As many people probably find out while planning their wedding, wedding photographers do not come cheap. And how can this be? Cameras are digital now, so don’t they spend a few hours taking photos, then go home, burn them on a disk, and call it a day? No, they don’t. Not even close.

Many photographers charge thousands of dollars to shoot one day at a wedding (and maybe include another day for the engagement.) And if you’re curious, here is what those thousands of dollars are paying for:

Why Photographers Cost

1.) The photographer’s equipment. That camera that you’re photographer is holding probably looks pretty complicated; that’s because it is. No professional shoots with even a $400 camera; they shoot with something close to $2,000, minimum. The lenses also cost some serious money, ranging from $600 – $5,000 and, in some cases, even more. Plus, let’s not forget all the studio lighting, editing equipment, backdrops, and props they also use. That’s thousands and thousands of dollars (well over $10,000) worth of equipment they’ll be using for your wedding.

2.) The photographer’s time. On the surface, it may seem like they only spend a couple of hours here and there shooting your engagement session and then your wedding. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. For a wedding, a photographer spends anywhere from 60-80 hours editing the photographs. Each one is color corrected, and each detail is taken care of. That blemish that popped up on your forehead the morning of the wedding won’t be a problem for a professional photographer, as they will take the time to edit it out of every single individual photograph, one at a time.

3.) The photographer’s expertise. It takes much, much more than simple know-how to take a good picture. A professional photographer will know how to handle harsh or dim lighting conditions and which camera settings they need to use to render the sharpest photos possible. They know how to edit each photo correctly to make it look as beautiful as possible. And no, selective coloring is not a skill. It’s something a four-year-old can do in Photoshop. A professional photographer would never, ever use that as a selling point.

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4.) The photographer’s experience. Weddings aren’t something for the inexperienced. Would you want a DJ using your wedding as their trial run, or would you rather they know exactly what they’re doing? The same goes for your photographer, except their experience is probably even more important for wedding vendors. If they’re standing in the wrong place to capture your special moment, that moment is gone forever; there is no “redo.” It’s well worth your time to pay a little extra for something that knows exactly what they need to do to catch the essential wedding photographs.

5.) The photographer’s talent. Some people call themselves wedding photographers, but they aren’t even close. A true photographer doesn’t just snap a picture; they capture a moment. They capture the emotion on the groom’s face the first time he sees you walking down the aisle. Also, they capture the beauty of your special day just as it becomes bathed in soft sunset light. A truly talented (and seemingly expensive) photographer will be able to capture these memories accurately.

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