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The last guest just left and, after a few moments and exchange of pleasantries, so do the local wedding photographers you hired for the occasion. If not there and then, then perhaps after the wedding excitement simmered down, it hits you that you just paid those photographers a cool $3,000. That is practically a month’s income for just a day’s work, you might say. The truth is you are right in your assessment.
When it comes to professional wedding photographers, the US ranks as the most expensive. The latest count shows that the average cost for a wedding photographer in the country is near the $2,000 mark. However, that amount is considerably higher in major US cities. Wedding photography prices in San Francisco and New York are closer to $4,000.
It might start to feel like daylight robbery for professional wedding photographers to charge as they do. You might get the shock of your life once you Google the going rate for Jose Villa and Annie Leibovitz.
Is there any justification that could merit the $3,000 that you paid or will be paying to your local wedding photographers?
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Those dreamy and glamorous wedding photos you see in so many portfolios are not shots from a typical DSLR. The much-hyped triple-camera system of the new iPhone 11 Pro Max? As expensive as that smartphone is, it will never come anywhere near the shooting power of professional-level cameras.
Professional photographers worth their salt do not just lug one camera. They would be packing at least two high-end cameras plus various lenses, light sources, and other necessary equipment. So, at any given time, a typical pro wedding photographer could be carrying around $30,000 worth of gear.
Why? So the photographer could capture your wedding memories as beautifully as it is. There is simply no way a mid-range DSLR or the most expensive smartphone can match the quality and clarity of a real photographer’s equipment.
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More than the expensive high-end equipment is the collective experience of the professional wedding photographer. One can say that it is the value that you are paying for and that the photographer’s gear is a distant second.
The best wedding photographers have invested much in the development and perfection of their craft. In addition to their equipment, they go through education, training, and exposure so that they gain the necessary instincts to go beyond pushing the shutter button.
It is their experience that tells them how to anticipate the right moments and still make them incognito. It is also their experience that makes them convincing enough to coax a smile from the grumpiest uncle to the snobbiest flower girl.
The same experience helps them when they have to create a photo opportunity in the middle of nowhere or manage a group of sluggish or bossy guests.
It would also help if you accounted for all of work that your local wedding photographers do. Those behind-the-scene activities that are part of what you are paying for include all the phone calls and emails, invoicing, post-production, and delivery.
Much of the work gets done during post-production, which most of us do not witness. The photographers’ experience again comes into play as they process the raw photographs into their final form. As you can now see, from taking the right shots to bringing out the beauty of each photo, it is a continuous creative work.
All that work for the sole purpose of documenting what could be the most precious day of your life. If the pictures make you and your spouse smile or cry in happiness, then you know it is all worth it.