I'm sure you have noticed that there are hundreds of photographers out there, and the price difference between them can be enormous. So you may be asking yourself – why are some of them so expensive?
Let me start by saying that in the UK, the average price for a wedding photographer is £1560. So with that in mind, the question you probably should be asking yourself is actually – why are some of them so cheap??
The answer to this is quite simple... most of the 'cheap' photographers are really quite crappy!
To get an idea of how different a professional photographer can be compared to a cheap amateur – take a look at the most expensive photographer you can find and then compare them to the cheapest one you can find. You will see that the difference is absolutely HUGE.
While I understand that sometimes people have tight budgets, I always urge couples to pick a photographer based on their pictures – and then on price. It is becoming increasingly common for people to contact a photographer and say that "they are just getting quotes" – often before they have even looked at the photographer's portfolio. Unfortunately, taking this approach will probably end up with you having a short list of awful photographers... and you will essentially be picking the 'best' from a list of the worst.
Look at it this way – if you were looking to get a family portrait painted, would you shop around for the cheapest artist? Or would you shop around for the artist who paints family portraits the way you like?
In order to fully understand why professional photographers charge what they do, here are 4 key points:
1 – Photographers are artists.
There is a misconception that anyone can be a photographer... you just point the camera at something and press a button – right? What makes photography a bit strange compared to other art forms, is that it's totally possible to capture a lucky picture on your phone – but you can't just luckily paint a masterpiece.
This shouldn't make you think that photography isn't art though – it absolutely is. A professional photographer will expect every one of their images to be of the highest possible standard and to stand out from the rest.
2 – Professional camera gear is really, REALLY expensive!
Let me start by saying that no matter how good camera phones may get - they will never come even close to the quality of a professional camera used with professional lighting. The same goes for cheap entry level DSLR cameras... Its always such a shame when you see a post on Facebook where someone has managed to capture a beautiful moment, but the picture is really poor quality.
It's not unusual for a professional camera and lens to cost in excess of £5000 – and no professional should turn up at a wedding without at least two cameras... So ask yourself this: how can someone charging £300 for a full day wedding, afford to spend that kind of money on equipment? The simple answer is – they can't.
3 – It takes lots of practice.
Weddings are complex and highly pressurised days – and if your photographer misses something, then there are no second chances. What really bothers me more than anything, are photographers charging for weddings but having almost no experience... Let me be completely blunt about this: this is completely inexcusable behaviour and is essentially fraud.
I've been doing this for a long time now – and I'm still always learning and getting better... and before I ever charged for a wedding I had already spent many years practicing to make sure that I was ready.
3 – There's so much more than just taking pictures.
Professional photographers generally spend a lot of time editing images – this is one of the main factors that go into why professional photographers can be seemingly expensive. Basically, you aren't just paying photographers to take pictures at your wedding, but also to spend many hours afterwards, carefully editing each image.
Hoping a professional photographer will reduce their price because you been given cheaper quotes, is like going into a car showroom and asking them to price match their high-end BMW with the £500 banger for sale down the road!
Now, this isn't to say that a photographer wont budge on their price – but you do run the risk of alienating yourself from the best photographers if you expect them to price match with the worst.
Like most things in life, you usually get what you pay for, and photography can be a perfect example of this. Trying to find the cheapest photographer is probably going to end in disaster – because its too late when your wedding is over and you receive poor quality wedding pictures.
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