I Should Have Spent More Money on my Wedding Photography

I’ve seen a couple ladies talking about wedding photography online and one of the most common questions I see is “Why is wedding photography so expensive?” or something related to trying to find a good photographer at a reasonable price. After seeing these and other comments, I thought I’d lend some perspective as a bride who didn’t understand to value until AFTER my wedding was over. (The following story is from a bride I interviewed lately. Her identity will remain anonymous.)

I wish I'd spent more money on my photography

We spent $800 on our engagement and wedding photography. Our photographer was wonderfully kind and accommodating. He took tons of photos and delivered them pretty quickly after our wedding. However, seven years later, I really wish my photos were better. I wish I would have hired someone who was experienced enough to tell me when the best time/locations were to shoot instead of just going along with what I asked. I wish I would have spent more money and hired someone who could shoot in a way that would make my wedding look timeless and magazine worthy. Someone who would have given me guidance and provided prints and albums so I wouldn’t have to figure it all out on my own.

In retrospect, I realize that wedding photography is too valuable to entrust to an amateur.

 After the wedding day is over, there's no going back! Be sure to hire the best professionals you can and avoid the cheapest options available (unless you want to risk your precious memories).

A professional will put many safeguards in place to protect you and your images (insurance, file storage, renting extra equipment, hiring an assistant, contracts, etc). Many times the price is higher for photographers that provide prints, albums and an archive of your images. They digitally and/or physically preserve your photos. These photographers tend to lavish their clients with gifts and surprises to make their experience even more memorable. In other words, a portion of the money you put towards your wedding photography is re-invested into your experience.

Think about it this way. Coffee drinkers who buy $4 lattes daily spend about $1400 on coffee a year. We spend $20-50k on our cars not including gas and maintenance. Coffee only lasts an hour. Cars last 15 maybe 20 years and that’s pushing it. Great wedding photography is only a small fraction the cost of a car but will literally last forever. These photos will become precious family heirlooms that your children’s children’s children will enjoy. Longevity aside, think about what these photos will mean to you in the future. Right now they may simply be a way to document your day but in 10 years, as our loved ones grow up and some pass away, these memories will become irreplaceable. When the day is over and done, all you will have left are the memories and media. That’s why video and photography is so important.

Wedding photography isn’t expensive, it’s valuable.

Sadly, there is no way we can go back in time and get better photos of our wedding day. Sure we can stage some photos now if we put on our wedding attire again but there’s no way to get the people who were there back together; no way to re-create the joy, excitement and love that we felt that day. But I can help other brides and grooms avoid making the same mistakes we made. My experiences inspired me to become a wedding photographer. I want you to have photos that make you say ‘wow, that was one of the best nights of our lives’. I want you to feel the same level of love and endearment 30 years later when you’re showing off your album to family and friends.

Gernelle NelsonComment