Why is there such a huge range in wedding pricing?
It’s a really good question, but generally it boils down to getting what you pay for. There are several costs that are incurred to run a professional business that include equipment, data storage, advertising, insurance, accounting and administration. It might appear that a photographer is actively working at your wedding for 8-10 hours, however the behind-the-scenes work and post-production work (when done well) add approximately 25-35+ hours of work for every wedding. When I see prices like $500 for a wedding, I immediately worry for the couple who thinks they’re getting a good deal. It’s simply not sustainable to do good work at that level of pricing.
The other component to this is demand, reputation, and awards. All of these factor into pricing.
HOW SHOULD A PHOTOGRAPHER BE PROTECTING DATA?
This is a question I think all my clients should be asking any photographer they have in contention. But none of them do!
At my end I have the following process in place: my cameras have dual card slots, which means that when I shoot the file is automatically copied onto a second card just to insure that if one card corrupts, the other will have the files.
Once I get home from your wedding day I immediately download all photos onto a Drobo server which holds up to 17TB of data. If one drive corrupts it will immediately copy all files onto a backup drive within the tower.
I deliver all .jpegs to couples via Pass Plus gallery, where I pay a hosting fee that holds an unlimited amount of storage data. These photos are available in web-friendly and high-resolution formats.
Once that gallery is delivered I do a final back up of the final photos onto Dropbox before I delete photos off the original SD cards.
Last but not least, you’ll get sent a USB keepsake which you can store safely just in case something should ever happen to me some day.
WHY DOES THE COPYRIGHT STAY WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER?
The wording in contracts around copyright can be confusing. Put simply, this protects the photographer from having their work used for someone else’s financial gain. It means that couples can’t sell my work without explicit permission. It does not mean that you can not share your images online with friends or print them for viewing at home! (You would be surprised at how many “photographers” will steal legitimate photographers work and claim it as their own on the internet.)
WHY THE NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT?
I’ve considered and worked many different ways in the past with how to structure deposits and payments with clients.
Here’s the role I dislike: Bill Collector. Sending payment reminders for installments makes me feel like I am annoying couples. Everyone is busy and messages get lost. That said, I have responsibilities at my end too. So moving forward I have changed the way in which I do business: one simple deposit amount, the remaining balance before or right after the wedding.
Originally I used to take a 50% deposit, but a smaller amount makes couples feel better knowing that they won’t lose too large an investment should something change. However the non-refundable portion is to cover those losses I incur for those leads I’ve turned down for that wedding date.
WHAT IS LIABILITY INSURANCE? AND WHY?
Ask your photographer for proof of insurance.
This insurance protects the photographer and you on your wedding day.
My current insurance protects up to $10,000 in equipment and up $1,000,000 in commercial general liability. Some wedding venues require vendors to provide their insurance certificates the day of the wedding. So ASK.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE SICK/INJURED ON MY WEDDING DAY?
I participate on a lot of wedding boards/forums & am in contact with photographers I respect in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Should the worst happen at my end, I will do my best to secure you a replacement for the day of your wedding. I also work with second shooters who would be able to step in should a Principal Photographer be unavailable.
Look I hate jinxing things so I will say nothing more.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE FOUND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER?
Most of the time I know when the fit feels right. There is a kind of instant liking on both sides and everything leading up to & on the day of the wedding feels like a Collaboration.
Ask yourself: “Does the Photographers work FEEL good to me?” There have been a few times I have been hired for projects (not all weddings) where I realize that the client is not even aware of my aesthetic style or my eye… and that’s stressful. I want prospective clients to know and like my work so that their expectations are set prior to their wedding day.
I will admit that if it does not feel right at my end, I will refuse to enter into contract with a couple (and have recently done so). After years of working in the service industry, I have a sense of who values good hard work and who is looking to get lasagna for the price of pasta & butter. I am too experienced to put up with shenanigans and disrespect.
And at your end, you should like the person who will be very close to you throughout your wedding day. I can’t imagine photographs turning out well if the person behind the camera is irritating or disrespectful. Your wedding day is about you & your partner… not about the Photographer.
In my own personal experience, I actually woke up in the middle of the night when it dawned on me WHO should be photographing our wedding. While they were still in the early stages of their amazing career, I knew that Joel & Justyna had an eye for light. And that, to me, was one of the most important things I wanted in a Photographer.