wedding photography is so expensive & is it really worth the investment?
At the start of every engagement season, you see more and more posts in the local Facebook Wedding Groups asking for recommendations on photographers. That’s all well & good because these groups are filled to the brim with other soon-to-be-brides, past-brides, and vendors. If you’re looking to get at least 100 different photographers to sift through, just ask for a recommendation – I promise, you’ll instantly be swamped.
If one thing is abundantly clear right away when wedding planning, it’s that weddings are expensive. There are so many little things that need to be purchased, so many vendors that need to be booked, so many locations that need to be secured – suddenly it’s not only an overwhelming process but one that could potentially drive you deep into debt. And please, if you do anything while you & your fiance are engaged & planning your wedding, please don’t go into debt.
One of the very first things you should do after getting engaged is set your wedding budget. If you have family members (parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, or godparents) who are going to be helping to pay for things – sitting down with them & getting an exact dollar figure is vital to planning your wedding. It might be an awkward conversation to start, but in the end, it’s way easier to ask the tough money questions at the beginning, than to simply assume and realize at the end that the 10k that you thought your parents were giving you is actually only 5k.
Setting your budget will not only dictate what kind of venue you book, but how much you can spend on your other vendors (your photographer, your florist, your DJ, your caterer, etc.) There are tons of spreadsheets & budget outlines you can spend days downloading online – but your best resource is securing a quality and experienced wedding planner!
Why is wedding photography so expensive?
“They’re only there for a few hours! It’s a rip off to charge that much for a few photos!”
When a photographer quotes $3000 for an 8-hour wedding shoot, the immediate assumption is that he/she is earning $375 per hour. But if you take a closer look you will realize that wedding photographers make nowhere near that.
Generally, for a wedding photographer time is money. A single wedding can see us hustling through a 10 to 12 hour day, and even after that, we have to offload our images, back them up, cull through them, edit them, and back them up again before we can deliver them to you. To put a little context on the sheer volume...a single hour of shooting can yield 80 to 150 images or more! That is 600 to 1200 images for a single wedding day. While the photographer may only determine that 1/3 of those are viable images, each and every image has to be reviewed to even come to make those determinations.Then there is the editing work can take longer the wedding day itself, even with only minor adjustments! This is why it is so common that photographers do not even deliver a clients wedding images until an average of 6-8 weeks or more after the wedding day! No, it's not merely someone showing up to snap a few pictures and that's it.
Is wedding photography really worth the investment?
Here’s the question though: While you’re laying out your budget, is your wedding photography really worth the investment? Is there reason to set aside more money for your wedding photography than those online budgets might suggest?
Is there a difference between asking your “Uncle Bob” who has a nice camera to snap some photos, a $500 just-starting-out photographer, & a $5,000 photographer? Of course, I’m a professional wedding photographer, so my answer should come as no shock to you. Is wedding photography worth the investment? Yes.
Okay, so maybe that’s not quite the right question, let me rephrase it:
Why is wedding photography worth the investment?
Here’s a question for you: Do you remember what you ate for breakfast? Maybe you remember what you ate for breakfast this morning, but what about last Tuesday? What did you have for breakfast last Tuesday? Now, you might be able to make a good guess, but chances are, you don’t remember.
If you can’t remember what you ate for breakfast this morning (or last Tuesday morning), what makes you think that you’ll remember everything about your wedding day 10, 25, or 50 years down the road? "Yes but my wedding day is way more important than what I ate for breakfast last week! I will remember everything about that day for the rest of my life!" ....you would be surprised at what we forget over time! Will you remember what the weather was like? Will you remember who was in your wedding party? Will you remember who danced the hardest? Will you remember what your shoes looked like? Will you remember how you both looked as you said "I do"?
It’s a sad sad fact, but our memories fade. Some fade faster than others, but no matter what,
your memory will fail you.
But guess what? Those memories can all be brought back very quickly & easily – with your wedding photos.
Have you ever sat down & looked through some old photos & instantly memories come flooding back? You can suddenly remember how things smelled, how things felt, and what things sounded like. It’s magical (if you haven’t experienced this “magic” – I dare you to take a peek into your Facebook memories!)
Who wouldn’t want those memories preserved from their wedding day? Their “Day One” – the biggest day of your life?
Why is wedding photography so expensive and Why is it worth the investment?
In the end, a photographer is providing a service with an end product that has a high intrinsic value. Because the cake will be gone, the wedding gifts will one day end up on the online yard sale pages, your guests lives go off in different directions. It’s all you’ll have left in 10 years to relive that memory of your wedding day. And it’s all you’ll have left to pass on to your children & grandchildren...who will pass it down to their future generations.