When it comes down to it, wedding photography can cost you a pretty penny. Trust me, as a Long Island wedding photographer I get it! So many times wedding photographers hear how much wedding photography costs and the question is always "why does it cost so much?". To be frank, there is a lot more that goes into what your wedding photographer charges than you may think.
First and foremost, your wedding photographer's prices will partly reflect on their experience. Typically, the more experience a wedding photographer has, this can lead to a higher cost. However, that is not always the case! Everyone decides their pricing differently, but experience is a main component when it comes to breaking down the pricing cost for a wedding photographers services.
An experienced wedding photographer has not only developed their own systems and processes, but they also have established a more solid clientele. Having an experienced wedding photographer also means that there is more of a chance that they will provide a cohesive and consistent experience, and provide a level of expertise that is completely and 100% worth the higher price tag. Wedding photographers who have just started out in the industry are more likely to charge a lower price tag for two reasons. One, because they are still learning the ins and outs of the business and industry. Two, because they are building up their own portfolio and clientele. Also, please remember that just because someone is "newer" in the industry, does not mean that they are not qualified to be your wedding photographer. There are plenty of talented beginner wedding photographers who may charge X amount of dollars, and that's fine too. You have to use your best judgment in finding a wedding photographer who fits your style, your wants and needs for your wedding day.
At the end of the day, the choice is completely up to you, the couple! Use your best judgment on who you decide to invest in as your wedding photographer and make sure to ask plenty of questions. If you need a list of questions to ask when hiring your potential wedding photographer, check out this blog here!
Time is one of the many things in this world that we can't get more of and we can't get back. That is why wedding photographers may charge a pretty penny when it comes to the time that they spend serving their couples. Don't get us wrong, we absolutely love being able to be there throughout the wedding planning process and every step of the way. However, the more time that we spend with our couples, the more money that wedding photographers may charge for their services. Not only are wedding photographers dedicating their time on the day of your wedding, but in other areas of the wedding planning process as well.
Client Meetings & Checkin Calls
One way that wedding photographers assist their couples throughout the wedding planning process is through client meetings and checkin calls. Leading up to the wedding day, wedding photographers may set up what we like to call "check-ins" for our couples. These meetings are to ensure that you are doing okay during the wedding process, as well as make sure that we are on the same page with your wedding photography coverage. We go over any questions, final details and chat through your wedding timeline to make sure that we are set and ready to go on the day of your wedding. Exciting stuff here! As wedding photographers we know that wedding planning can be stressful as heck and overwhelming. We want to make sure that you know that you are not going through it alone and that we are here to help along the way.
Pre-Wedding Day Prep & Resources
Secondly, wedding photographers are not only hopping on meetings with our couples, but we are helping you prep for the actual wedding day. How do we do this? By incorporating pre-wedding day prep emails, guides and resources to help you along the way. We are taking the time to build out your wedding timeline, location scouting for your engagement/wedding photos and sometimes even coordinating with your other vendors. All of these things can take time out of our day (which we love and don't mind) but is one of the many reasons that play a role in why a wedding photographer may charge what they charge.
Some pre-wedding day prep also includes sending out and reviewing pre-wedding day questionnaires, prep guides, emails and coordinating your engagement shoot. Along with the wedding day itself, your engagement session is another period of time that your wedding photographer will need to carve out of their schedule to be able to shoot!
The Wedding Day Itself
Then comes the actual wedding day itself, woohoo! The moment that we have all been waiting for an it's finally here. Depending on how many hours you have hired your wedding photographer, this will also determine the final cost. Wedding photographers can photograph weddings between 6-12 hours, sometimes less if it is a small/intimate wedding or elopement. However, wedding photographers are not just there to snap a photo and disappear. We are there throughout the day being that helping hand in whatever you need. Even if you have hired a wedding planner, your wedding photographer is there to ensure that your dress stays tidy, that loose hair in photos is being fixed, etc. Your wedding photographer is also gathering all of your family for family portraits, making sure that any kids in the photos are where they need to be, etc. We are also going to ensure that in case of inclement weather or something were to go wrong that we have a backup plan. So while it may seem like we are here to just take the photos and leave, there is a lot more that goes into the actual wedding day than you may think!
Culling & Editing
Once the wedding day is over, now here comes the really fun part aka culling and editing through your photos. Culling is essentially when your wedding photographer goes through all of the images taken on your wedding day and narrows them down to only the best of the best. If I'm being honest, wedding photographers will most likely always overshoot rather than undershoot. That means we could be going through between 4,000-6,000 images! This in and of itself can take a lot of time because we want to ensure that we are giving our couples only the best images. Throughout the culling process, your wedding photographer is looking for misplaced hands, closed eyes, half-open mouths, etc. It's a process that takes time and is incredibly meticulous, so we want to make sure that we are doing it well.
After culling through your images, we then edit each and every one to absolute perfection. The time frame for this can be different depending on which wedding photographer you decide to hire. Some gallery turn around times are between 5-7 weeks or 6-8 weeks. This is one thing you should make sure to ask your potential wedding photographer before you hire them! The turnaround time for a final gallery can also be determined on how much photoshopping they will be doing to your photos/if you want any done. My main goal as a Long Island wedding photographer is to make sure that you love your photos just as much if not more than I do. So making sure we deliver an end product that you absolutely love is key!
Software and Programs
Your wedding photographer will also be investing in software and programs in order for us to perform our job and do it well. Things such as your online gallery that you access your photos through and the program it takes to actually edit the photos cost a pretty penny each month/year. These expenses are meant for wedding photographers to create a seamless client experience and an end product that you absolutely love, however, it costs money. Programs such as our client management system and our website also cost money to maintain and run, so this all will play a role in what your wedding photographer may charge.
Gear and Equipment
One of the main reasons why wedding photographers charge what they charge is because of gear and equipment. In order for us to be able to perform our jobs, we need to be able to have the gear and equipment to back it up. That's not saying that you need to have the most expensive gear/equipment on the market to deliver a beautiful end product. However, photography gear and equipment in general can cost a lot of money. Things such as the camera itself, lenses, external flashes, camera straps, external lighting, camera bags, SD cards, external hard drives, backup cameras, etc. costs money! While photography gear may not be the cheapest thing, I can tell you that the results are 100% worth it.
Education and Growth
Last but most certainly not least, your wedding photographer (a good one) will always invest in their education. Learning, growing and improving is the key to owning a successful business and any business owner will tell you that. In order to further learn and perfect our craft, investing in educational programs and events is so important. Many wedding photographers will invest in courses, workshops, styled shoots and content days. All of these are educational resources for photographers to build their portfolio, express their creativity and further perfect their craft for their couples.