Finding a wedding photographer can be a hard task. Many people only look for cheap wedding photographers; off course they end up saving some money, but this more often than not comes at a high price. Of course nobody great wedding photographer will know what this high price was until at least a month after the wedding. Beware of minimal wedding quotations… more often than not they are at the base of a photography disaster. If a wedding photographer offers his services for say 250 or 300 Dollars, giving you three hours of photographic coverage, he or she is very likely to have to turn down a bigger booking for the same day later on. An amateur will probably not have another bigger booking ahead, so there is nothing to lose.
A professional wedding photographer will take much more than 250 or 300 pounds for a day’s work (I’ll tell you why later), so if he or she will really take so little for a day’s work (and a lot more work after your wedding, as you will read later), chances are that he or she is not a professional photographer but just an amateur. Good luck to you! Most people looking for cheap wedding photographers have never hired a wedding photographer before, so they don’t really know how to look for one. It’s a zoo out there and it’s really hard to find good and true information.
The internet doesn’t really help either, because virtually all wedding websites offer paid information that can’t obviously be negative, as everyone tends to safeguard their advertisers. It is not easy, but you should try to find a website that has no advertising interests and that will tell you how a photographer really is. The best place for this purpose is a customer reviews website, but again, it’s very hard to find them.
By reading a wedding photographer review you can see what other people had to say about their experiences. Someone who is not very confident in his/her performance (for example a weekend photographer, a student or a freshly graduate), will still advertise all over the place, this is what makes the choice really hard: internet is reachable by virtually anyone, anywhere on the planet. It’s not like years ago, when you could only purchase expensive adverts on real magazines. Internet is free! So you don’t really know who is a pro and who is a student out there.
Talking about Canada, Vancouver is statistically the most expensive city in Canada, but a Vancouver Wedding Photographer is not necessarily more expensive than other wedding photographers in Canada. Inexpensive wedding Photographers can be found in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto Ontario, as well as in Vancouver. The real question is: do you want a cheap wedding photographer? A wedding involves a lot of “invisible” work that, like it or not, it has to be paid for. In my experience with weddings, the average photography job will keep a person busy for about 70 hours all included. Yes, that’s right.
Beginning from meeting the bride and groom, to the delivery of the wedding album, wedding box or any other kind of finished work, a wedding is very time consuming for a photographer. The days in which wedding photographers only shot 100 images during the whole day are long gone. Nowadays wedding photographers (with the advent of digital photography) shoot a very large number of images, often touching the 2000 mark and these images require some substantial work. They eventually need to be digitally edited, fixed, chosen, printed, sorted, mounted… it’s an awful lot of work! Getting the picture?
If you divide the total cost of the photographer by 70 hours, you will see what the Photography Company (NOT the Photographer) is actually getting. To that amount you have to take away all of the expenses (including the office rent, personnel expenses and bills) and you will easily see that there will be not much left. At this point there could be THREE possibilities: Someone that offers you very low wedding quotations is very unlikely to be a professional photographer because he or she:
1) Will NOT mind to work nearly for free (hobbyist)
2) Will NOT work for 70 hours on your wedding (probably has another job)
3) IS in desperate need of building a portfolio to gain work (zero experience)
All three cases are screaming an eventual DISASTER… So, as you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing a wedding photographer and by now, you should understand why wedding photographers are expensive and why a cheap one cannot possibly be a pro. If you do want to save money and are willing to take a few risks, then I would advice you to hire a student photographer. Always make sure to get some sort of references; a teacher reference is considered to be the best one. In the early days photographers heavily relied on photo labs. Nowadays everything is done digitally, so the lab is history. The downside of this is that the photographer has a workload that is much bigger than before.
The reason why so many hours are needed is because digitally editing images takes a very long time. An image must first be opened in Photoshop (or similar photo editing program), it must be color calibrated, brightness, contrast, hue, white balance… there are so many adjustments to do and these are incredibly time consuming. Without creating any special effect, a single photographs will keep a photographer busy for approximately 6 minutes. Now when you multiply the average 6-7 minutes by the images you are getting, you can easily imagine what the photographer has been though. Then if you are getting some images with special effect, that can take hours for each photograph… 30 minutes is a short time for these modifications. I have heard many times people complaining about how much a wedding photographer makes: “1000 Dollars for just one day of work!” But it’s not… it’s 1000 dollars for about 70 hours of work… that is two weeks and it’s not much at all when you think of all the bills and tax they have to pay to keep their business running. I hope this article helped you understand why photographers charge so much money for “one day’s work”.