Your wedding from a photographers perspective.
I was once asked, after already reducing my price to accommodate a half day wedding, why I couldn’t make my services cheaper as the bride only wanted me for a few hours. My response was this....‘With all due respect, I may only be shooting for 4 or 5 hours on the day but the work that still needs to be done after may be another weeks work for me.’ She quickly understood and didn’t say anymore.
I'd love to help my clients really understand why I charge what I do, the work that goes into wedding photography and why it should be seen as an investment.
So, your wedding day may look like just one days work, but behind the scenes I get to work on your wedding, the day I receive your booking. This is means meetings and chats with you and your other half about your wedding ideas, my ideas, I draw up plans, itineraries, in the months before, we'll meet again for last minute planning and reassurance. I make sure my kit is constantly ready to go, batteries charged, new memory cards bought, my second photographer organised. I do a venue recce, check out lighting situations, introduce myself to church and hotel staff. The week and then the night before I’m checking weather and traffic reports, I make a plan for getting to your venue on time, my phone is charged and sat navigation ready. I commute and then shoot your day, I’m usually there from the very beginning for your bridal prep right through until your first dance. If things over run, I stay.
During the actual wedding day my mind is running at a hundred miles an hour. I juggle the itinerary with lighting changes, unexpected happenings, poses, find the best spot for formal photographs and your private ones. I liase with you, your partner, bridesmaids and groomsmen, organise the wedding party for the group shot, plan the next bit of the wedding, get down with the kids so they don’t run away from me and my camera, I put my body into strange positions so I can get that unique perspective shot. The list is endless, I not only have to be on the ball constantly but I also have to be physically fit to do this job. Hence why I also work out at the gym as often as I can. This doesn’t stop the ache though....at the time my adrenaline is high and I don’t notice, that’s until I sit down at home later on and then can’t get up again. :)
This is just the beginning for a wedding photographer.....
What comes after is sifting through what can sometimes be over 2000 photographs from each wedding to select the best ones for my clients. I put them in order of no, maybes and yes. I then edit the best ones, I correct any issues and make sure I’ve brought out the best in every photo. On my website it says you will receive 300+ photographs, this means a minimum, you may receive 310 or 330 or more, it just depends which ones have made the cut. This editing process can take many, many hours, I may leave it a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes, it’s a process that can’t be rushed. When completed I then take another look over the photos to make sure I’m absolutely happy with them. I send 20 images to print and await their delivery, in the meantime I create a slideshow for you and pop everything onto your USB and into your bespoke presentation box.
In between editing I’m keeping up with marketing, advertising, contacting clients, suppliers and even shooting and editing other weddings at the same time. It sure isn’t a 9-5 job, but I love that it isn’t and I love my job, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m sharing your day with you, making you smile with my work, your day is as important to me as it is to you and my photographs are my art form. It’s never a case of ‘that’ll do.’ It’s finished when I’m happy.
So your £1150 pays for far more than just one day of work. It pays for many hours, late nights, expenses, travel and of course time and patience and I thank each and every one of you that has booked with me and sees and understands the investment you’ve made. Without you I could not do this dream job, you ensure that I never have to work in someone else’s office, 9-5 again and I will never take that for granted. Love you all!!
So you’re planning your wedding, everything is going great until you realise just how many suppliers there are out there, photographers being no exception. Everyone is fighting for your attention....and your money.
Where do you start? Who do you pick? Who do you trust? I’m here to make this decision a bit easier for you, to highlight what you should consider and what you should rule out.
First off do you have budget? If not, set one, this will narrow down your search. When I got married I set my budget for a photographer higher and sacrificed other things. Being a photographer myself my photos were the most important thing for me. So this leads me on to my next question, how important is a photographer to you? Some brides and grooms don’t consider this, they just want someone to come and take pictures for the day. Which is fine. But picture this, your wedding photos are usually the only lasting thing you’ll have from your wedding day other than your memories so it’s worth the extra thought before you book. Don’t ask ‘uncle bob’ just because he has a digital camera and it’ll be free, it’s not worth it – trust me, I’ve seen the horror. So decide how important a photographer is to you and write it down next to your budget.
You now have your budget and your list of importance, booking a photographer isn’t about getting the most expensive or the most award winning, it’s about booking the right one with the right style for you. What suits one couple might not suit another and this is what I tell all my clients during our initial meeting, they might like my work but it may not be totally them or we might not click, If this was the case I would actually discourage them from booking, photography is so personal, it needs to reflect you. Ask yourself which style and photographers are you drawn to? Light and airy, dark and moody? What will suit your wedding theme? Once you have that in mind you can rule out the others.
Next, please bear in mind a photographers pricing, I’ve had brides that have been happy with my pricing and I’ve had brides that say I’m too expensive. If a photographer wants to charge you just £500-£700 I’d be questioning their experience. You get what you pay for remember. Expect to pay between £850 and £1300 for a quality photographer. If you don’t have a massive budget to blow then stick within the middle but don’t skimp. Check reviews and talk to couples who have experienced a particular photographer, do your research before committing your time and money. I would always, always recommend hiring someone who also provides a second shooter. A second photographer not only ensures that every detail will be captured but it’s also great for peace of mind, it’s twice the photographer, twice the equipment, twice the memory cards and batteries, every photographer should have one. Unfortunately some photographers charge extra for their assistance, mine is included in my price as I think it’s essential.
You now have a list of around 5 professionals, good photographers will make time for your enquiries and any questions you may have as they understand that this is a big decision. So set up some meetings with your favourites, go through their work and also see if your personalities mesh. Getting on with your photographer will ensure you are relaxed and happy on the day and you’ll have fabulous pictures because of it, you are working together after all. Ask questions.
You’ve found a photographer that you love, you get along with them great and you’ve paid your deposit, what next? Most photographers offer engagement sessions prior to the wedding, I would highly recommend having one once you have chosen your photographer, for two reasons. One, to give you a feel for being in front of the camera, to give you chance to get comfortable and two it’s a great way to get to know your photographer and vice versa. Plus you’ll have fun doing it, it’ll give you that bit of confidence before the wedding day and you’ll know what to expect.
Every photographer should talk through a plan of action and itinerary for your day, they should be as prepared as you. This should be discussed in a few meetings leading up to the wedding.
What about albums and prints? Some photographers offer both in their packages but don’t be put off if they don’t, it’s always an option you can add on later, if it’s not and they’re forcing you to pay X amount for an album you’re not sure you want, then personally I’d walk away. However albums are a great way of displaying and showing off your finished photos it is something to consider if you don’t just want digital files. I’d definitely invest in some good quality prints though that you can frame or give to the family, your photographer will probably try to up sell some prints to you when they deliver your final photos. Don’t be scared of this as they are definitely nice to have and a good quality print is worth every penny.
So I’ve covered a few things in this post there’s always going to be more but these are the more important things to consider. I hope I’ve made things easier and clearer for you and best of luck with all your wedding planning.
You’ll just have to repeat this now with your dress, flowers, music, entertainment..... :)