With the popularity of the DSLR and the influx of camera owners to an already-saturated market, it seems everyone is a photographer these days. If you you’re shopping for a wedding photographer, please allow me to rebut a few misconceptions about wedding photography. I’d like to try and clear up a few things that some people assume. Below, I’ve outlined and explained the five top misconceptions about wedding photography that I encounter.
- Wedding photographers make up prices and charge way too much. I know I have painstakingly looked at my dedication, experience, workflow, equipment, software, training, and education and used actual mathematical formulas to set the prices of my collections. I have networked with other professional photographers to ensure my prices are inline and fair. If you feel your prospective wedding photographer is pulling numbers out of thin air, ask them to substantiate their costs. If they’ve used logic to arrive at their numbers, they shouldn’t have any problem sharing that with you. [Side Bar: I cringe when I hear of a photographer charging a few hundred dollars for multiple hours of wedding coverage. On average, for each hour I spend shooting, I will spend another four to six hours downloading, culling, editing, exporting, uploading, designing, and blogging. There are also all kinds of administrative tasks and marketing goals that need to be met. If someone is charging $250 for a four-hour wedding, they are grossing $10.41 per hour. Uncle Sam will expect $75 and the State of Texas will expect $20.62, so the $250 wedding photographer is left with about $6.43/hour which will also be used to pay for the business expenses (equipment, insurance, all marketing collateral, business cards, web site and hosting, packaging) before paying themselves. They end up making much less than minimum wage—oftentimes working for FREE—because they have either made up numbers or tried to undercut other photographers.]
- You need the RAW images. If you’re unsure what a RAW file is, you probably don’t need it. Basically, it is a series of complex information your camera stores when it records an image. Until it is converted into a flat piece of information (ie. jpeg), it is much easier to manipulate that information to alter or improve the appearance of the final image. Only certain softwares are capable of viewing and working with RAW files. RAW files tend to be very large. For example, the RAW files recorded by my camera, range between 21 and 22 MB. For comparison, the jpeg I export for printing usually varies between 1 and 8 MBs. Where it will be printed determines the final size of jpeg. I keep a backup of each and every RAW file andjpeg image I create. I have a revved up computer processor so that I can work with these huge files and I have huge Terabyte drives to store these images and back them up. As a visual, having access to a RAW file would be the same is having access to da Vinci’s paint samples and brushes. Unless you’re a bona fide painter, they’ll do you no good.
- It’s all about the camera. The best camera will not automatically produce the best images. A $4000 camera is useless in the hands of someone who doesn’t have adequate photography experience or knowledge. In general, it is impossible to produce stellar work simply by placing the camera on A and cutting loose. Spraying and praying is not an option when a client is paying you to capture a special moment. While a pro camera and lenses are capable of producing better images, it’s ultimately the photographer who is responsible for the outcome. Photography is a skill in which one never ceases learning.
- Uncle Bob can do a fine job because he has a nice camera. In addition to #3 above, there is a whole slew of other skills required to produce professional-quality wedding images. A professional wedding photographer should have a good understanding of lighting, composition, posing, timing, in addition to having pro equipment. An experienced wedding photographer will know how to solve unexpected problems and deal with them in a professional manner. They will also be able to face each moment of the day with forethought. Simply put, they just won’t be reacting to the day as it unfolds.
- You need to provide a list of shots to your photographer. You do not need to provide your wedding photographer with a list of 148 images you would like captured on your wedding day. Most likely, a detailed shot list is overkill and will wind up causing undue stress for the photographer who is constantly worrying if they’ve covered the requested shots. If you’ve taken the time to research your wedding photographer’s portfolio and collections of an entire day’s coverage (before you’ve hired them), then you should already be familiar with the shots you will receive. This usually hampers their creativity and neither the bride nor photographer is happy with the work. Generally, I ask my brides for the top five images they want captured on their special days and work from that. My brides know in advance that most of their day is covered in a documentary+editorial style. I make sure they’ve seen examples of my work and are very familiar with my photographic voice.
I hope I have debunked a few myths about wedding photography and have helped you understand more about professional wedding photography. Until next time, be positive, happy, and healthy, and don’t forget to be photographed.
**The images contained in this post were shot under the direction and for assignment of Rhobyn’s Nest Photography, LLC. The images are copyrighted by Rhobyn’s Nest Photography, LLC, but are used herein with permission.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding and senior photographer who started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. As one of the up-and-coming San Antonio wedding photographers, I am also available to shoot in Austin, Houston and Dallas and the surrounding areas. I am also available for destination weddings worldwide. Ata-Girl Photography Co. offers an amazing wedding photography service that you won’t soon forget. As a professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide you the absolute best photography experience.
I am a professional photographer who enjoys documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I enjoy watching my daughter play softball, hiking, cycling, reading, and listening to Elvis!
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