Alright, the 'not just for Christmas' is a tenuous link to say the least because this post has literally nothing to do with Christmas, but I was stuck for a title and I'm feeling festive, and it IS about something lasting for life. So... we good?
A lovely thing happened a few weeks ago. I was on the phone to a couple who, during the call, had decided they would really like to book me to shoot their wedding next year, and at the end of the phone call, they asked this:
“And – it doesn’t really matter anyway, but I suppose we should probably know – what do you charge again?”
Music. To. My. Ears. Not because I thought, ‘oh they don’t remember, perhaps I can charge more!’ or anything like that. It wasn’t even about the money. It was just the ultimate compliment that the money wasn’t the deciding factor in choosing me to be their photographer. YEAH. Which in an ideal world, I think all wedding photographers (or any creative person) would love to be the case every time. To be chosen purely based on your work and know that the most important thing to the couple is also the thing that you put your heart and soul into is a wonderful feeling.
Of course, I’m not naïve; I know that everyone will have a budget, this couple included. Weddings are expensive and obviously couples will choose their budgets for individual outgoings accordingly. For some, it might be that they’re willing to spend more on a dress or a cake, but subsequently can’t spend as much on photography. Those decisions have likely been made quite early on, and will probably affect where the couple look for their suppliers. It goes the other way as well - using the most expensive photographer you can find because you *can* afford it and surely that means they're the best. There are a lot of blogs out there on the cost of wedding photography by photographers who have been doing this a lot longer than me, so I’m not going to get into that, but have a look at this infographic by Francesco Spighi and this blog by Laura Babb which explains everything REALLY well. It’s a topic that comes up a lot, and there is a common misconception that photographers are rich because ‘they earn £100 an hour at least!’ (they don’t. They really don’t). The price of wedding photography is an interesting, and often misunderstood, subject.
What I'm getting at is that your wedding photos are something that will last forever, so the decision shouldn't rest *solely* on what it costs. You know when you spend a bit more on a great pair of boots or a lovely coat, but you can justify it because you LOVE it and it's good quality and think of all the WEARS you'll get out of it... Well imagine how many 'wears' you'll get out of your wedding photos. Think how many times in 30, 40, 50 years you'll pour over your album again and smile and reminisce and feel that nostalgic glow of what a happy day it was. Make sure that at that point, you're not thinking 'well, I don't like them but at least they only cost X' or 'how annoying that I spent XXX and I don't even like the style'. Instead, be preoccupied with your amazing wedding and how you love the way it was captured.