In the last post, we discussed how a marrying couple pays for the experience and history of a wedding photographer when they hire them. While that is part of the reason for why wedding photography costs so much, that isn't the entire story.
When it comes to wedding photographers, you are paying for their time.
Most wedding vendors are only with you on your wedding day for a few hours.
The makeup artist is only there long enough to do the makeup of the necessary people.
The hairstylist is only there long enough to style the hair of the necessary people.
The florist is only there to set up any floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception, and to deliver the bouquets/boutonnieres/corsages.
The DJ is only there for the reception -- and possibly the ceremony if recorded music and a mic are required.
The caterer is only there for a about an hour before the reception to set up hors d'oeuvres and start the meal, then for about 90 minutes during dinner service while serving and replenishing, then they clean up. (Sometimes they will also cut and serve the cake.)
The baker is there sometimes only long enough to deliver the cake. (Sometimes, they will stick around to cut and serve the cake. It's all about what the couple has agreed to.)
Photographers, on the other hand, are there for the entire day.
We start our days with you before the hair and makeup artist arrives so that we can photograph the details of your day: the wedding attire (dress, suit, jewelry, rings, shoes, bouquet, boutonniere, invitation suite, etc.)
We hop over to where the hair and makeup artist is to get some photos of the beauty enhancements that are happening.
We pop into visit the other partner while they are getting ready.
During this getting ready portion of the day, we often switch back and forth between partners because things often happen all at once or in succession. (If the marrying couple is getting ready in two locations, this is where having two photographers comes in handy because they can split up.)
If the ceremony and reception are happening at the same venue, we may fill in time with getting reception details (if there are any set up at this point in the day.)
Experienced photographers will also be looking for the little moments that are happening that perhaps neither partner will notice because they are (understandably!) too busy.
We are there for the behind-the-scenes action as the ceremony is getting ready to get started.
We are (obviously) there for the ceremony, from the time that one partner is waiting at the altar, through the blessing of rings, and the exchange of the kiss.
Sometimes, we even capture epic exits.
While your guests go to enjoy appetizers and cocktail hour, we are posing your loved ones for formal portraits.
(And photographing behind-the-scenes stuff, which is more possible if you have two photographers. My sidekick, Krista, captured this for me while I was posing the groomsmen at Kim & Blair's wedding.)
Right after this, we are with you as you enter the reception, photographing the grand entrance if you have one. Then we'll roll right into the reception timeline, whether that's starting with a meal or the first dance.
We make sure to document the reception details you have so carefully thought out, whether at this point in the timeline or at an earlier one. (If we photographed some earlier in the day, we'll check and see if more has been added. If not, we'll photograph what we can while your guests are in the buffet line.)
And, of course, we're there for the toasts, the cake cutting, and the other dances.
Then, of course, it's always a great time after that. While your guests are living it up on the dance floor, we are there to get good memories for you.
Of course, all of the other vendors would have spent time with the couple to prep for the day. The following is a basic minimum that most vendors would have done as prep for the couple's wedding day.
The makeup artist would have had to do a trial run on a day before the wedding.
The hairstylist would have done a trial before the wedding day.
The florist would have had a meeting with the couple to figure out what kind of flowers and how many would be needed.
The caterer would have had a meeting (often with samples!) to determine what foods to serve. So would the baker.
The DJ would have talked with the couple beforehand to figure out what songs to play and when, and what songs to avoid.
Of course, every business is different, and maybe the vendors would meet more times with the couple than just once. Regardless, the photographic team is prominently the one vendor that spends the most time with the couple on the day. (Not all venues have service managers there all day, and sometimes coordinators aren't there all day.)
And their time doesn't even stop with the wedding day.
Say they are with you for eight or ten hours on your wedding day.
They'll then go back and spend a minimum of forty hours editing the wedding.
Another two hours of gallery uploading and blogging.
And if you ordered an album, they'll spend one to two hours organizing the images in that album.
That's a minimum of fifty to sixty hours (not counting the album creation) on your wedding day. Yep, on just your wedding day. (We love it, otherwise we wouldn't do it!)
Of course, that does not include the time it took for them to back up your wedding images, post your sneak peek images on social media, or drive to your venue/s.
So you are paying for the experience, as well as the time, of your wedding photographer. Is that it? No, not hardly. Check back next week to see more reasons why wedding photography is so expensive!