Wedding photography can seem rather expensive, typically anywhere from $500 to $3500 or more to cover a wedding day from start to finish. So why is that so, and just what are the costs involved?
Shooting a wedding requires reliable pro-level camera equipment and a range of lens from wide angle to zoom, all capable of taking good quality images in different lighting scenarios. E.g. dimly lit churches and reception halls to outside bright sunlight, rain or cloudy skies. This type of equipment is very expensive to buy and also requires calibration from time to time to keep it in tip top condition. Additionally a good wedding photographer will also have back-up gear, because what happens if a camera were to fail? There are no second chances at weddings and backup gear is essential.
Insurance and Association costs
Good wedding photographers will carry liability insurance which covers the bride and groom, their families and guests from any unforseen circumstances. Most will also be a member of an accredited industry association which is important because it shows that the photographer is competent in their craft, and has been accepted by other photographers within the industry. They have a standard to uphold or risk loosing their membership.
Training and Experience
It takes a long time and lots of experience to be a great wedding photographer. There are many skills involved, especially concerning lighting, and being able to handle all aspects of the day is essential. People skills are also very important, after all the photographer is the one vendor who is with the bride and groom all day, from getting ready to leaving the reception, and so they must be able to communicate well with everyone, including Mums, Dads, other family and guests, DJ's, car drivers church minsters, reception centre staff and so many more.
Supply of quality images
This is one area which really sets photographers apart. The cheaper ones will after the wedding simply download the photos to a disk and see you later. However what a true professional photographer will do is a process of culling, white balance and other lighting refinements, cropping, black and white conversions and much more. Typically this can take up to one or two weeks and involves many hours of work. This process touches up and finishes off images to a true professional standard and makes a BIG difference when it comes time to printing. So instead of slightly dull lifeless images from a cheap photographer, you will have bright, vivid and sharp photos that will pop and look amazing.
So there you have it, just some of the factors that help to explain wedding photography costs.
Alan Rogers – Wedding Photojournalist