Wedding Photographer + My Thoughts

While this is not the next post I had planned to blog about, because I am currently in Alabama and away from my wedding pictures and whatnot that I still have to blog about, I figured there’s no better time than the present. This is a post that I have thought long and hard about. Because I do not want to come across as upset/angry, or saying my way is right, or anything of the like, because it is not that way at all. This topic is not coming from an angry tone and nor what I say do I feel is always the right way. There are different situations out there and different times that the opposite of what I say might in fact work or worked for you.

So let me dive right in: The wedding photographer. I have of course blogged a lot on choosing your wedding photographer and finding one that will be the best fit for you through personality, quality, etc. I have been contacted by numerous brides in the past interested in pricing and information for wedding photography, and it’s always a huge honor just to be considered because a wedding day is that one day of your life that you have been dreaming about since you were little, and just being considered is amazing! However I’ve also heard the comment, “My aunt has a nice camera, so we’re just going to have her take our pictures.” This is where this is a bit controversial. I know there are cases where someone used a family member or friend to take their wedding pictures, and they are extremely happy. However, I know of so many more that ended in disaster, because often times a “good camera” means just a step above a point and shoot. I am a full believer in it does not matter what brand of camera you have or how much it cost, it’s the artist behind it. But lets be real; there’s a reason canon has a zoom lens that cost 200 dollars and one that costs 2500 dollars. Or cameras that cost 600 and ones that cost 5000. They don’t just make the same camera and through a cool name with it and higher price tag, they capabilities they have with a higher price tag is far greater. Same reason some photographers are 700 and some are 4000 or higher. But this isn’t about equipment, this is about the artist.

I fully believe that “wedding photographer” should be changed to “creative director” because a wedding photographer’s responsibility is SO much more than just taking pictures. It is a photographer’s responsibility to keep the flow moving during the wedding day. We are responsible for making sure everyone is present for pictures, that pictures happen on time, and be sure that everything is running smoothly, that you (the bride) are comfortable and stress free, and that you all look good of course. 🙂 Another responsibility to being a director is the time we put in; typically a bride will contact me 1-1.5 (or more) years before her wedding. So in the next 1.5 years we will email back and forth, call each other to keep the other posted on details, do an engagement shoot, a presentation of engagement pictures, and maybe even meet once or twice more. Then we of course have the wedding day, a presentation of wedding pictures, and delivering of prints and album(s). So that 1.5 years can easily be 2 years that we are dealing with each other, and I am constantly working with you to keep on schedule, I would think after about 3 months you aunt would probably get annoyed with you contacting her so much. Lets focus on the pictures themselves, and lets just have a ‘what if’ situation; what if your aunt takes your wedding pictures and they turn out horribly? What if you friend takes them, and their hard drive fails and they lose all your pictures? What do you think that will do to your relationship with that family member or that friend? Do you want to put that pressure on them that this situation might happen? We are dealing with technology, and Murphy’s law “whatever can go wrong will go wrong” is ever present in this line of work.

For my final thoughts I’ll kind of do it Q&A style:

How do we get those amazing post shots of the two of us after the wedding?
The reality of a wedding day is that it moves SO quickly. I do require to have 1-2 hours of time between the end of the wedding and the  beginning of the reception to capture the formals as well as the creative pictures on top of that, but lets be real; there are a lot of places you may not want to risk getting your dress slightly dirty. We do capture a TON of images of the two of you and in a way that is very creative, but I also offer in some of my packages a “bridal session” so that a week or two after your wedding we be a little more risky with our locations.

Why are prints so expensive with photographers?
This is a very common question (might have to put it in my FAQ).  Here’s the deal, prints on not very expensive for us, nor are they expensive for you to take somewhere and have them printed, but you are paying for the photographer’s artistic ability to produce those pictures. Think of it this way; for a painter to paint a masterpiece, the materials cost him hardly anything, but yet the print will sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars? Why because that painter wants to continue painting masterpieces and providing works of art for people. Same with photographers. We want to continue to provide amazing pictures for people, but if we sell the prints to you what they cost us, how long do you imagine we’ll be in this line of work?

Why are albums SO expensive?
True, there are places you can get coffee table albums printed for 30 dollars and sometimes less. But come on? Even if you paid your photographer just 1000 dollars, are you going to be willing to print those amazing pictures on something that cost hardly anything more than a blu-ray movie? I wouldn’t. Let me be completely transparent here; a REALLY good quality album cost us roughly 300-400 dollars. This is why most cases these albums cost in the thousands. For me and my brand, I want to provide you with not only the best quality images, but the best quality albums that are printed on the best quality papers so that they last a lifetime. I’m not printing on cheap papers, or providing cheap albums that will be worn after just a few years. But that’s just me, and I use this philosophy in anything I buy personally whether it’s clothes or camera equipment. I can get a button up shirt for 15 dollars or a button up shirt for 75 dollars. There is a reason it cost more money and it’s not because a brand is printed all over it, it’s the quality and to me, it’s worth so much more to invest some more money into something that will last.

Why should we pay a photographer so much money to just take pictures?
Again, as I mentioned above, you are not paying for us to just take pictures. A good photographer has the ability to coordinate your wedding day and capture all the images you wanting within the day itself. We have worked around weddings enough to know and to be ready when certain candid events will happen. We provide the customer service that is superior to almost any business you will find  for two years sometimes more! Lastly, we have your pictures printed on the best quality papers, canvases, albums to provided truly works of art for your home. I do not speak for every photographer her, but the canvases I have printed will not fade or drip after 2 years (this does happen with cheap ones), the albums I have printed are hand made in Italy and America and will not curl or be worn out after a few years of pages turning, my papers are guarenteed to keep their lustre for up to 200 years!! I stay away from retail stores, cheap online retailers, and such even for the pictures in my own home. Sure they are MUCH cheaper, but again, as I mentioned above, there is a reason a 4×6 cost .10 cents at once place 1.50  at another.

To close, remember, this post is not saying I am right, or this is the only way to go. I know there are cases that people have been happy with family members or friends taking their pictures. This is only food for thought, and to get you thinking on what pictures will really keep you happy 20 years from now when you look at your pictures. 🙂 Have a great Wednesday everyone!!