As a wedding photographer in Bedfordshire, I am often asked a lot of questions. The first question is usually about the price and, “Why is wedding photography so expensive”. One of the next questions is why can’t they have all of the photographs taken at the wedding?
To help answer both of these wedding photography questions the first thing that you need to understand is what you are actually paying your wedding photographer for. There is also the question of what value will your wedding photographer bring to your wedding photographs?
You could get someone to come along to your wedding, take a few snaps and then give you the memory card at the end of the day. Unless they are David Bailey or Ansel Adams, the chance is that they will not be the same standard that you see shared by wedding photographers or on wedding photography websites.
What makes the difference? It is all in the editing. What made you decide on one wedding photographer over another wedding photographer, besides the price? Was it the style of photography and how their wedding photos looked?
It takes time to create these images. On average a wedding photographer will spend 48 hours editing your wedding images, sometimes a lot more. Time spent making sure your wedding photographs are ‘just right’.
Your wedding photographer will want to be able to present you with a range of photographs that capture the moments of your wedding day. The emotions and the events.
With an average of 2-3,000 photographs being taken during a wedding they want the story of your wedding to be told through your wedding photographs. They don’t want that story to be ruined by a hundred photographs of the same scene. They don’t want you to waste your time looking at photographs that are out of focus or that just miss that action. In a fast-paced situation like a wedding your wedding photographer will take a lot of photographs that may all seem the same, just because they don’t want to miss the moment.
They have learnt this through years of experience photographing a lot of weddings. They have gained the ability to watch a scene, knowing that something is about to happen. They know where to stand and where the best light is.
Why do photographers ‘cull’ the images? To make sure you only see the best of what they have taken and to ensure that they present you with images that read the story of your wedding day.
So, why else won’t your wedding photographer provide you with all of photographs taken at your wedding? Let’s have a look in a bit more detail.
Hiring a wedding photographer does not simply mean that you are hiring them for the day. Yes, they will be there at your wedding and that may be the only time you see them. Those few hours at your wedding though is only a small part of what you are paying them for. During the course of your wedding they will have taken hundreds, or thousands, of photos. Is that really what you want to be presented with?
Think of a film that you enjoy watching. The film possibly lasts for about 2 hours. Do you think that it only took 2 hours to film? Would you like to be there watching as every scene is filmed? How long would you need to sit there for? Days, Weeks, Months or even years.
No, you want to see is the final edit. The one with all the mistakes taken out. The one that has been edited in the best way to capture the feel and emotion of the film.
That is what your wedding photographer does. They edit your photographs so that what you get to see is the completed version.
With your wedding photograph taking hundreds of photographs of the same scene do you really want to go through them? Do you want to see a couple of hundred photographs of you walking down the aisle? Do you want to see the ones with auntie Edith stood in the way while she takes a photo on her phone? The ones that are out of focus, and yes there will be some. How about the ones where someone’s flash has gone off and you now look like Shrek because it affected the lighting?
How about the group photographs where everyone is looking the wrong way because auntie Edith is taking another photo on her phone?
Or the one on the dance floor that one where the laser display is on you and you now look as though you have got the measles?
Are these really the photographs that you want to spend your time looking at? You wait for what seems like years for your wedding photos to arrive. Excitedly, you open them and there you are looking like a Smurf with measles, or you would do if auntie Edith wasn’t there again with her phone.
No, when your wedding photographs arrive you want photographs that will take you back to that happy moment when you walked down the aisle.
There is no set number of photographs that you should receive from a wedding photographer. There isn’t an industry standard to expect. The number of photographs will depend on how long your photographer was with you and the different aspects of your wedding.
Your wedding photographer will then use their experience to provide you with a gallery of images that capture the essence of your wedding. The feeling, emotion and joy of your special day.
It’s a common question that is asked, “Can I have the unedited photos?”
Why would you want them? If you bought a book would you want to go through all of the jumbled notes? A stack of paper with little bits, most of which won’t be in the finished book. Would you sit there trying to put them in order so you can put together the book for yourself?
No, you want to sit down with a book that tells a story from start to finish.
Some of the notes may also be unreadable. They may be in a code that you need a special device to decode. Welcome to the world of RAW files.
Most of us will have a camera or mobile phone that allows us to take photographs. In the whole they are great for daily use. How would you react though if your wedding photographer turned up armed with just their mobile phone? You probably wouldn’t be too impressed. Before you ask, yes, I have seen it happen.
What you expect, is for your wedding photographer to turn up with all the equipment that they need to capture the detail of your wedding, even in low light conditions like a church.
There is also another trick up your wedding photographers’ sleeve though. The RAW file.
Unlike the standard jpeg files that you would get from a mobile phone, a RAW file captures a lot more detail and information when each photograph is taken. This then allows your photographer to make further adjustments, very similar to what they could do when taking the photograph.
One drawback of RAW files though is that if you don’t have the correct software you can’t view them. Plus, you need a computer that is capable of editing them. Plus, the files size is large, you wouldn’t get many photos on your mobile phone even if you could view them.
Put simply they are high quality files that allow the wedding photographer to adjust the images on the computer, after they have been taken. That photo of you looking blue or green, this can be fixed when using a RAW file.
As well as being able to adjust the colour of the image there is also a lot of other information that allows your photographer to pull out the detail even in a dark photograph.
There are also a host of other benefits that are gained from using a RAW file over a standard jpeg file.
Think of the RAW file as being the rough draft of the photograph. What your wedding photographer wants you to see is the finished article.
Photography is an art form. You can tell the difference between a Picasso and a Banksy by the way that it is painted. The same goes for the way that a photograph is edited. Each photographer has their own style. If you spent ages looking at galleries while deciding on your wedding photographer, it was probably their style of photography that drew you to them.
You are paying your wedding photographer to provide you for a service. You are paying them to provide you with a range of wedding photographs that capture the emotion, feeling and story of your wedding.
Your photographer wants to tell that story in the best way possible. They don’t want to just provide you with a rough draft. Your wedding photographer wants to provide you with the finished article.
A set of photographs of your wedding that you will cherish.