The True Value of Your Wedding Photography

33With so many photographers available, how do you know who to choose for your wedding day? If you’re basing your decision solely on price, you should remember that when it comes to wedding photography, you really do get what you pay for…

1 – Any price that seems too good to be true, is exactly that. With the accessibility of digital cameras on the market, these days there are literally hundreds of amateur photographers offering substandard service for bargain-basement prices. (Everyone has to start somewhere, but most professional photographers learned the trade by first assisting someone with more experience.) Amateur photographers are those who offer ridiculously low rates because they have no professional training and no professional equipment.

2 – Quality costs more because it’s worth more. If you’re considering hiring a hobbyist or amateur photographer because they’re cheaper, you should bear in mind that the quality of the work will also be cheap. As will the quality of service. If you choose someone because they have the lowest rates, you run a very likely risk of getting photos you aren’t happy with. When that happens, there’s no way to reproduce or replace those moments. Remember, you only have one chance for fantastic wedding photos.

3 – How can we tell the professional wedding photographers from the amateurs? Although it means a bit of research on your part, the good news is that the difference is fairly obvious. In addition the difference in the quality of work, you want to look for a well-developed website. A key thing to check for, is a testimonials page with at least a dozen testimonials. And when it comes to the portfolio of work, check for a minimum of 50 separate images with many different people featured. An amateur photographer may have several images, but a dead giveaway is if most of the photos are of the same few people.

4 – What are some standard professional wedding photography rates? If you’ve been checking out several photographers, you’ll have noticed that price ranges can really vary. But if you’ve done a bit of research, you’ll probably have noticed that standard pricing for obviously professional, experienced photographers – those with good reputations/testimonials, good portfolios and good equipment – starts around $2500 (and can go as high as $5000) for 6 to 8 hours. Anyone charging less, is absolutely not a professional wedding photographer.

5 – Why do professional wedding photographers charge these amounts? Professional photographers base their rates on several factors. The simple explanation is because they’ve invested in high-quality equipment and the best photo-editing software, and due to their years of experience, skill and knowledge, they give the very best results.

6 – Other than taking photos, what are we paying our wedding photographer for? Your wedding photographer’s work is not done once they’ve taken hundreds of photos at your wedding. You’re not just paying for their time on your wedding day; you also need to consider the days or weeks they’ll spend working on editing and finishing your images. Someone charging extremely low rates will not be devoting much time -if any – to putting the finishing touches on your pictures.

7 – Why can’t we just pay less for someone to give us unedited wedding photos? Although it’s a valid question, the simplest way to understand why not, is to ask yourself this… Would you ask a waiter at a restaurant if you could pay less for your food if it were just partially cooked? When you’re paying for something, you receive a finished product. A professional wedding photographer will only give you high quality photos that have been painstakingly edited and worked on in Photoshop and/or Lightroom before they’re ready.

Is hiring a professional wedding photographer really worth the investment? Five years from now, you may not remember exactly how your cake tasted, or what color your flowers were, or the songs your dj or band played. Your wedding photos (and video if you have one) will be the one tangible connection to your memories of that day. Don’t you want those photos to be the best you can possibly have? If you do, then you’ll understand the value of paying a professional photographer what they’re worth, to do your wedding photography right and to do it well.