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Leave it to the Pros ~ For What It's Worth

BY: Kirsten Schollig ~

You are engaged and have begun the process of planning your wedding day, so exciting! How that day will ultimately look relies largely on who you hire to support you as you plan this incredible event. The first key professionals you look to invest in are your venue, your planner or coordinator and your photographer. This article is here to give you a better understanding why one of these three support systems is priced the way it is and where the true value of the pricing comes from.

Your photographer (a.k.a. your hype person, honorary wedding party member, last minute hair fixer, dress bustler, ring runner, timeline keeper, perfect photoshoot location scouter and detail capturer) is the person who spends the most time with you on your wedding day. Possibly, more than your soon to be spouse! This is the vendor responsible for capturing the moments that mean the most to you without missing a beat, detail, or moment from which you will hold to as a memory for a lifetime.

So, how do you put a budget together for a vendor that is such an integral part of YOUR day?

To begin understanding how a photographer prices their services, it can be helpful to understand how they make your life easier and day more memorable. This is one key piece of the day that you can take with you; consider it an investment. Not only will you be provided with images from your day to hold onto forever, but an experienced wedding photographer is also an excellent problem solver and will help you stay in the moment, even well before your celebrations take place. Your photographer will know what to look for in your plans to ensure you have a smooth and meaningful day with ample time for portraits with your wedding party, family, friends, and with each other. They capture every detail; shots of your dress, heirloom jewelry passed down, and the intimate moments you did not even know they were capturing. Your photographer is truly there to make sure you have THE BEST DAY possible. Now, how do you put a price on an experience like that? It can be a tough conversation to have, but when you break down everything they put into the day, the cost becomes an investment you would make time and time again.

Let’s break this investment down to a full day (12 hours) of wedding coverage that could cost $5000. That would initially seem as though the hourly rate would equal $416.67/hour just for the day of the event. Next to take into consideration is the preparation beforehand, which could be around eight hours of timeline prep, inspiration, and email communications ensuring the shot lists and location scouting are complete. We are at 20 hours of work so far; $5000 / 20 = $250/hour. But the work is far from done yet. After your wedding it can take anywhere from 10 to 15+ hours of editing; this time will depend on the photographer, how many photos were taken and what type of corrections they may need. And now we are at 35 hours + for an average of $150/hr. Even further, to produce our absolute best, we require the most up to date editing software, equipment, insurance, and continuing our learning in education and mentoring.

The investment you are making ensures you have photos from your day that you love, an experience you speak highly of, and perhaps even a new lifelong friend and reliable photographer for all the future moments turned into memories. The monetary investment can be intimidating, especially when it seems like it is a large number for only one day. Surely, with all this newfound knowledge and understanding, you will feel more confident in investing in YOUR photographer.

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