I hear so many "You're in the higher end of photographers, so I gotta think of my options." so I thought I would share a little bit of what a client is actually paying for when booking their photographer.
I’ve been having a lot of consultations with clients lately, and what realize now more than ever is that many clients don't actually know what they're paying for when booking their wedding photographer.
Let's start with the basics, you’re most likely hiring your wedding photographer because you saw his/her work and fell in love with it. You can’t put your finger on what’s that thing exactly, but you know it’s something from their style to the way they document moments, lighting, poses, and the editing of the photos. But is that really it? Is that why you’re paying so much money for?! Just for a day to document your wedding?
Absolutely NOT. Let me explain what you’re paying for when you hire your wedding photographer and what goes on behind the scenes of and all the hidden costs you don’t see.
- Artistry / Talent – This is a giving, right?. You saw his/her work and you would love nothing more than to hire him/her to document one of the most important days of your life. You will trust your photographer to use whatever angles, composition, lighting, and to direct you so they can get the best shots of your day. After all, that’s why you’re hiring a professional.
Personality – You should like your wedding photographer as a person. Yes, it’s a business but, it’s a very intimate and personal business. I’m a big believer in energies and vibrations, and I believe that the more in-zinc you are with your vendor, the better everything flows. What makes a business different from another one is who’s behind it, what they stand for, and how they run it—and it should be somewhat aligned to what you stand for and what you want to support.
Professional Equipment – You know your wedding photographer has all the gear and equipment they need to document your day. You’re not worried about what lens they’ll use for what, you know they’re professional and they got it. So you will relax and enjoy your day with a peace of mind that everything is been taken care of by the vendors making your day possible.
Time – This is a big one; from the moment you inquire, your wedding photographer starts to spend time on you. E-mails, phone calls, answering questions and many of them give out this service to potential clients who are just interested in their services and haven’t book them yet.
Client Meetings – I spend 30-45 minutes with each of my clients on their initial consultation before any of my couples book me for their wedding. This is a very important meeting for me because I not only get to know a little bit more about the couple, but I can answer any question they may have. I also help them out with their timeline and give free advice and tips for them to have the best possible and most relaxed wedding they can have.
Engagement Photos – Another fun event most of my wedding packages include, but just like anything, it takes time to plan, time and money to drive to the location, time of session. And then the editing and delivering of the gallery. I personally think engagement photos are a major treat couples get when they book my packages, because I’m open and willing to make of that time an unforgettable experience.
Pre-Wedding Preparation – I personally have another meeting with my couples a month or so prior to their wedding. This is when we finalize the timeline, and make any changes if any, just to make sure we’re on the same page. As you can see, this takes time and preparation as I create my own timeline.
Wedding Day – The day you hired your photographer for is finally here! You thought you were going to hire him/her to document this day, right?! But do you see all the things he/her has taken care of? And all the time he/her has already spent on you already? Yeap! Everything we’ve talked about so far doesn’t even come close to the tip of the iceberg. The wedding day can be anywhere from 6 – 10 hours long, not including the driving time for the photographer to and from the venue. Some weddings may require the photographer to travel 2-3 hours one way from their hometown to cover the event. We’re talking time and money to get to the wedding. Not to mention their assistant and or second shooter and their expenses. Travel time must be incorporated into a photographer’s cost of doing business, and that’s something it's easily forgotten when thinking of hiring a wedding photographer.
Insurance – Hopefully the wedding photographer you hire has insurance, which is also very recommended and ideal, so everybody involved is protected. Venues really like this and many of them require them. As you can see the insurance is another expense the photographer has, but that you take advantage of when you hire him/her for your wedding.
Editing – Once your wedding is over, the photographer must back all the photos to different external hard drives, which also is equipment many people don’t think of. Your photographer will have over 1,000 photos to back up and that not only takes the equipment, but also time. Sneak Peeks are another element many photographers spend time on that you don’t think of. To do the sneak peeks, the photographer has to cull the images, which basically means going through all the raw files and selecting the best ones, while discarding the repetitive and bad ones. This process can take up to 35 minutes. After the culling is done, the editing process can start.
You probably thought that number 8 and number 10 where the only reasons why you’re paying your wedding photographer, but as you can see from reading this it’s far from true.
After the editing is done—which most likely will take between 6-8 weeks that’s when the job is almost ready to be delivered. Remember that your photographer is running a business and can’t be focused only on your wedding. He/her has a business to run, among other sessions, weddings, and a personal life, too.
Take it from me, it’s not about batch editing, it takes a lot more to have a complete story edited and delivered before is even ready, which will make you re-lived your day in the most beautiful way possible. Think about the quality of service and photos you’d like, and what you’re paying for when you hire your wedding photographer. I hope this helps explain and shed light to what you’re actually paying for your wedding photographer.