1. Not all photographers can deliver any style of photography
A basketball player probably won’t do well in major league baseball (Michael Jordan I’m looking at you) so it makes sense that not all photographers can photograph in any style. Wedding photography can be made up of many styles and an established professional should be able to explain how they shoot and demonstrate it on their website. If it’s not clear to you, ask. If you don’t know what you want, look at the type of photos and artwork you already display around your home and think about how your wedding photos will fit into this.
2. Photography is only 10% of the job
You have to find a photographer with a personality that you like. They have to be able to listen to you, your ideas and suggestions and apply these during the pressures of the wedding day. Your photographer needs to meet all your friends and family and in a short amount of time has to make them feel comfortable enough to have their photo taken. They have to plan for every scenario that can play out at a wedding. Afterwards they need to make sure everything is backed up and saved incase of computer meltdown. Then they sort through hundreds or thousands of photos and decide which photos to keep and edit and which ones to delete. Editing is probably the most time intensive part. Every photographer uses a different technique and has a different style. The current trend is to make photos look ‘vintage’ or as if they were shot on film using presets developed by companies such as VSCO. Others create their own look and will take 5-10 minutes on each photo, which means 500 photos can take up to 83 hours to edit.
3. There’s more to professional photography than a nice camera
When you book a professional wedding photographer you’re not just renting a camera and a user for the day, you’re paying for a small business owner who does the following:
- Invests in training.
- Has the ability to make people feel comfortable in front of a camera.
- Has insurance policies and back up equipment in the event that something goes wrong.
- Spends hours planning for different scenarios to reassure you on your wedding day.
- Has the skill to organize, sort, edit and present your photos to you in a timely manner.
- Stores and backs up multiple copies of your photos.
- Serve you correctly with quality printed albums or prints that you can pass on to your children.
Ask your potential photographer about the above.
4. You will get what you pay for
Running a photography business is expensive and our accountants help us ensure that we’re turning a profit so that we can feed our families. The reality is that many photographers rarely make any profit from their businesses and close after 5 years. A good wedding photographer is also a good business owner and makes investments in their company so that they are around many years from now to serve you and your family. I mentioned a few of those investments above, but here is a further breakdown of the costs associated with running a photography business:
- Sales tax
- Self employment tax
- Insurance for their equipment and liability
- Business services such as their accountant and website
- Servicing and updating of their equipment
- Car maintenance
- Training and development
- Professional associations
- Overheads such as rent or utility costs
- Assistants to help with shoots
- Image storage and backup
- Those dreaded credit card processing fees
Your photographer knows that these costs will need to be built into the cost of their services. Discounting their services or working below this level can make their job stressful.
5. It’s more about the person than their equipment or lenses
If when you meet prospective photographers you’re not made to feel at ease and you don’t think they’ll fit in with your family and friends then they’re probably not the photographer for you. If they don’t make you feel reassured that they are in control, you’ll be worrying about your photos until they are delivered.
6. “Good food takes time”
Your photos don’t come out of the camera ready for delivery. They need to be downloaded, sorted, cropped or straightened, color corrected and possibly adjusted for exposure. Some are also edited in Photoshop to fix blemishes, smooth skin and remove distracting elements from each photo. Then software exports them and uploads them to a gallery for you. An average wedding can take 40 hours from download to export. However, photographers rarely spend an entire 8 hour work day in front of the screen on one task and will spread this over several days. This is in addition to other tasks such as emailing other clients, designing and ordering albums, and just general business related tasks.
7. What you have in your head, or on your Pinterest board, will not be what will be delivered
As I was planning my wedding, I envisioned me looking my best and looking like a model in all of the photos. What happened was me not giving myself enough time to get a decent haircut and regretting that everytime I look at my photos. Thankfully my smoking hot wife distracts from me in the photos. This is one of the reasons why an engagement session with your photographer is a good idea, so you’re not having the “do I actually look like that?” thoughts with your actual wedding photos.
Most people want candid style photos, which means that your photographer won’t pose you in your photos. Their job is not to interfere with the day and capture moments as they appear. If the moments you’re hoping for do not happen, your photographer won’t be able to capture them. So make sure to plan with your photographer and tell them your desired outcome for the day
8. Wedding photography is the one thing you will regret not prioritizing
After your wedding is over, the photos will be the only thing you have left to remember it all by. The day will fly by and you’ll regret not having good photographic evidence of who was there and what happened.
I have read countless articles where couples say that they regret not prioritizing and spending more on their photography. Glamour Magazine conducted a survey where 30% of brides regretted poor wedding photos. An article from Brides sites a survey conducted by Zola where photography consistently ranked as very important.
9. Photography from ‘unplugged’ weddings is always better than having a free for all approach.
I really believe that technology is hurting human interactions. By not allowing your guests to use phones on your wedding day, it ensures that not only are they always totally connected and in the moment but it also gives you far greater control of the photos that end up online and on social media.
10. Most photographers travel
Most couples only look at photographers in their local area. It’s more important that you find the right photographer, even if they are based miles away. Sure, you might have to pay a little extra for travel and a hotel but it is a small amount compared to other wedding expenses. The majority of your correspondence can be handled with email and over the phone.