As a wedding photographer, one of the most common questions that I get asked is "why does wedding photography cost so much?" That's an extremely valid question, but it can sometimes be hard - for both the client and the photographer - to address it. The client worries that s/he will offend the photographer. The photographer worries that s/he will seem defensive. In the end, the majority of such conversations seem to go something like this:
Photography Client: “Why are you so expensive?”
Photographer: “Because I take excellent photos, I have good equipment, and this is your wedding. Don’t you want great wedding pictures?”
Photography Client: “Well…yes…of course…”
(Photography Client then wanders off to look at some of the countless amazing iPhone photos on Facebook and Instagram, and quietly wonders…)
So, let’s address the elephant in the room: why is wedding photography so expensive?
I’ll be honest - before I personally started shooting them, I thought that the average price for wedding photography was insane - I quickly discovered that there are some pretty major factors behind that cost. Now, I'm usually a firm believer in the idea that great pictures can be taken with inexpensive gear - there's a great old saying: "It's not the camera, it's the photographer" - but weddings tend to involve a lot of fast action under low light, and as a result, consistently require very expensive equipment - and the expertise of someone who knows just how to use it. After all, even with the best gear out there, weddings are extremely challenging to shoot - they're fast paced, often poorly lit, and very, very emotionally charged. Wedding photographers are acutely aware that they're capturing a whole series of incredibly significant, once-in-a-lifetime moments. These aren’t photos that are meant to be consumed and then largely forgotten. These are the pictures that your children will show their children - they’re images that are literally meant to be cherished for generations. A good wedding photographer takes that responsibility very seriously.
Once the wedding is over - especially if there are multiple shooters involved - there are literally thousands of photographs to cull through and edit. There's this common misperception that a wedding photographer shows up, works for a few hours, and then collects a huge paycheck, but I can honestly tell you that there is a LOT of post production work involved! In fact, I recently had to raise my prices a bit because, when I factored in the time spent editing my photos, I was actually making slightly less than minimum wage.
In my opinion, it all comes down to this: the cake will be eaten. The flowers will fade. The dress will be carefully packed away. In the end, you get two major, lasting things out of your wedding: your legal spouse, and your photos. Now, obviously the first entry on that list is far and away the most vital, but I’m biased enough to think that the photos are pretty darned important, too.
Agree? Disagree? Want to test out your new keyboard? Then leave a comment!