Has your search for a wedding photographer left you wondering why wedding photography costs so much? After all, the photographer is just clicking a shutter button for a few hours and that’s it, right? Anyone can do that! Or why does this photographer charge so much more than this other photographer?  They are all just doing the same thing, right?

If you, or someone you know, has ever asked these questions, or if you have ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in wedding photography, then this blog post is for you!  Read on for a behind the scenes explanation as to what goes into creating stunning, memorable and beautiful wedding images for your special day, and why having a serious photographer who implements these practices is crucial to ensuring that your wedding photos turn out perfectly for you, and creating that beautiful “wow-effect” for you, your family members and friends to enjoy for a lifetime.

First and foremost, this is your big day and there is only one opportunity to get this right.   There are no do-overs in the wedding photography industry!  This is an industry in which you will need the photographer to have the right equipment, the right light modifiers, along with the right training, skills and knowledge to ensure that the job is done correctly and exactly the way you expect it.  If you attempt to cut corners and hire a cheaper amateur (and there are many out there) who just purchased one DSLR camera and immediately started shooting on automatic settings with little knowledge or training of lighting, camera settings, depth of field, etc., yes you will get your wedding photography done much cheaper, but you will most assuredly end up with wedding photos that are not quite what you hoped for or expected.   This is a big let down.

New amateur photographers, due to their lack of experience and knowledge of the industry, do not realize how much they need to invest to start a successful photography business and their mindset is that if they just cover their material costs, they will be fine.   Professional photographers care about delivering a quality product to their clients, understand the costs involved, and take the time and money needed to invest in the training and the equipment, in order to ensure that their wedding photography is done correctly.  They desire their clients to not be just satisfied but in love with the images of their special day.

Here is a breakdown of what a professional wedding photographer does on any given wedding, to maybe help you understand the time and costs a photographer must invest in order to produce the end result, which is gorgeous, stunning and beautiful wedding photography for you!

  1. Photography Service
    This is the obvious part—you are hiring the photographer to photograph your wedding.  But there is more than just the wedding day.  This usually includes a face to face to meeting prior to the wedding to make a plan, from beginning to end, on what the wedding day will look like.  (Tracy and I like to meet at a local coffee shop). What is the order of the service?  What are the most important items you wish to capture in your wedding, and when will they occur during the service or reception?  How do you like your images to look?  Do you want a classic look?  Or maybe you want a more romantic look?  Or both?  A professional listens carefully and custom designs the photography style to meet the needs and desires of their clients!  This is so important to ensuring a good, quality service that is what you desire!  Planning is so crucial!  After all, we have one opportunity to get the photography done right and a professional will plan the details down to the second.
  2. Post-Production
    Once your wedding is over, you go off on your happy honeymoon and begin enjoying your life together as a newlywed couple.  For the photographer, the work has actually just begun. From editing and retouching your images to perfection, there is a great deal of post-production work that needs to be done to make sure that your photos look amazing. It is very time consuming to edit hundreds of images to perfection and takes days, sometimes weeks to complete.  There is also extensive training that must be completed in order for your photographer to know the ins-and-outs of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.  Both programs are very complex, and the training and practice is very expensive and time consuming.  Oh, and another very important part—backup computer storage to make sure that all of your images are stored safely, along with online programs to ensure you are delivered images on a beautiful and professional looking gallery which you can share with family and friends.  And if you want a wedding photo album, a professional would take the time to custom design a gorgeous looking wedding album for you.  Post-production takes an enormous amount of time and money.
  3. Equipment
    A professional photographer will always…ALWAYS…have the best, most well-maintained, latest equipment to do the job correctly.  A professional will always use a full frame camera, with a wide assortment of prime and telephoto lenses.  A professional will also have a second full frame camera, just in case of malfunction.  This is also so that the second camera can already have a different lens on it, so that the photographer can quickly jump to the second camera without having to fumble around and change lenses, and risk not getting that important shot.  Cameras (especially full frame to capture the most beautiful images), an assortment of lenses, memory cards, softboxes, strobes, filters, lighting diffusers and reflectors,  all are extremely expensive, but a true professional will always have top-of-the-line equipment to ensure that your photos come out perfectly and exactly as you expect them to.  At John Dukes Photography, you can ensure that we will always have the very best, most well-maintained equipment not just at every wedding, but on every shoot we do.
  4. An Assistant
    A professional photographer takes your wedding photos seriously and we strive for perfection with every camera click.  This is why at John Dukes Photography, you will just about always see Tracy with me.  Having a second person to assist (and even take photos if necessary) is so important to ensuring the day goes perfectly and that the photos look amazing.  Tracy helps with lighting, she helps with making sure the bride’s beautiful gown looks perfectly in all the posed shots, she helps with getting equipment that she knows I need.  Having a second person to assist a photographer at a wedding is so very important!
  5. Training
    This goes without saying!  There is an enormous amount of training a photographer must go through in order to be prepared for your big day.  No matter how good a photographer is, there will always be something new to learn.  A professional will have the proper training to understand lighting in every situation and how to manipulate it to produce the desired results.  A professional photographer will be trained on how to shoot a camera in manual mode, so that the shutter speed, aperture settings, and ISO can be set to produce a desired outcome and increase the levels of creativity while shooting to ensure the images are super beautiful and really stand out, bringing out emotion in the images.  A professional knows their camera inside and out, and knows how to use on the spot focusing to ensure the images are razor sharp.  There is so much to write on this topic and I could probably even write a whole second blog entry on it.  Bottom line is, if your want your photographs to look amazing, make sure your photographer is not only very passionate about shooting beautiful photography, but is well trained on how to do it!

Photography is my passion and my livelihood, and it is also expensive. In addition, most people who know me well know that I am also very passionate about people and their major life events.  Capturing memories, especially the memories of a beautiful wedding day, truly is a deep passion both Tracy and I have.  We both understand that wedding photography costs a lot of money for one day, but one day isn’t all we spend on your photographs or on our business. Most people spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress or on a catered wedding reception which you are going to have for only one day.   Wedding photographs will be the one key tangible thing you have to remember that one day for the rest of your lives.  At John Dukes Photography, Tracy and I know how much this one day means to you, and we take it very seriously and work extra hard to deliver beautiful images for you and your family to enjoy forever.