I recently stumbled upon this online post from a Bride to be on Craig's List, and had a good chuckle. The lady was claiming that Photographers charge way too much for "hanging out at a wedding, taking tons of photos and editing them." While I don't hold much regard for most of her post, it dawned on me that there may be many others that feel the way she does.
Other photographer's have replied by posting a breakdown of their costs and expenses as a Photographer in hopes to make the public understand the plight of the common Photographer. While it's all certainly true, I think it's also important to talk about the needs vs. the wants of getting married.
Everyone that gets married, for the most part, designs their wedding in a conventional sense. They book a venue, pick out the meal and entertainment, and pick out the Photographer to immortalize their big day. They have an officiant prepare the paperwork and perform the ceremony. They watch the cost go up and up and up as they plan their dream wedding.
But what is a wedding? Why are they so expensive?
An unspoken truth is that their is a huge distinction between getting married and holding a wedding. There is a massive difference between what is needed and what is wanted.
Getting married is simply that... The cost of getting married is actually very small. In fact, in New Brunswick, you can tie the knot for under $500.
Holding a wedding is a completely different monster. Almost all of the costs of holding a wedding are centered around hosting a large, luxury, catered party. While their are many costs to holding a wedding, I am focusing on the photography coverage, pardon the pun.
Consider the longevity of these expensive services. The alcohol, food, and cake get flushed down the drain (quite literally). The venue and accommodations will serve as faint backdrops to your memories. The flowers will wilt and decorations, tossed away. The entertainment will be a ringing in your ears the following morning. Your makeup will be washed away and the hair slept on. Your wedding dress will remain, but there will never again be a practical occasion to wear it.
Photography is the only expense at a wedding that grows in value with age as it caters directly to your recollection of the day's events. But make no mistake; As with other wedding services, Wedding Photography is a luxury service which has no impact on a couple's ability to get married.
A Photographer is going to spend a day shooting a wedding, and if they are decent, another 40-80 hours editing the images in order to offer a quality product that is up to par with their artistic standards. They do have many costs to run a business and maintain professional equipment, and they do spend hours upon hours planning, creating, editing, printing, delivering images that tell the story of your big day, and your big party. It's gonna cost some money.
I can't speak for all Photographers. Some charge far more then us. Others give it away for nothing. We have always lived by the rule that we would not charge more then we would feel comfortable paying. And that's what we do.
I'm not saying not to hire Photographers or any other wedding services. I'm saying that understanding the purpose behind them is fundamental in understanding why they charge what they do, and what that service is truly providing to you, your wedding day, and your lifetime together.
So get married if you need to, and party on if you want to!