I see so many photographers advertising themselves as an affordable option these days. Now I won’t lie, when I first started I did the same, seemed like a reasonable way to advertise myself to potential brides and grooms and knowing how everyone, just as I do, loves a bargain I thought it was a surefire winner.
Now I have always had a pride in my work and while I’d be the first to admit my first weddings weren’t up to the standard of work now but it was, in my opinion, still pretty damn good.
The big problem nowadays is people using this affordable tag to lure in clients who are simply struggling to be able to pay for everything that a wedding involves, the dress, the cake, the flowers, the food, the disco….. The list goes on and on and seems never ending. I remember it all too well from own wedding some 9 years ago. The question you have to ask is how affordable will it seem a few years down the line when you look back at some god awful photos with massive regret in your heart.
Have a look at Facebook, some of the wedding sale pages and the photographers that advertise on there. I would never put someone down publicly, but seriously, doing this as a hobby is not fair on people on their wedding day.
So much planning, so much thought and so much money only to be ruined by someone who thinks its a quick way to make a bit of extra cash.
Wedding photography isn’t just about having a nice camera and taking a few snaps on the day. I have a nice set of pans in the kitchen but does that make me Jamie Oliver? Would you pay me to pop over and cook you up some beans on toast or a wicked sausage butty on your wedding day? (Seriously you wouldn’t.. lol)
Just like Chefs that are worth their salt its about the knowledge, not only of their tools and raw materials but about the process of the act. Sure there are recipe books that will show you how to cook, but without significant practise my Red Velvet cake will still taste like sweet cement with a beetroot tang.
The knowledge of how a wedding works, how people work, how to deal quickly with all the unexpected and fun things that happen on these awesome days is not only invaluable but essential. If someone wants to be a wedding photographer, thats brilliant, it's a great career. I love doing what I do but someone shouldn’t gain that experience at the cost of someone just wanting a deal.
‘Wedding Photographers are so expensive though’, Its something we’ve all said or thought at some point. I won’t go into the nitty gritty of why, its all a bit boring and if you do a simple search you’ll find countless people breaking down the costs as to why photographers charge what they do.
Instead just think about all the money thats spent on a wedding day.
Venue and Reception - £5000
Food - £4000
Flowers - £600
Cake - £300
Entertainment - £700
Dress - £1200
Stationary - £250
Other Outfits - £1000
Beauty - £300
Rings - £800
Honeymoon - £4000
Photography - £1100
Total - £19250
All that expense and a year later whats one of the only things you’ll have to show for it, apart from the rings and each other of course, oh and some drunken memories of uncle bob doing the splits on the dance floor.
When you look back on the day the photos are the only thing that will really bring those memories of the day flooding back, make all that money worth spending. I know not everyone spends the sort of money mentioned above but relatively it's still a lot of hard earned wonga in anyones books.
Why then risk those memories on a friend of a friend who has a nice camera or a chap in the village who took some nice pictures of a sunset last week and needs a bit of extra dough..
I'm not asking anyone to go outside their budget, break the bank or go mad on the credit card but please just do your research and make sure what you're getting isn’t a false economic choice.
Any Tom, Dick or Harry can create a Facebook page and throw up a few photos they took at cousin Sarah’s wedding. Unfortunately there isn't any regulation for Wedding Photographers so you will have to do the leg work yourself.
Ask the questions, look at the reviews, listen to the recommendations, look at the portfolio, make sure you love the photographers style and most importantly don’t let your decision be dictated by your budget.
Dictate your budget by your decisions.