If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times, "We don't really care about the photographer. All we know is we're not going to spend $5,000 on some guy to come out and click a camera for ONE day." I feel I can write this blog entry on an unbiased level because I am not a photographer. I just have a lot of friends who have been very disappointed in the results of the person they hired on a budget to capture one of the most beautiful days of their lives.
Wedding photography is ridiculously complicated. The shooter has to be:
2. a fashion photographer
3. a lighting expert
4. an event photographer, and most importantly (in my opinion)
5. a photojournalist -- so you are captured in real time, living your favorite moments.
When you hire a photographer, you are actually hiring the person who will give you the ONLY remaining evidence of your wedding day. The cake will be eaten, the flowers thrown away, the guests will return home. But the pictures remain. If you find yourself with an album full of under/over exposed images and no depth or emotion, you will be incredibly disappointed. Even if it's something you never really thought you cared about.
Why are they so "expensive?" Just look at their equipment! The cameras, along with the lenses cost thousands of dollars. If they bring their own lighting equipment, that's thousands more. Also, a lot of wedding photographers run the business as their full-time job. They need health care for themselves and their families. Something else to consider -- you probably want your photographer insured, in case grandma trips over a lighting wire, breaks her hip, and ends up suing for hospital bills. The software used after the pictures are taken for correction and album building (Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom, etc...) can run thousands more. AND if there is a second shooter, that person needs to be paid for their time as well. These expenses add up. You may only see your photographer for seven hours on your actual wedding day, but the time they spend before that, scoping out your venue for the best light and then again in post production making sure your blemishes are gone and your arms don't look fat is money, too.
These people are dedicated and SO worth the extra thousand or so. Even if it means only putting flower arrangements on the first 6 pews instead of the whole church, or making your centerpieces lower to the table and not so enormous to where only Shaq can get the full effect.
Just because Uncle Jim has a camera that looks professional doesn't mean he even kind of knows how to work it, how to see the moments, and how to edit them to anything beyond what everyone in the congregation is capturing with their point-and-shoots.
After checking out these amazing photogs, who dedicate their lives to the craft,
you'll know what I mean.
Chip Litherland at www.elevenweddings.com
Michael Connor at www.connorstudios.com
Melanie Mauer at www.melaniemauer.com
The Kaisers at www.theimageisfound.com
Armin DeFiesta at www.armindefiesta.com
They all travel, and they're all SO worth it!