It is PRIME wedding planning season, folks! After Christmas, New Years, and now Valentine’s Day the country is swarming with bride-to-be’s, wedding showcases, and Facebook ads showing everything white and lacy! What’s near the top of the bride and groom’s wedding planing to-do lists? Find a photographer to document their special day!
However, these couples will soon find out that professional photographers aren’t cheap, and many will start searching wedding planning groups and Google for “Budget Friendly Wedding Photographer” (or something of the like) and asking acquaintances for recommendations of people who “won’t charge and arm and a leg”. I ran across this Junebug Weddings article awhile ago and thought “YES!” I knew that I needed to save this and share it with you all because they touch on so many amazing points and considerations when it comes to spending money on wedding photography!
I totally get it! I was a “Budget Bride” and did a LOT of stuff for the ceremony/reception myself, settled on the lowest priced venue that I could find, and bartered for as many services as I could. I found a photographer starting out, and got a dirt-cheap deal… but here’s the thing, and something that I’m incredibly grateful for… We were so stinkin’ LUCKY that everything turned out OK. I’m guessing, by now, you’ve seen at least one viral post about a wedding photographer that loses the images, or delivered photos that were all blurry, or stopped responding to the couple a week before (or a month after!) their big day. These couples are DEVASTATED that their memories were not properly documented. I have been hired last-minute several times by brides who’s friend/family member that was going to take their photos as a “gift” became ill, ended up having to work, or for whatever reason, was no longer able to photograph the event.
Quality wedding photography is not something that anyone with a decent camera can successfully do… it takes time, training, experience, and sometimes special equipment, to capture the important moments in the best way possible. These things do not come cheap to the photographer, thus, require a higher price tag to the client.
Did you know that your photographer does not stop working for you after your grand exit at the reception? Nope! That’s actually when the bulk of your wedding photographer’s work starts! For each hour that your photographer has been documenting your wedding, they are spending HOURS culling and editing the images! The amount of time varies by job and photographer… but I believe that my average is 4-5 hours of post-production PER hour spent shooting.
So, let’s think about this… how much do you thinking your photographer should make if you were just looking at it hourly? Let’s just do the math at $50 per hour (I like easy numbers). Let’s say that you want 8 hours of wedding coverage… that’s $400 right there. Plus, post-production/editing is another $2000 (calculated at 40 hours)… so just for the time alone, you’re looking at $2400.
It’s also likely that your photographer is a small business owner, which means that they also have to account for overhead costs such as professional equipment purchases and rentals, travel and vehicle maintenance, business insurance and licensing, software and web fees, supplies, education and training, etc., etc. Plus, they are also working with you BEFORE your wedding day…. meeting for consultations, helping with day of scheduling, and continuing communication with you through your planning process.
So many of the vendors and items that you purchase for your wedding are only for that one day… the cake will get eaten, the DJ will go home, the venue will close it’s doors and send back your damage deposit (hopefully!), but your wedding photos… those guys will be with you forever. For your sake, and for generations to come, please don’t skimp on these precious family memories. Find a photographer who’s work you love and who has a good reputation. Ask about payment plans or off-season discounts. These things do exist, and can help you with the financial burden of planning a wedding.