Wedding Photography is a big money waster..?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by rick_shanahan, May 15, 2009.

  1. So says Yahoo...
    http://food.yahoo.com/blog/foxyfestivities/19773/the-big-wedding-money-wasters
    Have you guys seen this?? I disagree completely. I feel the photography is the one place you should never skimp.
     
  2. This is not news. How to cut expenses on every aspect of weddings has been around for a long time. I'm sure all the other vendors have something to say about the consequences of these recommendations too.
    More reason to put more effort into educating prospects and clients.
    Even so, we photographers have to remember that some people do not value wedding photography the same way.
     
  3. Great cost cutting ideas! I got the best one! Elope, save everyone money. Better than that , don't get married and save a fortune. I noticed that they did not include the clergy in their savings ideas. To each, his own!
     
  4. On Martha Stewarts radio show two of her co-hosts did the same thing, except they spent an hour telling brides how stupid it is to hire a photographer when there are students that will do it for free. My blood boils, but you have to consider that the couples that take this advice are not the couples that yopu want hiring you anyway. The more educated mature couples no where to spend the money and they know what's important. Also they normally dont have 18 bridesmaids and groomsmen and 500 guests that suck up everything from their wallets.
     
  5. To each their own I say.
    If they want to skimp so much on the photographers, more power to them. chances are that they are not the kind of clients that would be hiring us in the first place.
    Let them hire the uncle bob's from craigslist. Just don't come crying when those popup flash shots make you look like you just woke up.
     
  6. Actually, I thought it was good advice.
    They're not saying don't bother with photography. They're saying find someone who can work within your budget, and suggesting art schools as a source of skilled and cost-effective services, or finding a skilled amateur. No mention of unskilled people, or Uncle Bob or random GWC.
     
  7. "A better alternative is to hire a friend who is really good with a camera (there are many great amateurs these days). Or call a local art school and hire a student photographer or go on CraigsList where you can often find more affordable prices."


    And be guaranteed crappy pictures in all likelihood.


    $2K on flowers is dumb if you ask me! $2K on photos are memories which last a lifetime.
     
  8. "A better alternative is to hire a friend who is really good with a camera (there are many great amateurs these days). Or call a local art school and hire a student photographer or go on CraigsList where you can often find more affordable prices." You might get lucky with this advice once in awhile if old Uncle Bob or the art student can stay focused and sober for four hours.
     
  9. Capturing memorable images at all phases of a couple's wedding day is one of the toughest challenges a photographer can underdake.
    Any couple hiring a photographer who cannot show them great coverage they did of previous weddings is really rolling the dice.
     
  10. What a ridiculous notion! Sure, scrimping on Photography will save you a buck....and probably have you kicking yourself later.
     
  11. Neil, The problem I have is that those of us who have put their time in, gone to school, have life experience, offer professionalism etc etc etc.... Cannot pay their bills because the work is going to NON professionals who do not have the overhead that we have. Have you dealt with any college age art students lately??? I have. Its just wrong!
     
  12. Also many pro's are willing to work with budgets during these times. The couples should be educated to know that they should "just ask" the pro if he or she are willing to work with their budget. Personally I would rather take a cut in pay than no pay.
     
  13. Unfortunately, there are also photographer impersonators with a website and a pricelist offerring wedding coverage that are nothing more than "a friend who is really good with a camera....."
     
  14. That is the great thing about this business. There are photographers priced from next-to-nothing up to $20,000 (just to show up).......and there are brides looking for both.....and everything in between. This is a business where there is really something for everyone no matter what you are looking for. I love this business
     
  15. "A better alternative is to hire a friend who is really good with a camera (there are many great amateurs these days). Or call a local art school and hire a student photographer or go on CraigsList where you can often find more affordable prices."
    I agree with this comment. Why not? If that is all the couple can afford, i.e. if they are on a very tight budget and can afford $350, then rather get someone for $350 who is likely to have a level of skill above the average uncle Bob.
    The responses in this post, i.e. by wedding photographers and those with an interest in the topic, is so predictable. Obviously most of you are going to try to defend wedding photography. But lets face it, the world's economy is in the bog. People need to save money and like it or not, that is exactly what they are doing! Photography is near the top of the money saving list, like it or not!
     
  16. Everyone I know has a single wedding photo hanging on their wall. I've never seen their wedding album nor do I care to. That one portrait could have been taken for under $100 so why bother spending $3000 on a pro wedding photographer? Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. I know two people who got divorced and they both threw their wedding albums in the trash.
    I'm sure some people love their wedding photos and others don't care that much. Everyone has a different idea of what is valuable to them.
     
  17. Hey! Please stop referring to "uncle Bob" - my name's Bob and I am an uncle too! The last wedding I did was for a nephew too! So I was the real "uncle Bob" taking photos!

    Just kidding!

    I did part time weddings for about 25 years, while working at another full time job. Never looked for business, mostly came from referrals of past clients, fellow workers, friends, acquaintances, etc. I always thought my relatively low cost offering was an alternative for people who couldn't or wouldn't afford a pro. I always had samples of previous efforts, so potential clients saw what I could do - basic coverage, nothing really fancy, but it seemed to suit their needs.

    I finally got tired of having many summer weekends tied up with weddings, and gave it up. There were several places in our city that were popular for wedding photography, and many times I was shooting there, other photogs would be doing the same, mostly all like me with 35mm gear. So there seemed to be a fair amount of people offering what I was doing.
     
  18. "That one portrait could have been taken for under $100 so why bother spending $3000 on a pro wedding photographer? Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. I know two people who got divorced and they both threw their wedding albums in the trash." - Walt
    Weddings and funerals are often the only time that the whole family is in one place so there's frequently an opportunity for priceless family groups and three (sometimes four) generation images. Shooting fun family groups at funerals tends to be quite a challenge and most of the time the images will be one person short. Course, you still don't need to spend three Gs for the photography.
     
  19. It's all about value for money. Once you get to the 5-6K range you get very good photos (normally). So when the rates go higher from there the quality difference would be very small. So a 12K wedding photographer is not going to be twice as good as a 6K guy.
     
  20. I have the agree with the advice given on yahoo. I also think that any bride searching out that kind of information will also find the "Why NOT to skimp on your wedding photography" article. They are all over the internet.
    There are also LOTS of articles about how to make an educated choice about your photographer, even if you include some uncle bobs in your line up. Things like making sure they've done a wedding before, asking them if they offer a photo session up front for free so you can see how they work, how they will photograph you, the quality of there work...before you pay them.
    Wedding Photography is a profession I would like to get into, and of course if no ones hiring there won't be anything for me to get into. But at this point I'd be considered an "uncle bob" whos in art school lol. Everyone has to start some where, and for the couples that are spending the amount of a wedding photographer as there whole wedding budget ... (I see a lot whole wedding under $1000). Uncle bob might be better than nothing at all to them.
    I also disagree with the statements that these couples are not the couples you would want to hire anyway. I've met some really awesome couples, who would have loved to hire some of the pro photographers in my area. I've actually sat down with some that i know that I am not there first choice, because they tell or show me photographers they wish they could afford.
    my 2 cents...
     
  21. Btw memories are very special, so even a badly taken photo of a memorable momemt will be a treasured object for many couples. So before you say that someone shooting with a D40 with direct on-camera flash will give the bride and groom nightmares for years, the fact remains that the couple will look at the photos and think about the moment and not about how technically good the photos are.
     
  22. >> I also disagree with the statements that these couples are not the couples you would want to hire anyway. <<
    Well, from a business angle that is true. If you want to charge 20K for a wedding, you need to target people who'd pay 90K for a 7-series fully equipped BMW. Not the 25K Toyota owners :)
     
  23. Everyone values everything differently. I know some people who own BMWs for $60K. My car cost $25K. These same people buy a camera for $300 and think I'm crazy for spending $5000 on "just a lens." Some people think good wedding photos are important, others could care less.
     
  24. $2K on flowers is dumb if you ask me! $2K on photos are memories which last a lifetime.​
    I wouldn't spend that much on either flowers or photography. Actually, I wouldn't spend that on a whole wedding!
     
  25. Have you dealt with any college age art students lately??? I have. Its just wrong!
    I guess I'm one of the few college photo students who don't fancy myself a "professional wedding photographer"- and with good reason. I've seen their work. For that level of stress, I won't do it. Had offers, but always declined.
    ...but you're only going to wear the dress once? That's ludicrous.
     
  26. Photographers
    You can hire a budget photographer for under $1000...​
    ...And end up on Judge Judy suing over crappy pictures
     
  27. Shooting fun family groups at funerals tends to be quite a challenge and most of the time the images will be one person short.​
    Thank you for this gem... you've made my day!
     
  28. Well Whatever you do DONT hire Ringo Taylhardat for anything.. He is in the Vancouver area right now . He also goes by Albert Taglhand. He is a Fraudster. His last front was called Vidaphoto. Turns out there was no business license no CRA registration and No Product. He has at leat 6 judgements against him and has ripped off at least 25 couple for the wedding pictures and thats only the ones I know of.. BEWARE. I am sure he will pop up again under a different name.
     
  29. Thanks for mentioning it Alec, I'm glad someone was listening..........
     
  30. I went to a wedding over 20 years ago where there was no photographer. Every table had several cheap, disposable, single use cameras. The guests had orders to fire at will. It's like the old story about giving a million monkeys a typewriter in the hopes that one of them will write something. In the final album, about 1/3 of the shots were mine.
    Then 3 years ago, the daughter of my mother's friends was getting married in Las Vegas, and we thought the couple had not hired a photographer. ( It turned out they did. ) So I agreed to shoot the wedding for free. ( I'm sure that will make me popular on this forum. )
     
  31. I just did a friends wedding for $300. I guess I'm the "friend who is good with a camera". I told the couple I am not a professional and have never shot a wedding before. They insisted I do it anyway. At least I have semi-pro gear and put a lot of thought and preparation into it. Did my work rival a seasoned pro's? Of course not, but the results were very good, the couple was ecstatic and I got paid for doing something I love. Everybody was happy in this case. I hardly think they'll be sueing me for bad pictures.
     
  32. When trying to discern how much to spend on photography, one must consider the following:
    If your house was burning down and you had only enough time to grab one thing, one thing that you cannot replace, what would it be?
    I can tell you that for me, it's the photographs....
     
  33. The problem I have is that those of us who have put their time in, gone to school, have life experience, offer professionalism etc etc etc.... Cannot pay their bills because the work is going to NON professionals who do not have the overhead that we have...​
    Sure, but people who want very low budget photography are unlikely to be representative of most people's client base. At least, they're not representative of mine. I don't think anyone is losing work to students except at the very low end. Most people are competing with other photographers at price points near their own - right across the range. So the $15,000 photographer is competing with the $10,000 photographer; the $5,000 with the $3,000. The only person competing with Uncle Bob is the $500 photographer, no?
     
  34. "Neil, The problem I have is that those of us who have put their time in, gone to school, have life experience, offer professionalism etc etc etc.... Cannot pay their bills because the work is going to NON professionals who do not have the overhead that we have. Have you dealt with any college age art students lately??? I have. Its just wrong"
    Dolly, unfortunately for you, excellent wedding photography has no real prerequisites in terms of having "gone to school". You may feel it should be so because you have done that, but it is a relatively low skill "profession" and that is exactly why there are so many newcomers who are able to give it a shot. Some of these newcomers are damn good, and I bet in certain cases better than someone who has spent years studying photography.
    You spent years studing photography, I spent years studying electronic engineering. With a bit of dedication in my private time I developed a sufficient level of skill to shoot weddings (with very happy customers). I doubt with a little bit of dedication you could even contemplate engineering. I am saying this to drive home the point that their are really no academic prerequisites and that is something people must accept. A very good point made above is that seasoned Pro's charging thousands probably don't have to be concerned about newcomers charging hundreds as they are not competing. But in these economic times the newcomers are taking business away from those charging low thousands. Fact.
     
  35. >> But in these economic times the newcomers are taking business away from those charging low thousands. Fact. <<
    Won't these low 1000s photographers be taking business away from the high 1000s photographers then? And similarly all the way to the top till the only people who are affected are those that charge the highest bracket of fees :)
     
  36. I read the article. Photography was way down the list as a place to save money. They suggest savings on the invitations, the dress, the dinner, the cake and band. (as well as some others)
    The are suggesting savings everywhere. One could just skip the whole thing and elope.
     
  37. We all see things from our own perspective.
    The responses here line up roughly along the lines of "people are crazy to skimp" or "Everyone has to cut back".
    What no one has really mentioned is that the wedding day is, for many brides, a way to show off to their friends.
    Photography is not too important as the real purpose is to create an experience that her friends can talk about.
    I have been seeing this for over thirty years.
    Sure, there are those who will splash out for the photography but realistically the photographer has to be part of the fantasy to get the sale.
     
  38. The problem I have is that those of us who have put their time in, gone to school, have life experience, offer professionalism etc etc etc.... Cannot pay their bills because the work is going to NON professionals who do not have the overhead that we have.

    How do you propose to solve this "problem"?
     
  39. The problem I have is that those of us who have put their time in, gone to school, have life experience, offer professionalism etc etc etc.... Cannot pay their bills because the work is going to NON professionals who do not have the overhead that we have.
    I think this proposed "problem" can be solved only by improving your work. First of all, I'd like to say that "schooling" is NOT a pre-requisite for great work. I know many photographers who didn't go to school for photography and have wonderful, creative work. I've also seen the work of those who have been at this for 25 years and have a degree in this field that I would never hire because they seem to be stuck in 1989 work-wise.
    Improve your work, stay current, target your market, and don't worry about the hacks. If you're dedicated and talented, the work will come.
     
  40. I think Betty and several others have the right idea. The 'average' person now has more than one camera, and can produce very creative work using cheap software and a photo printer. The way to get paid for your photography is to produce significantly better images than anyone else.
    I took some photos at my sisters wedding and gave her the 'negatives'. She put together an album and did some manipulations that were awsome. Having a good camera and a diploma is no longer enough to be considered a 'professional' photographer.
     
  41. I think with this article, you have to consider the source as a whole. They suggested using a mix from your iPod instead of a band or DJ, and getting a cake from your supermarket. They also suggested buying a regular dress instead of a wedding dress.
    Me, I have been lucky not to be getting married on less than $1000. There are plenty of suggestions in that article I would not take, but there are some I would take. I always thought 'save the date' cards were stupid, but I bought a designer wedding dress, saving money by getting it 70% off on the samples rack at the bridal store. It had a broken snap and a seam tear in the lining that I fixed for $5. That dress designer might have similar feelings about my bargain hunting as some wedding photographers have about this article.
    In 1966 my mother was married on a budget and she wore a tailored green suit, had a sheet cake from the local bakery and her brother brought his records. Her father took their pictures. Lucky for them grandpa was a good photographer.
    There are all kinds of weddings. This article isn't saying wedding photographers are waste of money. It's saying that if you want a photographer and think you can't afford one, here are some alternatives. This article might be for the person who thought they couldn't have anyone do their photos because of the cost.
     
  42. Very well put Jennifer
     
  43. You get what you pay for. If you get a free photographer, expect snap shots. Just put throw away camera's on each table and let the guests snap away. Frankly, I don't want to deal with the person that expects a $10,000 photography wedding gig if they're paying me $2,000. You Get What You Pay For !
     
  44. One thing I have learned in my 16+ years of wedding photography is that there are people who charge more, & others who charge less. I would price my wedding packages a little less than my full-time friend who lived 10 miles from me.
    I saw the work of a 17 year old, her work was as good as a lot of the work I see on this site. She charges $200.00. Grant it, she could not control or handle the stressful situations that happens at a lot of weddings, but her work looked good.
    In a day of automatic cameras, PJ shooting style that requires minimal posing & reduced contact with people, photoshop being taught to 6th graders, 3 year old on tv downloading photos into her laptop, this will divide photographers into 2 groups:
    1. Denis Regie group, $5000+ for wedding photography ($3000.00 here in the south)
    2. $400.00 group.
    All of US in the middle get left out.
    To answer the question,,wedding photography a money waster ? depends on the person, some people are "photo" people, others could care less. I have delivered magazine worthy photos to wealthy clients, they flip thru album, & never see them again. I have done the same to "normal" brides, gave them a discount because they needed some help, & they loved & touched every photo, still loving the photos,,,so,,,to some yes,,it is a money waster,,to others, no worth every penny.
     
  45. "I also disagree with the statements that these couples are not the couples you would want to hire anyway. I've met some really awesome couples, who would have loved to hire some of the pro photographers in my area. I've actually sat down with some that i know that I am not there first choice, because they tell or show me photographers they wish they could afford."
    You are so right here. I never turn anyone down based on budget. I tell them what to expect with the budget they have and what I can deliver for them. I also give them as many ideas as possible to steer them towards hiring me. If it doesn't work they can't say I didn't try to help. Your attitude Christina will be a plus in getting you started!
    Lou
     
  46. I think the real lesson here is for the Art School students. They need to keep in mind that when they graduate and make their way into the professional world, and are trying to pay off their loans; there will always be someone in Art School who can work cheaper. Better not to give your services away for free, now or after graduation; it diminishes the whole profession. Rather, take an apprenticeship with a working pro.
     
  47. You can hire a budget photographer for under $1000...
    ...And end up on Judge Judy suing over crappy pictures​
    This is not necessarily true. Not all photographers who charge low prices are bad photographers. Not all "newbies" produce photographs of lesser quality that some high-priced photographers. There is no across-the-board relationship between age/experience and quality OR between fees charged and quality.
    Our industry isn't really regulated other than through degrees from PPA, etc. This is where the problem lies. ANYONE can purchase a Canon Rebel and create a website and photograph weddings and portraits. The general public doesn't even look for credentials...-Aimee
     
  48. Rick ... Yes, wedding photography is a money waster.
    For the photographer.
    Huge investment in: camera's (at least 2), flash (2), lenses (usually 3 or more), computer, software, websites, marketing, insurance, etc., etc.
    Beginners often work with one camera and flash, little experience regardless of their talent level, no insurance what-so-ever ... and the risk is carried by the people who hired them, not the photographer.
     
  49. You can hire a budget photographer for under $1000...????
    I guess I may be "budget" in your book, but I do a good job,,,,
    I consider "budget" $400.00. I can show you work of a girl who does a wedding for $200 & her photos are pretty good.
     
  50. All I can add to this conversation is the experience of my own wedding (my wife and I paid for most of it): we shopped by photographer by price and paid about $500. They showed up with good medium format equipment, but took relatively few photos, and what photos they did take were mediocre. Their ideas about posing were tacky and unimaginative. It's a decision we're both still regretting, 7 years later.
     
  51. After doing art photography for many years, I am now looking into weddings. I already booked my first wedding.
    The thing is, that photography is not my day job, mechanical designing is. My goal is to gain enough experience where I can truly market myself. I wish not to charge couples thousands of dollars, since I can do this more like a hobby. I want to give them the best possible service and photos without breaking their banks. I know how important photography is for weddings.
    Aimee, I completely agree to your statement.
     
  52. This is a running discussion on this site isn't it?
    Some veiled resentment when it's suggested that beginners learn under a more experienced wedding photographer. Some veiled resentment when less experienced "hobbiest" shoot weddings for lower prices ... sometimes VERY low prices.
    Some people are trying to make a living doing this ... where others aren't, and business principles don't figure in the equasion. Someone may shoot a wedding for $200. or $400. and may well do okay at the shooting part ... but they aren't running a business in any sense of the word ... simple business math dictates that.
    IMO it comes down to where the "experience" comes from, and at who's expence.
    What seems to be proposed here is that you "don't get what you pay for" ... you get more. New shooters undervalue their work because they can, they don't depend on it. That's nothing new. But it does fill a need. Not everyone can afford 2 or 3K+ for wedding photos.
    But, to say that these folks are just as good as a professional, highly experienced photographer that is running a responsible business and all that entails is an over-statement IMO ... an exception to the rule, not the rule.
    I tend to pay my second shooters as much or more than Aimee charges, let them have all their images to build a portfolio, and spend lots of time advising them and guiding them to be able to service the client, and do more than break even financially. Then when they are ready, give them the lower budget weddings to get them started ... but still "watch over them" providing council and advice in servicing the clients needs or pulling off some client request. Eventually they fly on their own.
    Every single one of my assistants is successful ... whether they do it on the side, or as a full time professional. Some are now even more successful than I am.
    I only say this because there can be rewards for shooting with an established photographer for a year or two, and that seems to be getting lost in these debates.
     

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