Wedding Photography: How Hard Could It Be?

It seems like all a wedding photographer should need to do throughout a wedding day is pay attention to what’s going on, know how to pose people, and click the shutter button at the right moments, right? 7 years ago I would have thought the same thing!
But in reality, wedding photographers (who shoot in manual) must constantly be assessing all of the following things…
– The sources of light in a given space
– The direction of the light
– The type of light
– Whether there are mixed types of light
– Whether the light can be manipulated & made more lovely
– Whether there are harsh shadows or bright highlights in the shot
– The number of subjects in the shot
– Whether the subject(s) are moving
– How fast the subject(s) are moving
– Whether there are eyesores in the background (there’s always an Exit sign!)
– The most strategic way to avoid the eyesores
– The most effective way to frame the shot (Center it? Rule of thirds?)
– The most attractive angle to shoot from
– Which lens to shoot with
– Whether flash or no flash looks better
– The best direction to bounce the flash
– Whether to use on-camera or off-camera flash (or maybe both?)
– The focus point
– The most wowing portrait spot (p.s. It’s not always the bridge, gazebo, or fountain)
– The most flattering poses for each particular bride & groom
– Whether the expressions are genuine (those smiles get weary!)
– How the couple is feeling: Are they cold? Hot? Annoyed? Ready to move on? Is the bride about to collapse under all her layers of chiffon? Do they need a break? A bottle of water?
-The itinerary.  (One eye on the clock at all times!)
Sounds exhausting, right? This is why there are so many varying levels of expertise and execution when it comes to wedding photography (and why many of us don’t work on Mondays!)
Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to “follow” us for more interesting tidbits 🙂

Why Does the Cost of Wedding Photography Vary So Much?

Ever wonder why wedding photographers vary so much in pricing?  Aren’t they all doing pretty much the same job?

We hope this helps…

1) Digital SLR cameras range from about $400 – $6,800. Compared to a point-and-shoot camera, they all look like a Benz, but when it comes to what the camera is actually capable of, there’s quite a difference in what’s under the hood. What your photographer’s camera is capable of is especially important in low-lit churches, reception venues, and night photography.


2) Some photographers have one primary camera and a backup camera (maybe), while others might carry two primary cameras, a secondary camera, and a backup to the backup (just in case).

3) Some photographers carry insurance on their equipment as well as liability insurance in case Uncle Joe accidentally takes down a light stand at the reception. Other photographers take their chances and don’t have the insurance expense.

4) Camera lenses typically used for weddings range from about $125 – $6,900. Ever wonder how the pros get that nice blurry background while the subject of the photo is beautifully crisp? That’s the lens. Higher quality lenses more closely replicate human vision, which is amazing… but you gotta pay for it.


5) Some photographers keep their previous clients’ images on an external hard drive, while other photographers keep their previous clients’ images on two or more backup systems that are kept both on and off site, in case of a fire or other disaster.

6) Some photographers are fairly new to the business and are still building their portfolio while other photographers are more seasoned and their weekends are in higher demand.

7) Some photographers offer what they call “shoot and burn” photography services. This is when you get images directly out of camera put on a flash drive, and there is no post-processing work at all….no touch ups, no lighting or color correction, no creative editing. Other photographers see editing as an integral part of the product they offer, but it’s quite time-consuming and therefore quite costly.TravisKelsey-0211

The point here is not to call out one wedding photographer as being better than or worse than another. It’s to help brides and grooms more fully understand what they’re paying for (or not paying for) when they choose a professional to capture their wedding day.

How to Build Your Team of Wedding Professionals

You said “yes!” and set the date.  Now what?

Now it’s time to design your team of wedding professionals. This can be an unbelievably daunting task with SO many styles and package options available (and let’s be honest, I’m not sure Pinterest really helps).

So from the perspective of a wedding pro, here are some tips to tuck in your pocket and help you find your dream team of wedding vendors!

Location Venue

First, explore. Decide on your style! What kind of wedding are you dreaming up? Vintage, fairytale, traditional, Hollywood glam, rustic… (be sure to scope out your fiancé’s ideas and expectations too).  This conceptualization time with help you both eliminate some options and make planning your wedding feel a bit more manageable amidst working, school, buying a home, moving etc.

After you settle on the overall concept of your wedding, your next step is to match your budget to your vision. Prioritizing your vendors is critical in your budgeting process. If photography and florals are the most important to you, go for the top-notch vendors in those areas and make peace with spending more on those aspects of your wedding.  Then find more budget-friendly companies or creative alternatives for the things that are lower on your list of importance. Fit your budget according to what matters to you.
details CollageOkay. What’s next?  Now it’s time for a good excuse to sit down at your favorite coffee shop and talk to friends. Ask the people you trust what vendors they have used and their thoughts on the services provided…

First and foremost, were they friendly?  And what kind of friendly? Like I’m genuinely interested in your story kind of friendly? Or I’m going to call and act like we’re best friends every day until you hire me friendly? Ya’ll know what I’m talking about, and that kind of thing might matter to you. Also, what was the quality of their work? Did they deliver what was promised? Did they go above and beyond your expectations? Ultimately, would you use them again?  The answers to these questions should help you narrow down your options even further. Now you’re getting somewhere!

Okay, side note…Even if you have a trusted recommendation, be sure to look the vendor up yourself, too. Your friend’s style and preferences might differ from your own, and access to online reviews and portfolios are right at your fingertips with sites like the

Nobis-Schneider-136Through all of your planning, remember that wedding professionals are people, not just products. They play a huge role in making your engagement season and wedding day a delight (or drudgery!). Having some face-to-face time or at least a phone conversation with your prospective vendors is truly the best indication of who you want on your team and working hard to bring your vision to life.