Why do professional photographers charge so much?

Why do professional photographers charge so much?

Money

That’s a fair, common,  and perfectly valid question to ask. A good analogy might be to ask “why is there such a big difference in the price of new cars?”.  The analogy, when you stop to think about it,  isn’t ridiculous at all!

The function of a car is to transport you from point A to point B.  Both the economy model and the luxury model are perfectly capable of providing that function.  The luxury vehicle, however, may have options and features which may not be available on the economy vehicle.  The luxury vehicle will probably have more visual appeal to the buyer, have a better ride, handle better, have more bells and whistles, and will hold it’s value longer than the economy vehicle. One expects the luxury vehicle to have higher quality and visual appeal than the economy vehicle.

Likewise, there is a difference in the images that a photographer provides to you.  A professional photographer uses professional tools (cameras and lenses) to capture images and to skillfully process those images into a beautiful product.  A photographer who is charging minimal rates is not providing the same quality as a photographer who is using professional equipment, and is taking the time to properly edit and process your photos. Most professional photographers will spend a large portion of time (after the photos are taken) uploading the photos, selecting the photos, editing the photos, and exporting the photos to a proofing site.  Typically there are thousands of photos taken at a wedding and because the wedding is moving along so rapidly, it is necessary to take a lot of photos in order to capture “the moment”.  This is a time consuming process!  A professional photographer will edit/select photos for proper composition, cropping, color adjustment, saturation, sharpness, lighting, and noise reduction.

A budget photographer is unlikely to spend a large amount of time on the editing process and will only do very basic and minimal editing.

wedding photographer

It’s pretty easy to discern between beautiful images and mediocre images.  A professional photographer will take images which and are well composed and utilize available light effectively.  It’s easy to see the difference between a well composed image, and a photograph that is not well composed or is not well executed.  While it is not difficult to see the difference in quality in photos, it is more difficult to place a value on the images that will be taken for your wedding.  There is only one opportunity to take beautiful images which will withstand the test of time.

Did you Know?

  • A professional photographer will have at least two camera bodies when photographing your wedding.  Typically a professional grade camera will be in excess of $3,000 per camera.
  • A professional photographer will have at least six professional “fast” lenses in their arsenal.  A fast lens is a lens which is required to be used in low light situations.  Typically these lenses cost $1,000 or more.  A professional will have a macro lens, a zoom lens, and several “prime” (non zoom) lenses
  • A professional photographer will not utilize on camera flash (and certainly NOT popup flash) unless it is absolutely necessary.  A professional photographer will use off camera flash whenever possible.  When off camera flash is not possible, a professional photographer will not aim the camera flash directly at their subject but will bounce the flash from another reflective surface.
  • A professional photographer will spend more time processing your photos than it took to actually take the photos.
  • A professional photographer will routinely hone their skills by attending workshops and seminars.

Summary

All photographers are not created equal.  A professional photographer will use professional grade cameras and lenses and will spend a significant amount of time perfecting (editing) the images that are taken at your wedding.  Not every client can afford the rates that a professional photographer charges, but be aware that you may be making a compromise on the final product that is provided to you.  Shop carefully, and compare not only on price, but on the “quality” of the images.  Ultimately you will need to decide where you fall on the “price versus quality” curve.

Posted in Wedding Photography Pricing

East Lansing Art Fair 2014

The East Lansing Art Fair officially starts the beginning of the outdoor photography season for me. After being cooped up most of the winter (and this winter was a LONG winter) it’s fun to get out and take some photographs of people enjoying the weather, art, and themselves.

I decided to take my 50 mm 1.2 lens with me. There is nothing like a prime lens for sharpness, even though it is less convenient than using a zoom.

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Posted in Event Photography, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , |

A beautiful English Inn Wedding, by John Douglas, a Michigan photographer

Every wedding I have photographed is unique, taking on its own personality, its own pace, its own vibe.

A recent wedding I photographed at the English Inn, in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, was the first time I photographed a morning wedding. Although the English Inn is a perfect place for a wedding, I have to admit that I was concerned about the lighting, generally weddings in mid-day sun can be problematic with harsh light and shadows to content with. The photos taken turned out perfect, even the photos taken in direct sun. The wedding dress beautifully reflected light in the brides face and provided vibrant colors.

This was a wedding which every photographer loves shooting; a beautiful day, a beautiful venue, a beautiful couple, and energetic sand fun family/friends to be with.

Thank you Jordan and Ryan.

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Posted in Beautiful Wedding Venues, Lansing Photography, Wedding Photography Tagged , , , , , , |