Why Do Wedding Photographers Charge So Much?

Why do wedding photographers charge so much? You are looking for a wedding photographer and shocked at the prices, wondering how you can find one of those “student photographers” that is incredibly gifted and undervalued. And you need them for a full day wedding with a 1 week turn around. Maybe a second shooter as well. And a possible highlight film if they have time!

This may be overkill, maybe you don’t care about the second shooter. But it goes through the minds of brides’ wondering “how can I possibly afford a wedding photographer and everything else I’m dreaming of?” Before you settle for Uncle Joe and his disposable camera from the 90’s, think about what you could possibly be giving up. 

Click here to view our free guide on what to ask your photographer when meeting with them.

Yes, you may have a friend of a friend who just got into photography, and they may be offering you a killer deal. But this could be the biggest mistake of your life. If you’re not convinced by the end of this article, then maybe you were right, and we can accept that! But take just a few minutes to consider what you may be missing out on by choosing a “cheap photographer.”

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Hyatt Regency Waikiki Bride Getting Ready

How to Cut Costs in Your Wedding

Before we dive into the importance of choosing a quality photographer, we wanted to share with you some ways in which you can save money on your wedding . This way you can invest it towards the photographer of your dreams.

1. Minimize on florals

No, you do not need to have flowers at your wedding and could choose to forego them. There are great alternatives to bouquets such as chiffon ribbons, vintage brooches, or simply holding your train as you walk.

2. Skip the planner

Having a wedding planner is a luxury, not a necessity. With a little extra work you could plan your entire wedding yourself. It will take quite a bit of time and work, but you do not need a planner to have a successful and beautiful wedding.

3. Ask a relative to do day of coordination

With a little bit of coercing, a relative or close friend could be your day of coordinator. We lay out exactly what’s necessary for a day of coordination. From this list, you can figure out exactly who will fit the role best. It’s a big job so give it to someone you trust!

4. Cut down on the guest list

The obvious answer to saving costs at your wedding is to pick a less expensive venue and caterer. If your dream is a certain location, simply minimize the guest list. If you make the affair intimate with only the closest of family and friends, people are sure to understand. You can even host a casual reception at a later date with everyone who was unable to attend.

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Why You Should Invest In What Your Wedding Photographer is Charging

  1. These memories will last multiple lifetimes.
  2. Wedding photographers are part of the wedding experience.
  3. People don’t regret good photos, only bad ones.
  4. You can rely on professional photographers to show up.
  5. Professional photographers understand angles and lighting.
  6. You get what you pay for.

1. These memories will last multiple lifetimes

You may not be a social media person, which is fine. We’re actually not big on personal social media ourselves and only posted one of our wedding photos for the profile photo on Facebook. You don’t have to be involved in social media to appreciate photos that your children’s grandchildren will see. These wedding photos create a legacy of your love, to be passed down for generations. 

Not only will the photos be relevant for your posterity, but for those who couldn’t be in attendance at your wedding. Hiring a high quality wedding photographer gives you the opportunity to share memories and moments with people who were not there to experience them themselves. It allows them to feel the genuine love and see the happiness on your faces they missed. Wedding photographers charge so much because of the skill they are bringing to the table.

On your first anniversary and fiftieth anniversary, you can open up your wedding album and let the memories come flooding back. When investing $10,000-$30,000 into one incredible, celebratory day, shouldn’t you have photos as beautiful as the day to remember it by?

2. Wedding photographers that charge high are part of the wedding experience

In paying for a wedding photographer, you truly are “investing.” This is another reason why wedding photographers charges so much! We know, the term has some negative connotations attached and people just want to see the prices without the fluff. But some of the photographers that offer packages labeled as investments are doing so to display that you will be investing in them. We always like to say that when couples invest in us, it’s so that we can invest in them back. 

To give a brief example of what our photography booking looks like, when couples reach out we immediately try to set up a meeting. Whether that be face to face, over video chat, or even a phone call. There’s something so revealing and personal about hearing someone’s voice and learning the inflections in their voice. It takes your email based relationship to the next level in realizing that this is a person I don’t know, who will be with me my entire wedding day. You want to make sure that person is worth having around!

Once we get to know each other and couples choose to book, we send them a contract that has every detail you could ever think of covered. This protects not only us as photographers, but the couples who are placing their trust in us as well. Then we send off a cute little welcome packet with a few goodies inside, one of them being a wedding planning checklist. This checklist starts at 12 months and goes all the way to the day of, ensuring brides aren’t forgetting anything. Sure, there are loads of free wedding planning checklists online. But they aren’t sent to you in the mail with a person on the other end who’s dying to hear about all the wedding plans!

Day of experience is key.

There are nightmare experiences with bossy photographers who care more about getting the shot than what the day is really about – to celebrate love. If you clash with your photographer, or they are timid and inexperienced, it could be catastrophic. Choose a photographer who will fight for your time with your spouse. Who will add to the experience rather than take away from it. And who will produce images that send your senses reeling and your memory racing when you look at them.

3. People don’t regret good photos, only bad ones

I’ve never heard someone say, “I regret spending the money on my photographer.” The only statement I have ever heard is “I regret not investing in my photographer.” I can’t tell you how many couples have reached out to us in disarray, saying they hated their wedding photos and want a redo. Of course, we oblige. They get all dressed up in their wedding attire and often even hire a florist and some rentals. It’s beautiful! But it’s not their wedding day and they can never change that. The day can never be fully replicated. At the end of the day, the question in your mind won’t be why did wedding photographers charge as much as they did. It’ll be relief that they caught the important moments.

If you have even an inkling of a doubt, thinking it’s possible that you could regret this, this is your sign. Spend the money on the photographer and find wiggle room in your budget later. While we’re on the topic of booking your photographer, book early. Wedding photographers are one of the first vendors to not have availability as people often book a year or two in advance. We are already filling up towards the end of 2021 and only have a few more dates available for the entire year. Book your photographer as early as possible! And if you haven’t taken a look at our wedding galleries, hop on over there once you’re done with this read. We’d love to meet you and see if our style fits your vision.

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4. You can rely on professional wedding photographers to show up

It’s in the contract. If a professional photographer has an emergency or something goes terribly wrong, they find you a replacement photographer that is equally skilled to shoot your wedding. This is a worst case scenario, but having that peace of mind is key. Solid contracts are expensive and can add to why wedding photographers charge higher prices. Planning a wedding is stressful, even with the help of the best planners in the world. There are so many decisions to make and factors that can go wrong, knowing that your wedding photographer is going to show up is just one more thing off your plate.

We’ve had a last minute call from a bride begging us to come to their wedding that was starting in an hour. Their photographer (a family friend) had backed out last minute due to some personal issues and left them without a photographer for the day. They didn’t have a contract, and we’re left with next to no budget to find a last minute photographer because he said the deposit was non-refundable (completely illegal, by the way) and they were not covered by any refund policies. 

5. Professional photographers understand lighting and angles

Have you ever taken great photos of your friends, then hand them the phone so they can return the favor? But the photo they take of you makes you look disproportionate, unflattering and inaccurate? It’s because their eye isn’t trained to see details. As a photographer, my eyes are constantly scanning the whole scene. I notice little details.

  • Objects directly behind someone’s head, creating a distraction.
  • Resting back on your arm so skin is flattened and pushed towards the camera in an unflattering way.
  • Angles that give double chins or distort body parts.
  • Stray hairs, even if it’s just one hair flying across the face.
  • The best lighting and angles to capture that light.
  • Flattering poses.

Prompts to make you smile and laugh that bring happiness and create lasting memories instead of falsified joy.

As photographers, our eyes have been trained in ways that amateurs rarely know and understand. It takes years of practice, trial and error, and learning to train your eyes to see these details. The best feeling in the world is when a client gets their photos and says, “I didn’t know I could look like that.” We enhance the beauty that’s already there. This may not directly relate to why wedding photographers charge what they do, but it is a big bonus.

6. You get what you pay for (ie. what your wedding photographer charges)

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That $300 wedding photographer with the limited portfolio but one stand out image that you could vibe with, they don’t understand angles, lighting, contracts, legalities (being insured is required by some wedding venues and should be an important question you ask potential photographers), client experience, reliability and longevity. It’s not worth the risk. Let me say that again, it’s not worth the risk. It’s one day that is costing you thousands of dollars. Immortalize it.

Hopefully now you’ve got an idea of why wedding photographers charge so much. It’s important to fall in love with their work, personality, skill, talent and art. Don’t invest just to invest, but really take your time and fall in love with your photographer!

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