Why is wedding photography so expensive? This is a question we get asked so often and it’s a good question, after all photography is just pointing a camera in the general vicinity of the subject and pressing a button, right?
Anyone can do it.
It’s a bit like asking your best mate who has just procured that tiny new micro-drill to perform a root canal. Saves a few quid so what’s the harm, eh?
There’s no denying professional wedding photography commands a certain price tag, but with that comes a level of expertise and skill that simply does not come as standard in the box of every shiny new DSLR.
Yes you could ask Great Uncle John to take a few wedding snaps with his new retirement gift, but ask yourself if you’d feel equally as comfortable with him wielding a drill at your dodgy tooth.
How we like to break it down for our clients is this; professional wedding photography is a luxury, it’s something you want or would like to have but don’t actually need. As such it commands a certain level of expense which some people misinterpret as a photographer’s opportunity to jump on the wedding pricing bandwagon.
It’s a common misconception that getting married is expensive. It isn’t. The marriage part is relatively affordable but holding a wedding, well, that’s where all those pesky £££ signs start to add up, even then it’s all relative to your own definition of ‘expense.’
From the venue, dress, cars, flowers, cake, suits, entertainment, hair & makeup, catering and decorations, to the professional photographer (basically anything that isn’t part of the official ceremony) these are all luxury expenses - you don’t need them to get married, but it’s nice to have them all the same.
When you think about all of these expenses, which is likely to have the most long-standing impact? Flowers wilt, decorations are thrown aside, the food and drink flushed down the drain (quite literally), makeup removed and hair brushed out. Your wedding dress, though beautiful, is packed away as there will never be another practical occasion to wear it, unless you fancy recreating the famous Friends scene casually wearing your dress whilst lounging around the house with a beer. (Actually, that sounds awesome *runs off to dig out wedding dress*).
THIS BLOG WILL NOW BREAK FOR A SHORT INTERLUDE
(I am now completing this blog wearing my wedding gown, with beer in hand).
Now, where were we? Ah yes, the point I was making was that the utility of most of these luxury expenses decreases over the months and years following a wedding.
The exception is photography. Good wedding photography is less of an expense and more of an investment that actually increases in value over time, it’s a powerful mechanism that is intrinsically linked to your recollection of the day.
At Twig’s Branch we pride ourselves on really getting to know our clients, what makes you tick, what you like and dislike, your little quirks an idiosyncrasies, so we can create bespoke imagery that perfectly captures both your day and you as a couple. This takes a lot of planning and research, for example, scouting out suitable shoot locations, sourcing props, coming up with wet weather contingencies (we won’t be stopped by the typical British summer!).
Whereas your hard work in planning a wedding may be over after the big day, your wedding photographer is just getting started. As the saying goes, ‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it.’ For us, especially, this is so true. We spend just as much time editing your images in our iconic style as we do taking them.
A good photographer spends years perfecting their craft and when you hire him or her you are paying for the artist’s quality, expertise and style.
Photographers themselves also have their own expenses to consider. Good photography is so much more than owning an expensive camera, professional photographers require lenses, tripods, memory cards, batteries, flash stands, a different camera for this, a different camera for that - it’s not unusual for a wedding photographer’s kit to reach well into the thousands of pounds mark (and don’t even get me started on where to store it all. Let’s just say I used to have a second wardrobe. I miss it).
With all this expensive kit you also need public liability insurance and we haven’t yet even mentioned the editing side of things. Modern photographers require a powerful laptop or PC, software to edit the photos, back up hard drives so nothing is lost, USB pens and discs to supply your photos, all these costs add up.
There’s also the cost of tangible items such as prints, frames and albums - a photographer will have to deduct the cost of these items from the fee you pay which can often mean a hefty chunk deducted from any profit margin, and of course Mr Taxman will need his share.
If you are still unsure, think of it like this - when someone walks into Louis Vuitton to purchase a handbag they are buying into the overall brand, its exclusivity and timeless design. They are making an investment in a piece created with impeccable craftsmanship and an ability to retain value longer than other, less exclusive brands.
All things considered, it would still be a frivolous purchase because no one necessarily needs a Louis Vuitton bag (or at least so my husband keeps telling me) but its expense is relative.
‘Expensive’ is such a difficult term to define. It doesn’t account for the art of photography, the value of an image for its own sake, what those photographs mean emotionally, or the value of a photographer’s personal style.
In short, telling a photographer that you can get your photographs cheaper elsewhere is a bit like telling a Michelin star chef that you can eat at Macdonald’s for less. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”
Are we expensive? Maybe, maybe not. We will be to some, and not to others. ‘Tomayto, Tomahto’.
Are we worth it? That’s up to you to decide.