Mobile phones are everywhere and their cameras get more impressive with every year. So impressive that some people ask whether they need a wedding photographer and why the professionals charge so much?
The first point is simple to answer. Although phone cameras are good, they’re not actually great. Their limited sensor size and focal ranges make them poor choices in many conditions. And those conditions are often encountered on wedding days: poor lighting indoors (ceremonies, receptions & dance floors), high dynamic range exposures (bright sunny days mixed with shade, dark rooms and bright windows). Professionals use expensive gear and additional lighting to overcome these problems.
The second point is related to the first. When you hire a photographer you’re paying for their expertise. Instead of snapshots, you get photographs. There’s a big difference.
Now, you might still be thinking it is a lot of money to be paying for a days work. After all, they have all the gear already. But here’s a list of things the photographer has to pay for that you might not have considered:
Maintenance, upgrading and replacement of gear – Although professional gear lasts a long time, it is expensive to buy, maintain and replace. Camera bodies and lenses can cost thousands of pounds EACH to buy and their upkeep is similarly expensive.
Redundancy – Good photographers are paranoid about letting down clients. Not only do they buy expensive cameras that shoot onto multiple cards to hedge against memory card failure, they also have backup everything; cameras, flashes, lights. They effectively have to buy 2 or more of everything and invest in long-term backup solutions just so they can sleep at night.
Gear Insurance – Taking all that camera and lighting gear out in public on a regular basis makes for significant risk and so high insurance premiums result.
Liability Insurance – Professional photographers will also have liability insurance so that if a disaster occurs which leads to a loss of their work, you can be compensated (financially or re-shoots). Not ideal, but better than the alternative.
Experience – Believe it or not, the ubiquity of phone cameras hasn’t made us a society of photographers. You can tell a good photo from a snapshot and it’s not just down to the camera used. Composition & understanding lighting are really important skills that take decades to acquire and put to practice in any scenario.
Advertising & Marketing – The wedding photography market is incredibly saturated. Good for consumer choice, but it means it costs a lot for photographers to promote their services. Word of mouth can only get them so far.
Travel & Accommodation – Sometimes photographers have to travel and stay in accommodation to ensure the best work for you. Don’t assume they just drive a bit on the day. Good photographers will have had to previously travel to the various locations for the wedding to scout them ahead of time. That’s their experience coming into play.
Editing – It’s not as easy as taking some pictures and then downloading them from the camera to print or send to the client. Every image needs to be edited for style and consistency. This is time-intensive and often exceeds the time it took to shoot the wedding.
Those were just the ones I could think of off the top of my head in 5 minutes. There’s undoubtedly more, but these are the main ones. If there’s one takeaway from this: yes, photographers are expensive; but they’re well worth it.
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in South Wales, check out Cherry Bomb Wedding Photography.