I get it. I love a good deal, too. But–and this is a rather large but–I also know that deal doesn’t mean cheap or inexpensive; it means you are getting value for the expense. I could get a haircut anywhere but I go to Pam because of the little things (mainly a hot towel, wonderful Aveda tea, and stellar conversation). I pay more because she’s worth it for how I am made to feel and the service I receive. I see the value.
In Facebook groups, I see the request daily; someone is looking for a cheap or inexpensive wedding photographer. Let me make one thing clear: There is nothing wrong with that. One more time: There. Is. Absolutely. Nothing. Wrong. With. That. It does, however, bring up a fallacy of logic: Requests like this make it seem that all photographers are created equal in business and practice.
Not true, Magoo.
With my current prices, I fall into the high-end photography category, which means I am often not considered inexpensive. There is a reason why fellow photographers in the same category as me charge what we do; it’s because of what we offer beyond pretty pictures.
So what do you get when you hire a high-end wedding photographer?
- THEIR EXPERTISE
I tell my couples that a part of hiring me is like purchasing Farmers Insurance: I know a thing or two because I have seen a thing or two. When you hire a pro (especially one that focuses on the service you are requiring, such as weddings), you get their know-how from all the previous events. For example, I am approaching the hundred-wedding mark, which means I have been to dozens of weddings, way more than the average person. This means there is very little I haven’t seen, and that experience always helps me help you (and I have a lot of it bundled in a guide I send after booking). Planning, timelines, advice…it is something happily provided with an elevated experience.
- THEIR EQUIPMENT
Contrary to what memes on the internet say, equipment is important. Not all equipment is created equally, and while it is the photographer that has the eye for an image, there is a reason why all of us drool over the new tech in the industry (and do everything we can to learn how to use it well). I show up at every wedding with two digital camera bodies, two medium-format film cameras, all sorts of lenses, three flashes, two LED video lights, and a partridge in a pear tree. Furthermore, I know how to each one in combination with the others to appropriate and fully capture your day. It’s not a spray and pray situation were I haphazardly take a thousand photos; I know exactly what I need to deliver to you what you want.
- THEIR EDUCATION
My background, if you don’t know, is in journalism and education. Both require the professional to continuously learn and adapt to be at the forefront of their respective fields. Being a wedding photographer is no different. Many of us spend dollars to learn and grow, allowing us to better serve you. Every year, I try to take a course or two to focus on a new element. One year it was posing while another year it was lighting. It all helps me give you the photos deserve of the day you have dreamed of for so long.
Wedding photography is so much more than just pretty pictures. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. When hiring a wedding photographer, it is important to look beyond the price tag and see what exactly you are getting for that price. It is in that discussion you will see where the true value lies.
What questions do you still have about photography?
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer. She provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest! See more about the KLP Wedding Experience!
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