So if you’re in the beginning stages of planning your wedding, you are probably in the midst of vendor shopping. That means looking for your wedding venue, florist, wedding planner and hopefully, you’re soon to be a wedding photographer. One of the number one questions we wedding photographers get is “why is wedding photography so expensive”. That’s a good question, but one that needs a little bit of explanation. So if you’re one of those soon-to-be-married couples wondering why wedding photography is so expensive, then you’ve come to the right spot.
We get this kind of comment all of the time. Constantly having people wonder why wedding photography is so expensive, telling us it’s a waste of money, etc, etc. Oh, but how this is the furthest from the truth. Your wedding photos are more than just cherishable memories that you can look back on years and years down the line. No biggie or anything… Your wedding photos are also heirlooms to pass down for generations. Ways to relieve one of the most special moments in your entire life. It’s not just about snapping a photo on an iPhone and calling it a day. It’s about the entire experience as a whole! Now, this will preface me with a deeper breakdown of why wedding photography is so expensive.
First and foremost, experience. Your wedding photographer will most likely charge their packages depending on how much experience they have. The more experience = the more they are going to charge. The more experience that a wedding photographer has, means that they have experience photographing weddings/engagements. They have developed their own system and processes. They are much more likely to have an established clientele and provide an experience that is 100% completely worth the higher price tag. Newer wedding photographers are more likely to charge less in the beginning as they are building up their portfolio and clients. Always use your best judgment when it comes to this and always ask! Ask your potential wedding photographer how long they’ve been in the industry! Also ask what kind of experience they have photographing weddings.
Keep in mind that just because someone is “newer” in the industry, doesn’t mean they’re not qualified to photograph your wedding. There are plenty of talented beginner photographers out there. It all depends on what you feel comfortable investing in and with who.
Now time is one of the biggest reasons that wedding photographers charge a pretty penny for their services. Like most of us know, time is something that you can not get back and is oh so precious. Whenever working with couples on their wedding day, wedding photographers dedicate so much time. Not just the day of, but the months (and even years) leading up to the actual wedding day. This includes:
From the moment of inquiry to the wedding day, wedding photographers will set up client meetings as “check-ins” for their couples. These meetings can be from discussing wedding timelines to answering any questions that clients have to plan their engagement session. These meetings are essentially showing couples that your wedding photographer is there to help them throughout the process and wants you to feel completely comfortable throughout planning your wedding.
Not only are wedding photographers constantly meeting with their couples, but they are also prepping for the actual wedding day. This can include building out your wedding timeline and location scouting so you get the perfect photos on your special day. It also means coordinating with other vendors to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working together to create a magical day for you two love birds. Dedicating time out of their schedule is something that we wedding photographers LOVE to do, but of course, does take dedication and passion for the craft.
Pre-wedding day prep can also include sending emails & questionnaires, client guides on what to wear for their engagement session, wedding prep guides, and actually photographing their engagement session. While not as long as the wedding day, couples who choose to have an engagement session with their wedding photographer means you need to carve out time to schedule that.
So aside from all of the pre-wedding day prep, then comes the actual wedding day itself. Depending on what type of package you have chosen, your wedding photographer is out there shooting your wedding for between 6-12 hours. We’re not only just photographing your wedding day, but we are also the right-hand (wo)man. We are helping you fix that loose thread, make sure we’re staying on time with our pre-planned timeline, and wrangling up the kiddos for family portraits.
We also have to think on the spot and be able to improvise just in case something goes wrong, we’re running late or there is a turn in events with the weather. Your wedding day is special and we make sure that you know that this day is all about you.
Now that your wedding day is over and you’re soaking in that newlywed bliss, we are editing away your precious day. We’ve now uploaded thousands of photos (sometimes even between 5,000-6,000 images) and have to narrow down these images to only the best of the best. This process can take hours to do! The last thing you want is half of your wedding photos to have guests with their eyes closed or hair on their faces.
After going through those images, we now have to edit each one to perfection. This time frame can be different depending on which wedding photographer you work with. Some wedding galleries take up to 8 weeks to complete. This depends on how intense of an edit your wedding photographer needs to make. This can also depend if your wedding photographer needs to do any slight photoshopping as well! When your wedding photographer takes the time to edit, it’s with purpose. We only want to give you the best of the best, because you deserve the best of the best. The last thing we want is to skimp out on your experience after investing $$ in our services. So a well-thought-out and detailed editing process is a must.
Wedding photographers also need to invest money in their gear! The only way they can get those beautiful elegant photos you love so much is also in part to the kind of gear they use. This can include items like their: camera, flash, camera straps, camera bags, external lighting, harness, SD cards, external hard drives, backup cameras, etc. Photography gear is not cheap, but let me tell you that the results are 100% completely worth it.
We also need to invest in specific software and programs in order to run our business and get you the photos of your dreams. What secure link do you receive in order to get your beautiful wedding photos? Yeah, a program that your wedding photographer invests in. Those programs in order to edit your wedding photos? Yep, that costs $$ too. How about all of those emails going back and forth and keeping track of expenses? That is how they keep the business running! Everything that your wedding photographer invests in costs money, but is used to help keep their business running and running smooth!
A good wedding photographer will always invest in education. Learning, growing, and improving is the key to owning a successful business and any business owner will tell you that. In order to further learn and perfect our craft, investing in educational programs and events is so important. Many wedding photographers will invest in courses, workshops, styled shoots, and content days. All of these are educational resources for photographers to build their portfolios, express their creativity, and further perfect their craft. Basically, we do all of this for you 🙂
So at the end of the day, you may look at wedding photography as being this “really expensive investment” but it’s completely worth it. Your wedding photographer is not just charging X amount of dollars just because. We charge based on our experience, the education, and the time and dedication it takes to deliver that beautiful final product. As a wedding photographer myself, I absolutely love my job and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so grateful to each couple that I have gotten to photograph and each couple in the future that I will soon capture their special moments. So before you quiver at the fact that a wedding photographer is “charging so much money” take a second to remember that without that experience, expertise, talent, and time, we wouldn’t be here!
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