Why do Wedding Photographers charge so much?

For most couples planning a wedding they will wonder, why do wedding photographers charge so much? Did your jaw drop when you opened that quote from the photographer you’ve been admiring and crushing on? $2000, $4000 or $6000?

It’s so easy to book the photographer who quotes you $500 to cover your 12-hour wedding! I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m saying you should understand why photographers charge what they do. It’s important to ask your photographer the important questions before locking them in for your big day. This helps to avoid any post wedding pitfalls.

Why do wedding photographers charge so much?

Full time photographers do not have side jobs. If you get married on a Monday or a Saturday, we should be able to accommodate you. Providing we aren’t already booked. This means your wedding takes priority! We won’t ring you the day before to cancel on you because our main job needs us. We wont cancel on you because we have decided to go on vacation. Your wedding is important to us.

Therefore, because we aren’t hobbyists we need to declare our income to the Tax Office and pay taxes! We have ABNs, business names, websites and expenses that come with running a business. Not to mention we have professional insurance.

Our years of experience means we know what images you want before you do! Out on the job I hear many sad stories from mothers. Mums say to me “the photographer didn’t take a photo of me with my son/daughter on his/her wedding day”, when they see me taking a photograph of my clients with their parents. As a mum this breaks my heart. These mums have genuine sadness about these forgotten  moments and they can’t get them back. We photograph the relationships you have with your most loved ones, your family, your friends.

You want  all the special touches you’ve planned for your big day documented and photographed. That hefty price tag you paid to have the wedding car of your dreams drive you on your big day? We know it’s important to capture you with that once-in-a-lifetime car.  That dream dress you longed for! We know we have to capture all the little things you spent months planning. These details tell the story of your day. When you are looking back over your wedding day images in the years to come, these images should take you right back to your wedding day.

We understand how much effort you put into planning your day. We know because we were right there with you, helping you plan times, offering advice and suggestions about things you never thought to consider to help you have an amazing day. We know because you communicated with us during your planning!   Chances are we have had pre-wedding meetings, numerous emails, text messages and phone calls. We may have even attended your wedding ceremony rehearsal to give you hints, too! We don’t just rock up on the day and click a button.

When you hire us you rest easy knowing we have years of experience behind us.

Did we tell you we have invested in training, equipment and business practices?   Which leads me to this next questions and another answer as to why wedding photographers charge so much.

Why do wedding photographers have two cameras?

Imagine if your wedding photographer showed up to your wedding with one camera, tripped over and crash, bang, smash – the camera broke! Or half way through your wedding the camera decided to break down! What then? Does the photographer say sorry I’m going home I can’t take any more photos today? This is why having two or more cameras is important!

Not only do we carry two cameras, our assistants have cameras. We have multiple lenses in case the lens decides to malfunction, we also carry multiple flash units in case our flash units fail us.   So often I have read in photography groups “I have a wedding to shoot this weekend how many SD Cards do I need. Is one ok?”

In Layman’s terms SD cards are those little things that our cameras save your images to while we are shooting. Most professional cameras have two card slots therefore each image is saved twice. It’s these cards we insert into our computers after your wedding day to retrieve the photos taken on the day.

Which brings me back to the inexperienced photographers asking how many cards should they have for a wedding day. Cards can become corrupted. If the photographer arrived at your wedding day with one card and it became corrupted would this mean they then left because they couldn’t perform their job? What happens if they fill that one card?

A professional photographer will have lost count of the amount of cards they own. Some of us will not delete our cards until you are holding your wedding day images. This gives us peace of mind that if our hard drives become corrupted we always have your originals to re edit to deliver your job.   I’m sure you’ve heard horrors stories of photographers hard drives crashing and losing all of your photos. Most of us save to multiple hard drives and we have your SD Cards as backups. This means we invested money into our businesses.

Therefore, not only do we have multiple camera bodies we have multiples lenses, flash units, batteries for our camera bodies, batteries for our flash units, multiple SD cards (sometimes 100’s) we also have multiple hard drives, storage devices and multiple computers to edit your weddings. We also have our equipment serviced regularly. Yes, our cameras and lenses get serviced, cleaned and upgraded!

This all factors into how much we charge for your wedding. That $500 photographer may sound like a good money saver right now, on the day things may go without a hiccup, however should something fail do you really want to risk your wedding day images?   Would I hire a photographer with one camera? I will let you answer that question.

why do wedding photographers own the copyright?

It’s quite simple.

What lead you to contact your photographer whose style you love? Seeing their images on their website, online, or in a brochure.

As Creatives and Artists we need to be able to display our work. Releasing copyright takes away our ability to showcase our work to other clients.

Most photographers will allow you print rights – the right to print your wedding day memories. Most of us will supply you with high resolution digital files so you can print huge size images. There are companies out there that do not release high resolution files meaning you need to order prints through their company. They may provide you with low resolution files, suitable for social media, but are not suitable for printing big photo sizes.

why do Wedding Photos take so long?

How long should it take to get your wedding day memories back from your wedding photographer? Every photographer is different!

Some photographers like to edit each individual photo.

Some photographers will pick 200, 300, 400 or 500 images from your day and edit and deliver those to couples.

Some photographers outsource editing.

Some photographers use presets that get automatically dropped onto files and tweaked slightly.

It takes time after your wedding to finish the editing process. This turnaround time is something you should discuss with your photographer and certainly something that should be included in your contract. Your contract should state a time frame after your wedding that you should expect to hold your wedding day images.

This is why contracts are important. To avoid the post wedding pitfalls of waiting what seems like an eternity to receive your images back.   Some photographers will only take on a set number of jobs per month to ensure turn around and delivery times to not creep out to unacceptable standards.

Now to something not so serious.

Why do wedding photographers wear black?

This is another popular question according to google!

Yes, I do tend to wear black and dark navy colours to my client’s weddings. For a couple of reasons. I do not want to stand out. Imagine if I wore highlighter pink. Oh hello – there’s the wedding photographer. Oh look at the wedding photographer in the wedding video,  hello highlighter pink wedding photographer.

Perhaps dressed in black I feel I can lurk around your wedding without being noticed. In all honesty, I don’t want the focus to be on my colourful outfit. I want all of your guest’s attention on the both of you! Black is unobtrusive.

Which brings us back to so why do wedding photographers charge so much?

There’s that 10-hour day without a huge lunch break. We won’t leave you at lunch time and wave good bye as we head off to have lunch. We are professionals with business expenses. Don’t forget the cost of our equipment and maintaining it. Furthermore, there is all the back-up practices to ensure your images are safe.

There is all of our training costs and costs involved in having assistants and second shooters on the day. Not to mention the time we spend beforehand helping our couples plan their day. Then there is the time after the wedding, editing! There are taxes, insurance and more taxes. We also have power bills to pay! It takes power to charge our equipment and run our computers. There is travel and fuel expenses. You may have booked a 10-hour package with travel to and from we are sometimes working a 13-hour day.

We are capturing that day of love you spent many months planning and years dreaming about. The cake has been eaten, the  dress hung up, all you have to remember the details of your wedding day are the images you trusted us to photograph.

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