That is easy, yes it is expensive and for very good reasons.
There are many budget photographer’s out there who will provide a good service but it may be useful to understand why it is expensive and I am only talking about the low end. Professional photographers will charge many thousands of dollars for a wedding. You pay for their much higher overheads and artistic abilities.
First of all you are not hiring a photographer for just a few hours on your wedding day. You are actually paying for:
- Pre-wedding or event counsultations or meetings.
- Wedding day coverage.
- Backing up images (I make 3 copies and currently run 6 TB of storage plus I backup to DVD)
- Post processing of images.This step alone can take several weeks of work.
- Burning off finished images and posting photo’s online.
- Burn all select images to DVD. (your 2 copies)
- Producing a DVD slideshow. (your 2 copies)
- Producing a set of prints or contact sheets of all images.
- Printing of DVD covers, DVD’s.
- Archive all finished images and design work.
Additional services may include
- Any additional photographers required on the day.
- Engagement sessions.
- Pre-wedding shoot.
- Photobook design and production. (Allow minimum two weeks for design and three for production)
- Album design and production. (Allow minimum two weeks for design and three for production)
- Other services such as Guest book design and production, menu’s etc..
Equipment – purchase and maintain of expensive professional equipment.
- I use full frame Pro camera’s and assorted lenses and other backup gear.
- I shoot all images in RAW and only use Sandisk quality compact flash memory cards.
- I only process images on fully calibrated and colour managed (profiled) monitor. This is critical for correct colour matching of images.
Other costs include insurance, taxes and all other costs involved in running a business.
Two areas that I have noticed some photographers will skimp on are backups and quality computer monitors.
The end result could be that images are lost at some point as hard disk’s do fail. They are a mechanical device, it will fail and that is why I maintain at least a 4 way backup.
The other area that a budget photographer may skimp on is not owning a good monitor and calibrating it correctly. This will most likely result in images that are not colour accurate. These are your memories that I am talking about and you deserve and should expect only the best.
Good monitors are at least several thousand dollars and equipment to calibrate them are several hundred dollars. More on monitors and colour profiling in another post.
I recently attended a wedding where the cost of the flowers came to over $1100, and that was just for one day. That is about the same money for a basic package from a budget photographer but the images they produce will help to keep your memories alive for many years to come. Start from there. – Peter