Why do Wedding photographers cost so much?
The truth is that the time and effort a photographer spends taking photos on a wedding day represent only a fraction of the work required to get to the finished product. Most of the photographer's work is done before and after the wedding day, including client meetings, location scouting, photo equipment preparation, photo editing, retouching and quality check.
Client Meeting: About two weeks before the wedding date, I would schedule a meeting with the client to review all the essential details. These include examining the schedule, photo shot list, ceremony procession, etc. It is in my best interest to understand what goes through the wedding day and avoid missing meaningful photo opportunities due to surprises. Total time required (Initial & follow-up meetings): ~ 1 to 1.5 hours
Location Scouting: A pre-scout is required if I am unfamiliar with the wedding venue or the Bridal photo shoot location, which would involve me travelling to the photo location about a week before the wedding day to familiarize myself with the physical environment and the lighting. By educating myself about the scouted location, I can carry out the wedding photo session more effectively and not waste time trying different places. Total time including travel: ~ 1 to 2 hours.
Equipment preparation: Since many things can happen quickly and spontaneously throughout the wedding day, I like to prepare and equip myself with at least four camera bodies. One of the benefits of a multi-camera system is that I can focus on taking photos of important moments, which otherwise be missed if I was changing lens. Another advantage of this system is that each of the four cameras represents a backup should the other one break down during the day. However, the challenge of bringing that many cameras and their flash counterparts is that they require many batteries, which requires a whole day of charging. Finally, before I load each camera and flash it into my bag, I check to ensure everything is working correctly. Total time preparation: 8 hours
Photo Editing: On average, for each hour I spent taking photos on a wedding day, I would need to spend two additional hours in front of the computer editing. Sorting through thousands of images can be a painstaking task requiring much attention to detail. After the editing process, about 20 percent remaining photos are to be sent for retouching. Total time: varies ~ 8 to 16 hours depending on the time spent taking the picture.
Photo Retouching: This is where each edited photo's colour, exposure and many other essential features are corrected. In addition, distracting elements such as wrinkles and even small cigarette butts were removed from the floor using Adobe Lightroom. During the retouching process, my ultimate goal is to polish all edited photos so they look their best. Total time: ~8 to 16 hours, depending on the number of edited photos
Photo Quality Control: This is the last step, where I would look through the entire album and check for consistency in colour tone and exposure. Should any photos not pass quality control, they would get retouched again. In the end, I will go through several drafts before sending the final copies to my client. Total time: 3 to 4 hours
Total Number of Hours spent: ~30 to 52 hours.
Please note: The total number of hours shown above does not include time spent on the wedding day. In addition, I have yet to mention the cost of purchasing camera equipment and maintaining a business which costs thousands of dollars annually! In summary, considering all the time, effort, and investment put into my photo packages, the amount that clients spend on my service is very reasonable.