Wedding Photographers, are they worth the price?
15 things to remember
I must start by saying, I am NOT a photographer trying to justify anything. However, I am a Hair and Makeup artist with almost 2 decades of experience working with photographers and I feel I am well and truly qualified to give you an unbiased insight into the worth of a good quality photographer.
In my personal and professional opinion, apart from actually getting hitched, I believe that photography is the most important part of your wedding day (videography and makeup are also up there for very similar reasons). Because at the end of the day, that’s what you have left to help you remember the most expensive party of your life. Thus, if you are going to splurge, in my opinion this is where you’ll get the best value.
I can’t tell you how many times I get clients asking where they can find a cheap photographer for their wedding. The average cost (in Adelaide) for a full day seems to be anywhere around $2000-$5000. So many clients freak out and say things like “Wow, how can they justify charging so much?? It’s only one day!!”
To this, I must explain…. It’s not just one day of work for them. Your wedding day is only one aspect of what they do to ensure you have the best photographic memories possible.
Your photographer may arrange a meeting with you to find out what you like, your style, your personalities, your expectations and anything else they need to know. This may take 1-2hrs. (Most people are paid if they have to attend work meetings, so why not photographers)
Many photographers spend hours looking for the best locations in your specified area to make sure that not only will you look great, but so will your surroundings. They don’t charge more for this.
They take the time contacting locations to find out if there are any fees associated with shooting there. If there are fees, some photographers pay them without charging you extra
The wedding day
The hours your photographer is with you on your wedding day may be up to you. But let’s say you opt for an all day package (packages vary per photographer), this should cover getting ready in the morning to dancing at the reception and may be up to 12hrs. That is one long day!!
After your wedding day, they go through the hundreds/thousands of shots and tirelessly select all the good ones and get rid of any that don’t make the grade. This can take hours upon hours! I’ve helped a couple of photographers do this myself.
Showing you the photos
Then another meeting with you is arranged, so you can pick your faves. This meeting may take much longer, depending on how decisive you are.
These faves of yours get re-touched to make sure every element is perfect for you. This might include making sure there are no rubbish bins in the background, or if you have a pimple it will be remove. Small details that make a world of difference for you. I’ve been told photoshopping can take anywhere from 20mins to 1hr PER PHOTO! Insane right?!! This is why a good makeup artist is critical too, as some photographers have been known to charge more for extra photoshopping due to bad spray tanning or makeup jobs. FYI tho; Some makeup jobs are not fixable in photoshop.
Some photographers also do albums (depending on the package you chose). They have to buy these albums and spend time arranging all those photos into the perfectly balanced book. This may take a day or more. Just imagine your boss told you to do a day’s extra work for no extra pay, would you happily say yes, no worries??
And don’t forget the printing of the photos for your album. A good photographer won’t be seen going down to their local Kmart to get your photos printed. No, No! They want those photos to last a lifetime with as little fading and deterioration as possible, so they go to a top notch printing place that uses the highest quality ink and paper to ensure you have your wedding album for generations!
They must ensure they have everything needed to capture every perfect photo opportunity. This may mean they have to buy new storage drives, lenses, reflectors or flash. And although these items will be used on other jobs, they often need $10,000+ worth of equipment just for your wedding.
Not only do they need equipment, but they need to make sure everything and everyone is protected. So their yearly insurance costs are not exactly the price of a cup of coffee. They need to insure their equipment (thousands of $$ worth!), AND you too! A professional photographer NEEDS public liability insurance, so if someone isn’t paying attention and trips over their kit and breaks a leg or something, it’s covered.
Some photographers also hire an assistant to help them on the wedding day to get as many great shots as possible. This costs them a days pay.
Travel is also an ongoing cost for photographers. For most wedding days, there is the groom’s location, then they drive to the bride’s location, then to the ceremony, then to the photographic locations (there may be a few, depending on what you decide) then to the reception. This not only costs them in petrol, but they must maintain their car with regular services, and repairs to ensure it’s reliable. Not to mention the car insurance costs.
A good photographer has qualifications, along with a natural creative talent. Photography courses are not cheap and don’t take just a few days. The best courses are years in length and cost upwards of $5000 to $20,000. All that just to ensure you get the best possible photos!
From the photographers I have chatted to over the years, I estimate that for a full wedding day photographic coverage, the average time spent on a wedding is around 70 to 150 hours of work. If we calculate that at an Australian average of around $25 per hr, that equates to around $1750-$3750! And that’s not taking into account their expenses, super or tax.
So, if you need a good, qualified, talented photographer to capture your wedding memories for years to come, put yourself in their position and just imagine your boss telling you to work a full 12 hr day without breaks, then a whole stack more hours doing more stuff. All while knowing your pay may be far less than the average after your expenses, tax and super are deducted. Remember they really do work very hard to get you the best shots possible.
I’d like to thank the following talented photographers for their insight for this blog.
- Glen Alderson Photography
- Nima from Nimo Photography
- Sarah from Little Car Photography
- Purni from Glamour SA Photography
- Robert Trew Photography in Sydney