Are Expensive Wedding Photographers Better Than Inexpensive Wedding Photographers?

Some brides and grooms out there pay excessive amounts for wedding photographers. There is nothing wrong with this if you know exactly the photographer you want and you fall in love with their work. It also helps if you can afford it. The question is however, is a more expensive wedding photographer a better photographer? Is an inexpensive and more affordable photographer just not as qualified? Well I know of one photographer that actually charges over $50,000 to shoot an 8 hour wedding. He sold the photos from the wedding at ridiculous prices to. Let’s just say a wallet sized photo was $60.00. And guess what? The bride & groom and their family ordered tons of pictures at those bloated prices? Do you know what the photographer paid for the photo?

Let us just say he made out like a bandit. Wow. So basically if that photographer shot only 2 weddings a year that would be a pretty nice income for most people. Many photographers have figured this out and created their wedding photography package prices to be high priced and bloated. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this but if you are wondering if these people that paid so much for their wedding photography got better photography coverage at their wedding because they could afford more, you are mistaken. So why did all these people pay so much money for their wedding photography? Were the photos better quality?

Were they on diamond covered photo paper? Did he have a special camera? No, no and no. This “high-end” photographer actually once worked at a regular priced photography studio. He left that studio confident that he could get a high price for his work and began marketing himself in more affluent areas with very classy looking, artsy ads. That was it. He only needed one or two weddings a year to make a good living but what he did do was change his perceived value. Perceived value when it comes to anything is a funny thing. Was his photography so amazing? He was really good as are many photographers but he also wasn’t any better than the art student that came in with photos he took from his cousins wedding. He definitely in my opinion was not worth 50k.

He shot weddings in the same nice attire that all the other photographers shot in, he had the same photography equipment as most of them… so what it comes down to is how he marketed himself and what his perceived value was. Word of mouth among the affluent about this “high-end” photographer allowed him to do very well in his business but behind the scenes, he was laughing all the way to the bank. A good photographer is a good photographer. You can change his/her perceived value around with a twist of marketing and words. The thing is, many photographers are not always great business people. If they were, they would open up their own studios and charge whatever they like. In fact, often inexpensive photographers can be true artists.

They prefer to focus more on their passion of photography & shooting weddings rather than being businessmen & women. This I believe shows in their work. So basically what it boils down to is this; Decide what you are willing to spend on your wedding photography, visit only the studios that are in your wedding budget and then look at a sample wedding of the photographers work. This is the most important part. You have to like the style that you see in the photographers sample work. Look for testimonials and make sure that they promise you a backup photographer if something goes wrong. If you like what you see and the price is right then you can be assured that you are making the correct decision.

Wedding Photographs – How to Choose the Best Style For Your Wedding

Your wedding day is going to be one of the most wonderful days of your life and you will want the best photographer you can find to capture the day for posterity. However, before you approach any photographer with a view to hiring them, it will be helpful if you have an clearer idea of the style of wedding photographs you would like done.

When most people think of wedding photographs, they tend to think of the traditional type of photography where the bride and groom pose for a series planned shots with different members of their family and friends. However, this is only one of the styles you can choose for your wedding photographs and many photographers will specialise in either one or many of these styles.   

So, before you even start thinking about actually booking a wedding photographer, you should try and work out what type of photographic style you would like for your wedding. Having decided that, you will be able to make a more informed decision about which photographer will turn your dreams into a reality.

Traditional or Formal

These are the classic wedding photographs and provide a good record of everyone who is at the wedding. The standard format for these posed photographs is take take them at key parts of the wedding day such as signing the register, leaving the church, cutting the cake etc. There will also be a list of photographs required during the reception e.g. one of the bride and groom, one with each set of parents, one of the whole family, and so on.

Although many people do not like them because they look so posed, they can still look nice and will ensure that all your friends and family are included in the wedding photos.

Candid

This is a much less formal style. Although it may still include some formal photos, it will also allow the photographer to take some candid shots of people at the wedding. With this style, the photographer may stay on and cover the speeches, meal, and even the first dance. This approach is more relaxed and allows the photographer to be more creative in his work. It allows him to catch the personalities, atmosphere, and emotions of the day.     

Reportage or Photojournalism

The photographer, working in the style of a good photo journalist, will aims to tell a picture story of your wedding wedding day.  This is a totally informal approach as none of the photos will be posed. The photographer will work discreetly in the background and hopefully capture the essence and emotions of the day. All the the nerves, tears, happiness, and laughter will be recorded for posterity. It is probably the most realistic representation of any wedding or event.

Romantic

If you want a romantic depiction of your wedding, then this is the style for you. The photographer will use the tricks of his trade such as lighting, backgrounds, soft focus, and even sepia tints, to create  a romantic atmosphere. There will probably be a few doves thrown in for good measure!

Eclectic

Of course, another option is to have a mixture of some or all of these styles in your wedding photos. You could have some formal group shots for your family and relatives, a few romantic ones of the bride and groom, and a selection of candid ones for the rest of the wedding. However, whether you can get this will depend on the photographer you choose.

Regardless of what style you choose, hopefully this article will give you a clearer idea of what wedding photographers can actually provide and what sort of wedding photographs you would like for your wedding.

Have a lovely and stylish wedding!

Wedding Photography Gear: A Check List of Equipment Every Wedding Photographer Needs

Being asked to be a Wedding Photographer is a huge responsibility! Someone has trusted YOU with capturing the memories of what could be the biggest day of their lives!

Have you got the right gear to get the job done?

Gear can be a bit of a sensitive topic and every photographer is different. Some prefer Canon, other prefer Nikon. Some prefer zoom lenses, others prefer prime lenses. And some photographers are just starting out and don’t know what they need. So, I have created this article to give an outline of the gear I take with me to every wedding and that I feel is crucial and could not live without!

Firstly I use Canon gear and ONLY use zoom lenses. A lot of my friends like to use prime lenses and we often have fun battling about the pros and cons of both options, and for me, I’m a zoom lens kind of guy.

The battle of the zoom lens Vs the prime lens

Here are 6 super important reasons why I prefer to use zoom lenses over prime lenses:

1. Firstly, I can shoot 95% of the wedding on just 2 lenses.

2. It saves me from having to shoot using 2 cameras.

3. I feel more prepared with a zoom lens to get ‘the shot’ when it appears in a split second.

4. It gives the look of my images more variety. For example, I can shoot the same subject while quickly zooming in and out, and the two images will look completely different.

5. It’s also just way quicker to use, instead of running in and out, I can simply just zoom in and out (within reason)

6. And my last reason is simply, this is the way I learnt to shoot weddings and just feel way more comfortable using zoom lenses. Again, everyone is different and everyone has their own style, so it’s simply just my preferred way of shooting a wedding

Checklist: 13 MUST-HAVE things for every wedding!

OK, so this bag (LowPro Pro Roller x300 AW) comes with me on every shoot. Check out what’s inside:

1. Canon 5D MK3 (with battery grip)

My trusty workhorse! An absolutely fantastic camera that does everything I need it to do to shoot weddings. There are definitely better camera’s out there, but for what I need it for, and at this price range it is the BEST!

2. Canon 5D MK2 (backup camera body just in case)

This was my old camera before I upgraded to the Canon 5D mk3. The perfect backup camera, which hopefully I will never need to use!

3. Canon 24mm – 70mm f/2.8 (series 2)

The lens I absolutely could not live without and most used in my whole kit. The series 2 is also a big improvement on the series 1, providing noticeably sharper images.

4. Canon 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 IS (series 2)

The second most used lens in my kit and another that I could not live without! This lens comes in two versions, with image stabiliser and a cheaper version without. If I could give one point of advice, it’s DEFINITELY worth forking out for the IS.

5. Canon 100mm macro f/2.8

I mainly use this lens for all my detail shots as the macro lets me get up close and personal with the item and also gives the images a super nice soft drop off. Just be careful to check your images on the back of the camera to make sure the thing that you want to have in focus, is actually in focus. If you miss by a millimetre, your whole shot will be ruined!

6. Canon 17mm – 40mm f/4

This is a great lens that I use to get a lot of my ‘epic’ shots. The wide angle is amazing and can give you some really dramatic shots. Also great when you’re shooting in a crowd after the ceremony and on the D-floor in the reception. Personally I couldn’t justify the additional $1500 for the 16mm – 35mm f/2.8

7. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash

I just upgraded from the 580ex and basically can’t tell the difference. I’m sure there are more and better features, but I just use it on ETTL and bounce the light around. Works perfectly, as did the 580ex.

8. Spare camera batteries

Always bring spare batteries with you to every wedding! Luckily I have never needed to use them yet as I always charge my batteries the night before, but still for the peace of mind it worth having.

9. Canon battery charger

Also have never needed to use this on a wedding yet as everything is already charged, but it’s nice to have just in case you need to do some emergency charging. Remember with the battery grip you can charge one battery while still being able to shoot with the other in your grip.

10. Spare AA batteries and charger for Speedlite flash

Now these are probably more important than the spare camera batteries. I find I’m way more likely to run out of flash power, especially on some of the longer days, so a spare set of fully charged AA’s is a must!

11. Card folder with 1x 8gig, 2x 16gig and 1x 32gig sandisk memory cards

To be honest I should actually have 1 more card in my kit. I find it is best to have 1 card for every different section of the day, groom coverage, bride coverage, ceremony, locations and reception. That way if worst case scenario you end up with a corrupt card, you have only lost a section of the day, not the WHOLE day!!

12. Little baggie with lens cloth and elinchrom flash trigger inside

I find it just nice to have a little bag to put random little stuff in.

13. Business cards!!

Always thinking about marketing, so give out your business cards!!

Stuff I take to give my images that extra punch!

So apart from everything that is in my camera bag, a few extra bits and pieces make it on the list as well! These things are not crucial but I still like to take them to every wedding so I can use them if I want to.

1. Elinchrom Quadra – An amazing 400 watt portable studio flash unit that’s totally easy to use and transport. It also allows me to take some of the photos you see below. This flash has helped me define my ‘style’ as a wedding photography and I use it at almost every wedding. Remember, I don’t use assistants or second shooters on a wedding, but still easily manage use this flash without any headaches. Here is a link to the Elinchrom Quadra official site if you want to read more about it.

2. Dido Video Light – A super awesome warm light that I use almost at every wedding to create really moody shots. I use the light generally during the morning coverage at the grooms house and brides house, sometimes at receptions to get a bit of flare during the dancing, and if we go to any bars or clubs on locations. Works a treat!! Check out the effect below.

3. My trusty little step ladder! I use this 95% of the time for the group photo of all the guests after the wedding ceremony. A bit of a hassle to carry and travel with as it takes up a decent amount of room in the car, but a must have piece of equipment if you’re doing group photos. Without it you might be stuck standing on a chair, which doesn’t give you the height you need, or looking for a tree to climb.

4. Lastly, not exactly something you need to bring with you, but something worth preparing, always have enough petrol in the car to get you through the day.

Thanks so much for reading!

Thanks so much for reading my post about wedding photography gear, a detailed MUST-HAVE checklist of everything you need to take to every wedding!!