So here we go. Why are wedding photographers so expensive?
The answer? They are not.
I am glad that has cleared that up. Maybe the answer is too obvious, I mean, I would hardly reply that they are. So how did I come to that answer.
I once wrote a wine induced tweet to a journalist that had written an article along the lines of ‘How to organise a wedding for under £5’. When it came to wedding photography, their suggestion was to contact a local Sixth Form College and see if a photography student would like to come and shoot the wedding for free (as part of their portfolio). My tweet was along the lines that maybe it would be better if the journalist gave their work over to a student studying English Literature. It would be cheaper and they may actually get a vaguely intelligent piece of work out of it (no slur on the student). Or in other words, why pay for a professional plumber when you could just get a first year plumber from a local college. Much cheaper plus they get to try out their skills and maybe earn a bit on the side. If your upstairs bathroom ends up flooding your living room, well there you go, you take your chances.
The journalist never replied. To be honest, I did not expect them too and my sense of moral righteousness was relatively short lived.
So why am I writing this and how can I explain my answer to the question ‘why are wedding photographers so expensive’?
Well before I answer this I think it is fair that the question is slightly amended to ‘why are good wedding photographers so expensive’. I have unfortunately heard of some real horror stories when it comes to wedding photography, so for the purpose of this blog let’s focus on decent work, by professional skilled photographers. The guys who are a credit to the profession 🙂
Weddings are one of the few times in peoples lives that they will book a professional photographer. So I understand they may not be aware of the what a photographer does on the day or indeed what they do before and after the wedding day. I also don’t mind answering the question. So here goes, I’ll break it down. For the average full day wedding that I shoot, you are getting about five days of work. This includes pre wedding meets, the actual wedding day itself and of course the editing. It is in affect a weeks work. Now obviously there are expenses such as travel and equipment etc. No business does not have overheads. Camera gear is not cheap and certainly in the case of weddings there is a regular turnover of kit. I could put together a breakdown of the average costs per year, but trust me, being a photographer is not cheap.
In all of the above, there are two things that are factored into the price that are often overlooked. Experience and skill. Because, this is the point, that the wonderful journalist in the story above neglected to mention. For a photographer, weddings are fast and furious (and fun), but they rely on experience to ensure that you capture everything. There is no chance to have a rerun of the bride walking down the aisle. It is a one shot moment. The photographer has to deal with a multiple of situations at any one time. This is massively helped by the experience that they have built up over a period of time. If you shoot in a certain way (I do and if you would like to see more of my work feel free to pop over to my Real Weddings Blog), then they should be delivering a body of work that reflects the reason why they were booked in the first place. Light, location and weather can all play their hand to make life easier or indeed harder. The photographers job is to deal with it whatever. Because key to this is not only how they perform on the day, it is the finished product that they deliver to their client. Their skill or talent is a big part of how they will achieve this and hopefully is the reason why you selected them to be your wedding photographer in the first place. Because a good photographer understands their craft and that should shine through in their work. This is recognised in the price.
So there you have it. Why are wedding photographers so expensive? I hope this has gone some way to, at the very least give my views on the question. As for plumbers though……..I mean, how hard can it be to connect a couple of pipes together 😉