So by now, you have probably read my about page. You know that this is what I do for a living, its not a sideline, and weddings make up the majority of my work. I am passionate about what I do, about my industry, but above all, about my clients.
If you are like most brides to be, you have probably done some googling, looked at a dozen different wedding photographers pages, asked for referrals in wedding groups on social media, and are bewildered by the wide range of packages and prices out there. You probably have little or no real understanding about what it is we do as well, and that is perfectly understandable. I mean, at a glance, it is pointing a camera and pressing a button..... and unfortunately, in some cases that is true.
So, why is there so much variation in price to start with?
Quite simply this. There are no formal prerequisites to being a photographer. You can walk into Harvey Norman, but a DSLR and go home and launch your photography page on Facebook. You have no idea that you should be insured, that advertising costs money, that you should have a registered business name, that you should have backup equipment, that you should have data management systems that will store your clients photos for years to come... it is all a mystery. On the face of it it is simple. You have a camera, you take photos, you hand those photos on a CD or USB to the couple, and you are done. What happens after that point is not your problem. Go home, delete the photos from your hard drive to make room for the next lot, and its sorted. Move on, forget the last wedding, and bid for the next. You've just scored $500 cash in hand. easy money for a days work.
And that, is where the low prices come from. Unfortunately I have had so many couples tell me about their nightmares, when a week before the wedding, the "photographer" has cancelled for some reason. I've also witnessed, more times than I care to recall, these "photographers" calling for help online when they are halfway through the day and their camera stops working, or the day after the wedding they have accidentally erased the photos from their memory card, or their computer has died, with the sole copy of their clients photos on it....
Now I'm not blaming these guys, for the most part they honestly don't know any better. Some will learn and grow, becoming true professionals, others will walk away, often after they have had something go wrong.
What it comes down to is this. A real professional runs a business properly. They protect themselves and their clients from everything that they can. They always seek the best possible outcome for their clients. Doing this costs money. They dedicate their time to their business. They have insurance, back up equipment, legal contracts, data management systems, they use the best products, they seek to make sure that their clients will have a lasting record of their day, for generations to come.... in reality this means albums and prints, as digital media doesn't last... more on this another time.
For me, I love my clients. I invest heavily in them and their day. Before the wedding day even arrives, I will have usually met 2-3 times with them (personally, I love taking my couples to lunch!), we have done a shoot, we have designed your album, and we have often checked out the venue together. On top of that, I've been working behind the scenes, organising my travel, booking assistants, and second shooters, often doing another trip to the venue for some more scouting. I have been editing engagement photos, designing your photo guest book, and making sure that all of my equipment is ready to go, batteries charged, cameras prepared, lenses cleaned, umbrellas packed... the list goes on.... all to make sure that I can help your big day go as smoothly as possible. You, as my clients, are my number one priority. Your wedding day happens once, and I want to make sure that I can record it faithfully, and create images that will evoke memories of your special day for years to come. Quite simply, you deserve nothing but the most professional service that can be given. Anything less than that is not good enough.
Yep... I get pretty passionate about this. That is why I have tens of thousands invested in equipment to make sure that nothing holds me up on the day, and so that your images will be protected for years to come. It is why I have spent a fortune on samples from album manufacturers from all over the world, to make sure that the album I make you will be a beautiful, one off heirloom, that will still look amazing when your grandchildren pick it up.
This is why I am also in the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP) so that you can have peace of mind that not only am I held accountable for my standards by an external body, but that I am also driven to improve and get better every day, by peers that represent the finest in Australian photography.
I know where my prices sit in the big scheme of things. I am right smack bang on the Australian average. After all of my business costs, I take home a modest, very average wage. I live in an average house in an average town and drive an average hatchback. But I seek to provide my clients with service that is way above average. I seek to give my clients service that will last a lifetime.
In short, if you really don't want to take any risks with your precious memories, hire a professional that will do everything properly. If the price seems too cheap to be true, it probably is.
Take care, and have an awesome wedding!