So I am asked all the time about what it costs to have a true professional document and preserve your very special day for you. I'd like to share with you my thoughts and feelings about this subject, especially in light of today's current economic situation.
You can find a wide gamut of photographers and studios out there that charge anywhere from $500 or $600 to $25,0000 to photograph your day. While I don't recommend a $25,000 photographer (as they are usually just the lucky one's who get to photograph Brad Pitt's wedding and their work isn't necessarily deserving of that fee anyway) I would never recommend a photographer under $2,500 either!
Lets look into this a little bit. First of all what your really investing in when you hire a photographer for your wedding is someone you hope is a professional, does this regularly, is insured and has the proper equipment. Second, but just as important, depending on the particular couple, you'll also want an artist. The cost of art and what it's worth is very much like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder. If a professional photographer is charging $10,000 and you just love and connect with their photographs and can afford the fee then it's absolutely worth it. It doesn't matter if the next couple doesn't connect with that photographer's body of work and says that they're not worth the $10,000 fee. It's just not worth it to them.
Lets look at a true professionals equipment for a minute. Now equipment doesn't make the photographer, it's their vision that does and they can capture that with any camera. But nevertheless it is something they need to get the job done. Personally I have about $60,000 worth of equipment that comes with me to each wedding I document and preserve. This includes camera bodies to shoot with and for back up, top of the line lenses (as that is the most important piece of equipment in any photographer's bag) alternate types of cameras such as true panoramic cameras, Holga cameras and medium format cameras. That's right I use both film and digital at an event. It's like a painter giving you an oil and a water color. They're both different mediums and they both offer a little different take on the subject.
Then you have insurance, traveling fees, film supplies and processing costs, digital editing and studio time spent before and after a wedding to prepare the images for final presentation, assistant and second shooter fees and a few other little things. All these things add up, not to mention that since the industry is always changing your always reinvesting to stay ahead of the curve.
Anyone who tells you they can do all this and do everything for under $2,500 while at the same time offer 10 hours of event coverage, albums, prints, slide shows, everything mentioned in the above paragraphs and an engagement sessions is not a true professional and my advise is to stay very far away! Sure there are ways to do that, but those ways are at the cost and sacrifice of the most important thing...your images!
Don't get sucked into all the wedding magazines and websites either, remember they will take anyone who can pay their fees for advertising! Unfortunately they will never accept photographers based only on whether they are truly good or not. 98% of the photographers listed on the Knot, New York Wedding, Wedding Channel, etc. are simply not true professionals. They are amateurs who bought a digital camera and flash and went to a friends wedding and took a couple photographs (usually while following around a true professional for the good shots) took out add space, made a website and call themselves photographers. Greedily taking your money while at the same time claiming that they will capture the very tender moments of your most important day. If their not professionals they won't even be able to recognize those moments let alone capture them. Are you really going to leave that up to chance? Doesn't it (usually) only happen once? There are no retakes when it comes to your wedding day. You're investing upwards of $50,000 for a low to average budget wedding these days....so don't haggle over $500 or $1,000 here and there, we're talking about the most important professional you'll hire, the one who should document everything so professionally and in such a timeless manner that 20 years from now your photographs will still look current and will always portray ALL the emotions and events that transpired on that day. From the moment you start getting ready (or the moment of your proposal) till the very end of the evening, you're photographer is the only person who can comprehensively document that.
My recommendation is to look first to your friends and family members for suggestions. Don't just go to a photographer's website, especially if that photographer was recommended by someone, it's not enough. Ask to see the body of work that prompted your friend or family member to give you that particular recommendation. Then go look at their website. Studios and photographers that are talked about are usually talked about because of two reasons, they're either really bad or really good...you want the really good one, trust me! Next have a particular budget in mind for wedding day photography only. Worry about the albums and enlargements down the road. Most people don't wind up creating a wedding album for months afterwords anyway, so you'll have plenty of time to save up for that. A good budget to have for a true professional that will offer a very comprehensive line of service, professionalism and include many of the must have elements will cost between $4,500-$6,500 for a 8-10 hour day, including a second photographer (not just an assistant). Remember true professional photographers have nothing to hide and will provide you with an easy to read price guide that doesn't hide anything at all. You should never be faced with a $1,500 bill when you ask for your high resolution files on DVD. You should always be sure that the person you meet at your initial consultation is the individual that will shoot your day. There is nothing more uncomfortable for a bride than someone they've never seen before show up to their hotel suite to photograph them putting on their dress. After you leave your consultation you should feel totally comfortable with your photographer, enough so, that it will be business as usual when they arrive and start taking pictures...well as usual as it can be the day you get married, but you know what I mean. Also don't totally trust your your parents photographer...event though they may be paying for it. This is you're wedding and just because the photographer may be a family friend or photographed your parents wedding or live next door, doesn't mean they're a great photographer or that they'd be right for you.
Trust your gut instincts and hire a photographer that you not only can afford but one who's body of work you truly connect with. A photographer who's images will make you feel and look elegant, artistic & sophisticated.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
(C) 2009 Daniel Coyle Photography
All Rights Reserved
This style of video is created for just about every client and typically emailed to them after their wedding event. Clients almost always order the high resolution version of it on DVD to watch on their HDTVs. In an effort to save money some clients have even been using longer versions of my slide show DVDs instead of paying for the services of a videographer.
(C) 2009 Daniel Coyle PhotographyI am very excited to announce that my much anticipated newly designed website will be up and running in a couple more weeks...
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All Rights Reserved
Please check back frequently to see our new look, new images and some great new styles.
Above is a sneak peak at a screen shot of the new site and an image that exhibits one of my new editing techniques. In keeping with the studio's motto of elegant, artistic & sophisticated I am quite pleased how this image looks. Please remember there is no unauthorized publication of any images on this site without the express written consent of the studio and its' owner Daniel Coyle.