In a time when we are all having to tighten our belts a bit, forking out hundreds of pounds for a wedding photographer can be a difficult pill to swallow, and it’s completely understandable that you might be asking yourself this very question when planning your wedding, after all we are bound to know a friend who has one of those “fancy” cameras right? You know, those cameras that take great pictures?
Whilst this might seem like a sensible way to reduce the cost of your wedding, can you really rely on your friend to produce quality images? And what happens when that “fancy” camera decides not to work properly on the most important day of your life? Please tell me your friend has a spare?
The truth is, that cameras do not take great photos, photographers do, and there are many ways to plan your wedding on a budget, but cutting corners with your wedding photography is not one of them. Here’s a question for you…..answer honestly now…….how much did you spend on that lovely flat screen TV in the corner of your living room? My guess is that it probably cost about as much as most wedding photographers. Surely your TV is not more important to you, than beautiful memories of your wedding day that you can look back on for the rest of your life?
There are many reasons why us wedding photographers add so many zero’s onto our prices, and some of them are not immediately obvious, so I wanted to provide an insight into what is involved in providing your wedding photography and hopefully make that pill a bit easier to swallow!
Many wedding photographers have invested hundreds of pounds and hundreds of hours in formal or informal training by means of accredited courses, seminars and mentoring. Personally, I have been doing photography since the age of 15 (which was a few years ago, I forget how many) and since then, I have read hundreds of books, attended courses, spent years practising different skills and learning to cope with all the challenges that might present themselves on a photo shoot such as poor lighting, bad weather and difficult subjects (yes those too). I have carefully crafted portfolios to be strictly assessed by professional photographic bodies like the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, and to gain their Licentiate qualification (that’s what those letters after my name are all about). I have spent days scouring through YouTube for instructional videos on creative lighting and advanced photoshop techniques, and I constantly keep up to date with emerging trends in technology and fashion. Basically, there is a whole lot of study, practice and experience behind the camera that ensures your wedding photography is in safe hands.
Now, about those fancy cameras………
As your wedding photography is the most important day of your life, a once in a lifetime event with no re-runs or returns, it is essential for your photographer to be fully equipped with state-of-the-art cameras, portable flashes, light modifiers, radio triggers, memory cards and enough batteries to choke a horse. Most likely your photographer will have 2 or 3 professional cameras, a range of precision lenses and spare flashes with them in case of a technical failure. The average wedding photographer will have invested somewhere between £20,000 – £40,000 in equipment to ensure that you will have the best quality images, but also so they can continue when things go wrong!
All that equipment needs to be insured, and it ain’t cheap! Also wedding photography is a serious business, and with that comes a great responsibility. Your friend with the fancy camera may be a lovely person, but what happens if they do not (or cannot) provide you with nice photos? Who do you turn to? It’s a situation that has unfortunately resulted in the breakdown of lifelong friendships for some. Your professional wedding photographer will be fully insured against Third Party Liability, and also Professional Indemnity (their ability to fulfil their contract to you). At the moment, there is no requirement for wedding photographers to be licenced, however at Dream Weaver, we have obtained a form of voluntary licensing through the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, who can also arbitrate in the event of any disputes.
More than you might think!
On average, your wedding photographer will have spent around 12 hours working on your wedding before they even turn up on the day, between the pre-wedding consultations and venue visit, travelling, admin and bookkeeping. On a typical full day wedding, your photographer will spend 11 hours with you in addition to any travelling time to get there (or overnight accommodation in some cases). After your wedding, there is approximately 20 hours of work involved in selecting and processing all the images, creating your online gallery, uploading and designing your album. Even at minimum wage, that still works out at over £300.
On the day of your wedding, your photographer will not only take photos, but will ensure the smooth running of your day, by keeping a close eye on timings. They will help you carry cases, put on buttonholes and taxi you around if it helps keep things on track. Your photographer will liaise with venue staff and other suppliers to ensure everything ticks along nicely, they will be experienced enough to know where they need to be, and when, in order to capture every aspect of your day.
All in all, you are paying for a professional to take the stress away and provide you with beautiful memories to look back on. Our advice? Don’t put that burden on your friend, let the experts handle things, and just enjoy your big day!