After reviewing the many considerations a successful wedding photographer must address, you may rightfully ask how much value to ascribe to her work. As much as we may hate the sometimes uncomfortable topic, after we review a wedding photographer’s portfolio and decide her approach to your big day is a good match, we will have to address finances.
Some wedding photographers would suggest that you think about how much you pay wedding photography services as an investment. They want to get across the concept that since your wedding photos will last well beyond the wedding day, long after the flowers have withered, the dinners have been consumed and the cake enjoyed, you should consider what you pay for your wedding photos as an investment. This idea may connect with you… or not. Perhaps you think of photos as things you are buying, and you want to get the best deal you want.
Even if you think of photo discs and wedding albums as mere products, in light of what we’ve discussed in previous installments of this series, namely, how many cameras a photographer must carry, the quality and capability of those cameras, the choice of high quality lenses he will likely make, the skilled way he will handle lighting, the special style he will apply to your photos, and the post-processing that will complete his artistic vision, you should expect to assign high value to that product.
Wedding photography, I would argue, however, is more than a product. If you connect with a truly talented wedding photographer, you will enjoy a relationship with her, and she will seek to serve your needs with the best skill and diligence she can apply to your wedding day. Here the emphasis should be on service more than commodity. Your relationship with your wedding photographer coupled with her passion to capture you as you are and your wedding day as it unfolds will in many cases yield a unique and irreplaceable family heirloom. Do you want to think of this outcome as just a product or commodity?
“But I have a limited budget,” you say. That’s a very real constraint for many. Often this constraint is accentuated when all other wedding expenses are allocated and committed before hiring a wedding photographer, leading to fewer and limited choices when it comes to the quality of service and photographs a wedding photographer will be able to deliver. You may luck out and find a very talented, just getting started wedding photographer and artist who shows up with just one camera and one lens and somehow manages to do a fantastic job… or more than likely, not.
Perhaps a better approach to a limited budget is to prioritize the things that are most important to you, and if in your case, special, high quality wedding photography is important to you, then reserve a larger portion of your budget toward achieving that outcome.
The next installment in this series is now available here.
Eduardo Suastegui is a wedding photographer and fine art photographer serving the Downey, Los Angeles, California area.