same way…?
A professional photographer will put their life and soul into making sure your day is captured perfectly. From your very first meeting, they are listening. They will want to learn about you both, what your likes and dislikes are, how you met, how you got engaged and they will use all this information to create your very own unique wedding photography service. Not to mention all the top range equipment they own: their main camera, their back-up camera, an array of lenses for all different purposes, props, memory cards, spare batteries, video lights, flashguns, tripods… they’ll also research and practice new techniques constantly to make sure you have a selection of stand out images. And none of these things come cheap either, they have invested thousands upon thousands of pounds to have the top equipment possible. They will also have insurance to make sure you are covered as well as themselves just incase any tricky situation arises.
Here’s a list of bullet points for couples to bare in mind when they are thinking of booking a photographer:
- Established professionals don’t work for free or little money:
If you know someone who is claiming to be a professional photographer for 20+ years and has a package of £200 for an entire days coverage, please look into this carefully. The majority of the time, long-established photographers will not charge a pittance for their work. When I first started out my all-day package was £200 with photos on a USB. This was right for me then and reflected my work and style at the time. Now I’ve become more established, my prices have increased to reflect the quality of work I now offer. I’m not saying that all these photographers are bad people, but I urge you to approach them with caution as your photographs are hugely important.
- There are ways to still save money with a professional:
There are hundreds of amazing, budding wedding photographers out there who are just waiting for their big break. They have made the decision to start up a wedding photography business, have invested time and money and are just waiting for your enquiry to drop into their inbox. Their prices will be lower yet their passion and determination to make your wedding perfect will be sky-high. Another way to save money is to ask a professional if they offer a half-day coverage package. This usually covers areas such as the prep, the ceremony, the couple photos and the meal. If it’s not listed on the website, please just ask them. If they say no, move along, but sometimes photographers will be willing to help you — as long as you are kind with your words. ;]
- Choose someone firstly based on the quality of their work instead of fixating on their prices:
Professional photographers will have worked incredibly hard to create a unique style of their own. When looking at wedding photography, if you see a style or certain set of images that you fall in love with, please contact them straight away to enquire. If you love unobtrusive, natural style photographs then look for a photographer who specialises in that style, then look into their prices afterwards. There’s no point in hiring a photographer who does darker, more grungy edits when you’d prefer someone who does clean and crisp imagery, just because they were £200 cheaper. With that being said, please don’t ask a photographer to change their style based on your needs. As I said, they have developed their own personal style and if you’re not keen then don’t book with them.
- Family friends owe you nothing:
Uncle Bob may have agreed to photograph your wedding for free with his fancy camera, but what is to stop him from missing your first dance because he was too busy chatting to your distant cousin about football outside? It sounds harsh, but because you didn’t pay him, he doesn’t owe you anything. Does he know what to do when lighting conditions change? Does he know any unique compositions? Will he even edit your photographs afterwards? Does he even know how to use Lightroom or Photoshop? These are all things you need to think about to avoid being disappointed in the long run.
- A posh camera does not equal a professional photographer:
The work comes from the photographer, not the camera. Most professionals will shoot in manual and therefore they are telling the camera what to do, not the other way round. Your photographer will understand lighting and will know how to approach any light situation, whether it’s a dark venue or outdoor ceremony in blazing sun.
It’s also save to say that a professional will not get bored of your day. If they specialize in weddings, they will embrace your entire day and will want to stay as long as it takes to get the best shots. There’s a huge chance Uncle Bob will get tired once the meal is over and will forget to document your evening!
- If you don’t gel with a photographer, keep looking:
So you’ve found a photographer who has incredible work, their prices fit your budget and you’ve booked a consultation to meet them. Only, they were due to meet you 20 minutes ago and they still haven;t shown up yet. Time-keeping is essential with a wedding, so if they’re late without a reasonable explanation and you get a bad feeling from them, don’t be afraid to keep looking. The same goes for when you just don’t gel with them at the meeting. It’s so important that you get a good vibe from your photographer, after all they will be spending every single moment of your big day with you. Just keep looking until your find the perfect one.
Now this may seem like i’m moaning or trying to get bookings – but that is absolutely not my intention. I want to see people invest their money into the best possible photographer they can. Their photographer should be able to capture the memories of your day in a beautiful way so you can show your family and friends for years to come how incredible your day was. Lets face it: the cake gets eaten, your outfits will be stored away to the back of the wardrobe and in the blink of an eye your big day has come and gone. Your photographs are what make your day live on forever, which is why making an investment into a professional photographer is an incredibly important decision to make.