Wedding Photographers (Why Do They Cost So Much and Other Useful Info)
In this post of our weducation series, we’re lifting the lid on wedding photographers. Specifically, we’re addressing all those questions you might have had if you’ve been searching for one.
Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your wedding planning. That sounds serious, and we guess it is. When it’s all said and done, your photos are one of the only tangible things you’ll have to show for your wedding (priceless memories are good but let’s face it, we’ll probably all be senile one day).
Good photography is an investment for your future. Flowers will die, food will be digested, alcohol will (hopefully) be processed. But the photos will live on forever and become a part of your family history and a keepsake to show future generations that arrive as a result of this day. So, in our humble opinion, this is a good place to trust your personal taste and book the photographer whose work you truly love.
All of this said, there’s a pretty predictable pattern of reactions that happen when you’re just starting to research wedding photographers. It goes a little something like this:
1) Search photographers online (here’s a nifty link for later)
2) Shortlist fave photographers and email one or two to start the convo
3) Convo turns to pricing
4) Eyes widen and brow sweat forms
5) Immediate rapid-fire thoughts:
‘Why are wedding photographers so expensive?’
‘Surely they can’t charge that much for just one day?’
‘Seriously, wtf. I’m going to quit my job right now and buy a camera.’
‘Maybe I can just ask [insert amateur photographer friend] to take photos on the day…’
Don’t leave your day job just yet and do not text said-amateur-friend. We’ve interviewed five amazing and much-respected Australian wedding photographers to get to grips with all that’s really involved when you book their services. Here’s a spoiler: editing a wedding takes an average of 15-20 hours, on top of the 8-12 hours they’re with you on the day, on top of the email liaison, on top of that face-to-face meeting, on top of the time spent in transport… you picking up what we’re putting down?
Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Wedding Photographer
You don’t actually get to spend that much time shooting. The biggest misunderstanding in this career is that you get to travel, take pictures, and make $5,000 a wedding to do only that. In reality, shooting makes up only 15 percent of my time. Running a business is much more consuming and less glamorous: editing, accounting, taxes, packaging, emails, networking, web management, etc. I love it all, but there’s a lot more to it than just “taking pictures.”
It’s important to make your style clear to your clients at the start. I meet with every couple, either in person or over Skype or FaceTime before I take on their wedding. I feel like I can deliver the best, most creative images if we are all on the same page aesthetically. Some people love that posed stuff, and it is just not what I do. I have a photo on my site of a bride with a llama who tried to eat her flowers. Her mouth was agape! I’ve had some people say, “I would never want to hire someone who shot that.” But it was a real moment, and I love that! I have met with couples who had different expectations, and I happily referred them to other photographers that would be a better match. One couple I met with last year was planning a wedding that would take place entirely at night. I knew that I couldn’t deliver my best work because artificially lit portraits aren’t my style.
This job is surprisingly physical. Everyone in the industry calls the day after an event “the wedding hangover,” and it’s not because you had any alcohol — it’s because you’re so achy. I’ve never weighed my gear on a scale, but I’m probably carrying at least 15 to 20 pounds of lenses, memory cards, batteries, etc. in my camera bag. During the eight or 10 hours of the wedding day, I’m carting around about 10 to 12 pounds with two camera bodies. I’ve had to start carrying gear in a backpack. I’m careful to do yoga and other exercise to avoid bad knees and other problems [that could develop] when I get older.
Your real job is to serve the couple, even if it’s not photo-related. Sometimes I’m the one offering to grab Advil for the bride or thread for a ripped bridesmaid dress. I know every photographer might not offer to do that kind of thing — but for me, serving is at the core of what I do. Maybe that sounds crazy, but the photos come out better when you feel like you’re in there as part of the family.
There are no sick days. I shot a wedding when I had shingles. During one of the weddings that’s on my website now, I was so sick with the flu that I could hardly get out of bed. But honestly, I’d have to be laid up in the hospital to miss a wedding. I committed to this couple months or years ago, and it’s the most important day of their lives.
CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER AND HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS!
We decided the best advice we could give would be tips on choosing your wedding photographer and therefore get the best out of your wedding photos. Those of you who know our work will know we are all about making sure the fun you have at your wedding and we capture it – the day goes too quick for you to be standing around in endless photos.
So here is a summary for you of our presentation. We’ve had some great feedback, with couples telling us we gave them things to think about, making points they had never considered, which is what we set out to do. So if you weren’t able to make it, here you go
So your starting to plan your wedding. Everyone will tell you the most important things to cover first are your venue(s) and your dress and they’re not wrong, but we advise the next big thing should be your photographer. A great photographer will be booking weddings over 12-18 months in advance, occasionally we even book 2 years in advance, so don’t miss out on someone you love, get it high on the priority list.
Whilst you are looking, there are some very important points to consider when hiring a wedding photographer to make sure you get those fantastic photos which you will treasure forever. Yes I know that’s cheesy right? But so so important! Your photos are the only thing that truly lasts, yes you may keep your dress but even that gets cleaned and boxed up ready for the loft.
SEEING WHO IS OUT THERE
Firstly, and possibly somewhat controversially, don’t use a friend unless they are a wedding professional. It seems everyone has a decent DSLR these days, we are very used to having people taking pictures with cameras almost as good as ours behind us at weddings, but being a wedding photographer is so much more than taking pretty pictures
Ideas To Get More Wedding Photography Clients
Are you struggling to get more wedding photography clients? Looking for some innovative ways to scale wedding photography business? Well, I would like to congratulate you as you’ve come to the right place!
In fact, It took me 30 days to write up this complete post. And I’ve also discussed with my previous photography clients to get valuable insights from them which I’ve included in this post. This post combines my 3 years of experience in photography and digital marketing. To save your time and research, I’ve researched ideas from more than 10 books and 100’s of blogs.
Selling Add on Products
This is where many successful wedding and portrait photographers make most of their money. When upselling, you show clients product ideas beyond what they originally came for. Because you don’t incur additional marketing costs and you already have the images, add-on sales are great for boosting your bottom line. Add-on sales can be effective because you are selling to people who already love your work.
Consultation is The Key
The key to sales in the wedding and portrait industries is the consultation. In this economy, I assure you, business isn’t coming to you. You have to go out and get it. The soft approach—” you call me when you’re ready to make a decision”—no longer works because the market is oversaturated. Who can choose when there are a hundred options? It’s overwhelming for the client. Stand out from the crowd by being memorable.
Follow Up Plan
In order to make the most of your opportunities, have a follow-up plan. It is critical to getting more bookings; there is no way around it. Develop a system of following up with clients and track each lead and inquiry that comes in so you know when to throw in the towel and when to hang in there.
The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Photography
Weddings have become a major business, and photography is undoubtedly a big part of this industry. Couples are eager to document their once-in-a-lifetime occasion and go home with beautiful prints, photo books and wall art to remember it by.
Over the past few years we’ve written a lot about wedding photography and also gleaned plenty of tips and insights from professional wedding photographers. So we decided to compile all of our favourite tips and advice in one place in order to provide you with the ultimate guide to wedding photography.
Preparing to Photograph a Wedding
The preparation for a photographing a wedding should begin long before the wedding day itself. As the lead photographer, it will be your job to scout out suitable locations for the couple photographs, create a shot list, and of course, bring all the necessary equipment to capture beautiful photos.
Research the location
If possible, visit the wedding venue ahead of time so you know where you’ll be taking the couple shots, the group shots and any other important photos the bride and groom want. Professional wedding photographer Thomas Clarke points out that visiting the location beforehand will also give you a better idea of the type of lighting you’ll be working with.
Know the wedding schedule
As the lead photographer, you will be responsible for capturing all the important wedding moments, from the bride and groom getting ready to the wedding ceremony to the first dance and everything in between. So get a detailed copy of the wedding schedule and use it to put together your shot list and plan out your day.