10 Huge Misconceptions About Wedding Photographers
Wedding Photographers Saratoga Springs NY
By Jeffrey House Photography
The second a wedding photographer hears the word "wedding," their prices immediately skyrocket!
This statement - this belief - couldn't be further from the truth. As wedding photographers in Saratoga Springs, NY, we understand people will have negative thoughts when it comes to wedding photography. In this article we are going take a look at 10 huge misconceptions people have when it comes to wedding photographers.
This post comes with a warning.
It's not meant to be harsh or sound defensive, but we aren't going to tip toe around the truth. We are going to take a brutally honest and genuine look at these misguided beliefs. Are you ready to dive in? Good, let's do this!
1. a cheap photographer or friend can photograph my wedding
They sure can, especially if you love photos that suck.
Does every "cheap" photographer suck? Absolutely not. There are some really great photographers out there creating beautiful wedding photos for cheap prices. This doesn't mean everyone else is ripping you off. These great cheap photographers might be retired or they have full-time jobs, and they photograph weddings for their own personal enjoyment. Photographers like this can charge cheap prices because they aren't running a business. There's a big difference between wedding photography and the business of wedding photography.
If you're able to find a cheap photographer like this, that's great! But, in most cases, hiring a cheap photographer will get you burned. There are lots of reasons why photographers are cheap and none of them are good for you.
What about hiring a friend or family member? If, for even one second, you're considering hiring a friend or family member to photograph your wedding because "they love photography" or "they just got a really nice camera" - stop! Unless they have actual experience photographing wedding, I promise you it will be a complete disaster!
2. i have to hire the most expensive photographer to get the best photos
Subscribing to this belief can be very tempting. I will be the first to tell you that, generally, we get what we pay for - especially these days. However, with that being said, it's also important to keep in mind that some businesses prey on your emotions by using excessively high pricing strategies.
What do I mean?
It's human nature. We have all been trained to believe the most expensive item is the best. When you see expensive items, you think to yourself, "I got to have it." You may not even be aware you're experiencing these thoughts, but let me ask you this. Have you ever gone shopping and said, "Leave it to me, no matter what I'm looking for, I always find the most expensive one" or "I have expensive taste."
Some of you might be thinking - yes, I've had that happen, but I've picked out the most expensive item without even knowing the price. I get it, I've done that too, but the next thing you do is look at the price. What do you think happens when you realize how expensive it is? You automatically assume it's high-quality. Being the most expensive often has very little to do with quality - it's a marketing ploy to create the illusion of being the best.
3. wedding photographers have it easy - they just take pictures all day
Wedding photography is not about pictures. It's about people. A wedding day is not just about the couple getting married. It's also about their people in their wedding party, their families, and their wedding guests. It's our job to make everyone feel comfortable and special regardless of the situation.
Let me share just a few examples with you.
One of the most difficult aspects of being a wedding photographer is something most people would never even think to consider. Most weddings, for one reason or another, run late. When this happens, everyone turns to the wedding photographer to fix it by reducing the time allotted for photos. The hour session you had planned has just been cut down to 15 minutes, but you're still expected to create amazing photographs that couples will cherish forever. Talk about pressure - how easy does that sound?
A wedding is a great event and everyone wants to enjoy the celebration, but how easy do you think it is capturing those treasured wedding party photos when many of them are intoxicated? As a professional wedding photographer, you have to understand when and how to take charge without being perceived as rude. We've all, at some point, have tried to reason with someone who is intoxicated. It's pretty frustrating and difficult. Now, imagine trying to do this with a group of people and you only have a few minutes to pull it all together.
It might appear like the wedding photographer is just pointing their camera at something or someone and snapping away, but every photo being captured has a purpose. The lighting and composition of every photo is meant to bring the viewers attention to a specific part of the image, create a specific feeling, and communicate a compelling story. Wedding photographers make thousands and thousands of decisions every wedding, and it's mentally draining.
I could literally dedicate an entire book to the difficulties of wedding photography. You might even be wondering - why do you do it then? These challenges are a big reason why many wedding photographers love what they do. It forces them to look deep inside themselves and create something magical out of nothing.
4. wedding photographers work 8 hours and make thousands of dollars
This is definitely one of the more common misconceptions. When I hear this one, I always ask one simple question.
Would you work a 40 hour work week and accept being paid for 8 hours?
Generally, a wedding photographer will invest 40 hours of their time on an 8 hour wedding. This includes photographing the wedding, editing the photos, client meetings/consultations, client emails/phone calls, charging and preparing equipment, saving/archiving the images from your wedding, ordering products, preparing and delivering the final products.
On average, couples spend around $2,800 on their wedding photography. Many people look at that and think - $2,800 / 8 hours = $70 per hour. Who wouldn't love to make $70 per hour?
But, then there's reality. Just because a wedding photographer charges $3,000, it doesn't mean they are making $3,000. A lot of wedding photographers go out of business within a year or two because they can't grasp this concept. Wedding photographers, like any other business, has to account for their expenses - taxes, insurance, advertising/marketing, web site fees, association fees, camera equipment (updated equipment & repairs), computers, editing software, business costs (phone, heat, electricity, office supplies, etc.), car payments, mortgage payments, etc. The average wedding photographer, after accounting for expenses, brings home a whopping $28,000 per year.
I assure you, wedding photographers aren't getting rich or ripping you off. We are wedding photographers because we love helping people, we love creating, and we love running our own businesses and being our own bosses.
5. i hate posing and don't want posed photographs
Unless you're a highly-experienced model, you need posing. But, let's be clear - when we use the word "pose," we aren't talking about photos that look like this.
We are referring to photos that are creative, natural, and genuine.
If you really want to see why you need posing, point your camera at somebody and take notice of what they do. Most likely, the stood perfectly straight and rigid with their feet together, hands down at their sides, and they gave you their best deer in headlights look.
This next photo is from a book called "Picture Perfect Posing" and it's written by one of my favorite photographers - Roberto Valenzuela. This is what most people look like without posing direction.
But, with a few simple changes, you can look like this.
It's like the word "pose" has become the latest virus. Unfortunately, many photographers fear posing and they admit it's the part of photography that gives them the most issues. They try to memorize poses they see online, but find when they get in the heat of the battle photographing a wedding, they can't re-create them.
Great posing will produce flattering images that make you look beautiful!
6. i want candid photos
While it might seem like the couple frolicking in the field is a candid moment, it's really not. This is the work of a great photographer that understands the exact posing direction they need to give their client to create a candid looking moment. Take the following image - it certainly appears to be a candid moment in a winter wonderland, but there was guidance prior to it unfolding. It's not fake. I like to describe like this - it's not about staging the moment, it's about setting the stage for the moment to happen.
That being said, candid images are a big part of your wedding celebration, but you generally will witness these genuine moments during the ceremony for example. Neither you or your partner is focused on the camera. It's the way you look at them as they recite their wedding vows. It's doesn't matter if you're perfectly posed because these photos is all about capturing the emotion. The moment itself takes priority over everything else.
7. i need a natural light photographer
Photographers that say, "I don't use flash, I'm a natural light photographer" are really saying - "I suck at flash and don't know how to use it."
There are certainly times when using natural light is perfect for a situation. It can be create very soft and beautiful lighting. However, there are also plenty of times when you don't want natural light at all. There's always one key concept to keep in mind when it come to lighting - It's not quantity of light, it's the quality of light that's important. For instance, you might think a beautiful sunny day at noon is the ideal time to take photos. There's definitely plenty of light, but the quality of the light is horrible. Direct overhead sun creates very harsh shadows on peoples faces which are very unpleasing in photos. Also, the sun reflects off surfaces like grass, flowers, etc. and this can cause unwanted color casts on your skin.
In many cases, the use of flash will allow us to create images in situations that are unfavorable. For example, we often use flash as a "fill." The flash power is turned way down, but it subtly fills the shadow areas on the face and creates a very pleasing portrait. Professional photographers need to be highly-skilled in using both natural light and flash photography.
Here's a great example of the harsh shadows that can be created by the sun.
But, by adding a little "fill flash" to an image, we can make the lighting appear much softer and natural.
8. i photographer that takes good pictures will be perfect for my wedding
Imagine the sound of a big buzzer going off - the kind you hear on a game show when someone gives a wrong answer.
You should choose a photographer based on how much you like their personality!
Let me explain.
When it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, there are a few aspects that are a must. You must like their work, they must have experience photographing weddings, they must have equipment capable of handling the demands of wedding photography, they must work with a contract, etc. Assuming these pieces are all in place, the single most important detail to consider is their personality.
You will spend 95% of your wedding day by your photographer's side and your relationship with your photographer will likely span 15-24 months from beginning to end. If they don't make you feel comfortable or you find their personality annoying, it's not going to be a good experience. Not only will it create additional stress for you, but this animosity will reveal itself in your photos.
The same holds true of great relationship too. If you love your photographer's personality, your'e going to be much more engaged in the process - you're going to trust them and feel comfortable being around them. This will let your true emotions flow and you're photos are going to highlight these amazing feelings.
Imagine having a personal conversation with a close friend as opposed to a complete stranger. Which one are you likely to share the intimate details of your life? Even your body language would different as you converse with a close friend compared to a stranger.
9. i have to give my photographer a packet of my favorite pinterest photos for the to re-create
This is one of the worst ideas ever and every photographer hates this.
You've probably invested a fair amount of time looking through your photographer's portfolio to make sure you like their work. Now, you're asking them to re-create the photos created by another photographer. There are 2 reasons this idea is bad.
1. Many of the photos you see on Pinterest are not from real weddings. They might lead you to believe this, but they were actually created using models, extravagant lighting set-ups, and the ideal location. By the time all of these details came together, they spent 1-2 hours creating a single image. Unfortunately, weddings don't afford this luxury.
2. If you want to hire a photographer to re-create the work of another photographer, then hire that photographer. Trust me, you'll be much happier in the end.
Pinterest is great when used for inspiration, not re-creation. Trust the photographer you've hired and let them use their experience and imagination to deliver you original and amazing wedding photos.
10. a good photographer and a good wedding photographer are the same
Wedding photography is often regarded as the most challenging and difficult genre of photography. It's high-pressure, high-stress, and high-stakes. A wedding is filled with once-in-a-lifetime moments and wedding photographers get one chance to capture each moment. If you miss an important moment, good luck explaining to the bride why she won't have those photos.
Wedding photographers are expected to create dynamic, interesting, and artistic photographs that couples can cherish for the next 50-60 years. Often times, these lifelong keepsakes are created in a matter of minutes.
Wedding photographers must be excellent with technical aspects to understand and successfully overcome changing conditions - lighting, weather, timelines, etc. And unlike other genres of photography, wedding photographers have to be amazing in different forms of photography - portraiture, products (dresses, rings, cakes, etc.), fast action (dancing), low-light, and storytelling.
There are many photographers out there getting published in magazines and being treated like Gods of photography because they capture amazing photos of the "details" (wedding dresses, rings, etc); however, these same photographers can't take a portrait to save their life.
One of the biggest responsibilities a photographer has is to be friendly and personable. Much of a wedding day is spent interacting and engaging with people, and most people hate having their photo taken. It's our job to make people feel at ease in a matter of seconds and capture a flattering portrait. Great wedding photographers have great personalities. They are excellent multi-taskers, and more importantly, they are great problem-solvers.
did you have any of these misconceptions before reading this article? do you have any that we didn't talk about? share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you!