I follow nearly all of the wedding groups on facebook in the Treasure Valley and my heart hurts every time there is dialogue regarding photography. It hurts to see the complete disillusion with what a photographer does. That is why I am going to break it down as simply as I can.
This article is written in layman terms; as per I know NOTHING about photography. My knowledge of photography is limited to witnessing and observing. My hope is that keeping this simple and very straight forward and candid helps you understand the need to spend some money and hire a professional.
First there is this idea that there are two ways in which you hire a photographer; the day of your event and then the editing after the fact. I will say as the non-photographer anyone who hands you ALL the raw images from your wedding day with NO editing is NOT the person you want to hire. Great photography is ART and you want them from start to finish.
There is an old saying "if you think it is expensive to hire a professional; try hiring an amateur. " This rings true in many aspects of planning your wedding, but photography it is really important to remember. Everyone who purchases a nice camera believes they are a professional photographer. It is shocking how many photographers are found in the Boise area alone.
Chelsea Schaefer "Most people think it's thousands of dollars for around 8 hours of work, but they aren't taking into consideration the hours of work that go into planning for the day, emailing, editing after the wedding, etc. Photographers also have costs (thousands in gear, insurance, website subscriptions, editing programs, about 1/3 of the package goes to taxes). Finally, it is such an important day in someone's life. These are moments that can't be recreated and that will be in the family for generations to come. The pressure and responsibility to preserve those memories is very large and that is a huge thing to take on!"
I read amateur photographers response to facebook photographer requests and say things like "$500 for the whole day and you get to keep the raw images." I cringe. The day of 10 hours of coverage for $500. That is $50 an hour. Raw images if they are good you may get 10 images. That breaks down to $50/ image or $50/ hour. Guess what? You didn't get a bargain. The bargain is getting a highly skilled photographer whom you paid $2500 for or more. They show up for the 10 hour day "after" they have spent 3 hours scouting and 2 hours getting your shot list. They have also spent an hour minimum, ok lets say 2 planning schedules and working with your event team and then they spend an additional 30 editing and after those 45 hours you are presented with 100 solid images that are heirlooms. They have researched your best album options and put together packages etc... taking another 4 hours. That breaks down to $37.88/ hour or $25/ image. That's the bargain. OH and you got your images back fairly quickly because photography is their job. You do not have to run around for hours finding a place that can print canvas images because they have done that for you. Your wedding day investment should not be less than what it is worth.
Things to avoid:
1. I will give you ALL the raw images. (This is NOT what you want to hear.) You are not a photo shop expert stop thinking you are.
2. I am building my portfolio. (Let them do a styled shoot) Styled shoots happen often. Unfortunately styled shoots probably happen to often, but they are great for early photographers. Do NOT risk your wedding day with a "building my portfolio."
3. We don't have a website but we have a facebook page. This is another red flag. Websites can be free. Putting a website up is super easy. If the photographer has not spent time "building their business", you need to avoid them. Hire someone who has invested in themselves.
Things to look for:
1. Instagram: Instagram is the best social media source for images. Check out your photographers' instagram. Pick your top 3 photographers who have image styles you like the most. Photography is not just about the editing, it is also general shooting style. Instagram will showcase their shooting style and highlight some of their favorite personality traits.
2. Advertising: There are a few ways to tell which photographers have invested in their businesses and those who are just hobbyists. If they are investing and buying ads in local wedding publications, Wedding Wire, The Knot and others they are worthy of a second glance. Advertising shows they are making an investment. Invested photographers often offer more consistent services and are more likely to invest in you when you invest in them.
3. Published: Look which photographers are getting published and where they are having their work published. Published photographers means they are capturing the elements of the day and they are able to tell the love story.
Vanessa Gliha "The photography industry gets a lot of flack for being 'overpriced', especially when pricing ranges from a few hundred dollars into the thousands. We could go on and on about equipment costs, training, hours of work/prep/planning and so on but it truly boils down to two points. #1 - We are just as much a luxury for your wedding as your dress, reception hall, horse-drawn carriage, etc. You can have a wedding for under $500 if you go to the Justice of the Peace and pay the license fee and court costs. Want a nicer celebration for family and friends to partake and enjoy? It's going to cost you. #2 - What we do is priceless. I promise you that when your parents pass away, best friends moves across the planet for work or you're significant other is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the pictures we take will no longer hold a monetary value. They will be priceless. How much are you willing to invest to make sure those memories are captured and preserved in a professional presentation? " www.orchard-photography.com
IDoWED is proud to market the best photographers in the state of Idaho. They each have their highlights of excellence as well as their personal flavor. We take great pride in the fact that we have the best in the industry. In writing this blog post we asked photographers across the nation their feelings on the rising cost of photography. The quotes were from a variety of photographers participating from a group on facebook. RTS
We end with our best comparison of professional vs. amateur.
Today on twitter there was a flood of shots of the cover of The Chicago Tribune Vs The Chicago Sun Times.
The Chicago Cubs have finally won the World Series and WOW what a game. Even if you were not a baseball fan you may have caught the excitement. Last night after 108-year drought, the Cubbies took home the championship title. What people are talking about though is the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.
In short in 2013 one newspaper laid off all their "professional photographers" and trained their journalists to be photographers. The difference is clear in the covers of today's championship newspapers.
The answer is in wedding planning do you want your wedding photos to be from the Chicago Sun Times or the Chicago Tribune? Your wedding is as important to YOU as the World Series. This is your 7th game, bottom of the inning, and yes you are up to bat... Who do you want capturing it?
Professionals are worth the money.
Oscar Allen " It's not really the day of that is being paid for. Yes that's a part but most photographers spend 40-80 hours on a wedding in post production. That alone without the tools the school and the experience is enough. Then take into account that it's an art that is being produced in live action. The list can keep going."
Check out our photographers here: http://www.idahowed.com/photography/