This is a question I have come across more times than I can count since I began my career in the wedding industry, and one I have wanted to try to answer for a while now. However I have never managed to find the right words when it comes to putting pen to paper.
It's important to start with a few points; I'm not here to justify what I charge my clients. Nor am I here to put down those photographers who will happily cover a wedding for a couple of hundred quid. If someone has a passion and they find they can make a little extra cash doing what they love at the weekends, then it's not my place to judge. Good on them! There is however, a huge divide between those people who 'do a little on the side', and those who make this their full time career. Why?
I guess, from an outsider's point of view, wedding photography is easy. It's fun. It's a great way to seemingly earn a lot of cash without doing much work. Well, yes, the process of pointing a camera at people and pressing the shutter button IS easy. These days, we ALL have cameras, whether it be a smartphone, a tablet, a point-and-shoot or full blown professional equipment. I see it at weddings - I take a look over my shoulder when I am photographing the bride and groom's cake cutting or their first dance. I don't see people; I see an ocean of faces obscured by the back of a phone or iPad.
Photography is everywhere.
So then, why not just get your best mate or your college friend or your Uncle Bob to take a few snaps at your wedding? How hard can it be right? Now I could go on to list the points that have been argued time and time again; the hours we invest, the cost of our training and equipment, the endless evenings we spend editing images. All very valid points, but for me, not the essence of why wedding photography - and to a point ALL commissioned photography - warrants a high price tag...
Photography is one of the most important things in life.
I can prove this to you simply. Ask yourself this; if your house was burning down and you had time to save very few things that were important to you, what would you grab? I guarantee somewhere in your list there would be a family photograph, an old wedding album, the snap of your baby's first smile...Then, think back to when you lost someone close to you (amazing if you never have you lucky people)...what was one of the first things you did? I'm going to take a guess that you looked through some photographs to feel closer to them. We all know the value of photography. So add one of the most important things in life to one of the most important days of your life - that's why wedding photography is - and in my mind should be - expensive. Because it is invaluable. It is priceless. It is your memories. It is your life.
When you're planning your wedding, you'll have all these ideas in your mind of the key moments you can't wait for. The moment your Dad sees you for the first time in your dress; the second you lock eyes with your husband or wife to be before you say your vows; the humour of your best man's speech (ok well maybe a few of you would prefer for this one not to happen!). Those moments deserve good photographs. Good photographs come from trained and experienced professionals. You want to be able to see the tears in your Dad's eyes, the emotion in the face of the one you love, the connection between the two of you when you think no one is watching...
Don't get me wrong, I'm not sat here thinking that everyone should go out and spend £2000, £3000, even £5000 on their photographer. Not everyone can afford that - spend what you can afford, but go for the top end of that. Don't get yourself into a load of debt over something that is, honestly, a luxury. Getting married is about getting married, about promising yourself to someone for the rest of your life. That's relatively cheap to do. The cost of a registry office or a church. Everything else about your wedding day is a luxury. The flowers, the dress, the cake, the band. You don't need those things to become husband and wife. Just like you done NEED photographs.
So why do you book all of those things? Because they make your day perfect right?
So then, a perfect day deserves perfect memories.
Don't do yourselves an injustice by paying out all that money on everything else to have it documented averagely. Find someone who can capture your day as you visualise it. Someone who gets you. Someone you trust to capture your memories. You're not just paying someone to turn up and press a few buttons. You're paying someone to capture your life. What's more important than that?
Wedding photographers aren't out there to rip you off. We care so much about what we do. Spend what you can afford, but ask yourselves how much you can really stretch to, and go all the way. Invest in your wedding day. Invest in your memories. Invest in you!
Happy 2018!! I hope you all had the most wonderful Christmas and you're going into the New Year with positivity. My first wedding of this year isn't until February however I have a couple I can share with you from last month while I wait for the season to begin, including Hannah and Drew's gorgeous white wedding at Sandon Hall on 9th December.
I've been waiting a while to have the opportunity to photograph a white wedding (I'm talking snow here, not white dresses...) and Hannah and Drew's big day means I can now safely tick that one off my list!
We had the most snow I can remember us having in this country for a long while and it made for a picture perfect backdrop to the day. The drive up to the venue was just stunning and the Christmas decorations in the hotel lobby, complete with fairy-light-lit staircase, were the icing on the very white cake!
Having photographed Hannah's sister Gemma's wedding in 2015 it was so lovely to get together with some familiar faces...the day was beautiful from start to finish and it's so lovely to be able to say I photographed the first wedding in Sandon Hall history (according to the venue's records) where there was snow on the ground :) Here we go...
This will be my last blog post of 2017, so I'd like to take the opportunity first of all to wish everyone reading a very Merry Christmas and I hope you all have some lovely plans and dreams for 2018. It's been a whirlwind of a year for me with almost 40 weddings, my husband's 40th Birthday (which came with a big party planned by myself!), travelling around Europe and, more recently, a beautiful tour of Sri Lanka which really opened my eyes to the fact that happiness is not a product of how much we have in life. The people there were some of the poorest I have seen, but I struggled to find anyone who didn't have a smile on their face or a kind word to say to us. It's set me up for a few resolutions come the New Year...
Anyway, back to the weddings! December has seen me shoot three weddings - the first of which I am sharing with you here. Adam and Victoria got married on the 2nd December at The Welcombe Hotel in Stratford. Their Disney themed day was so lovely throughout and the festive decorations around the hotel finished it off perfectly. I had a LOT of names to learn at this one - 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen - but I think I did OK for the most part! Vicky looked stunning in her Disney Princess white dress and winter shrug while Adam scrubbed up pretty well too! The hotel had a gorgeous rear garden in which to do some group and couple shots and we managed the hoped-for shot at the waterfall despite the wet weather. Possible the highlight of this venue is the stunning staircase where we did some couple shots - scroll down to see a few of these!
Jamie and Nick...What an absolutely amazing couple!
As my very first Mr and Mr wedding I was so looking forward to being a part of Jamie and Nick's big day at the ever beautiful Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire. Right from the minute I met them both we just seemed to click and I knew that their wedding day was going to be a LOT of fun...I wasn't wrong.
We began in the Groom's Room for some relaxed shots of Jamie, Nick, their mums and their flowergirls, before they all headed down the aisle to the sounds of a string quartet. Jamie got just SLIGHTLY emotional - something that Nick took great pleasure in teasing him about - and their ceremony was full of laughter and evident love and support from all of their guests. The grooms' idea to have a big group photograph will all of their guests before leaving Callow Great Hall worked a treat and then everyone was free to relax in George's Bar. Jamie and Nick decided against having formal family photographs and instead opted for a more relaxed and documentary approach - something that more and more of my couples seem to be doing lately - giving them more time to spend enjoying their reception drinks.
Then it was off for a wander around the gorgeous venue where I was entertained whilst shooting by the grooms infectiously fun characters...followed by some of the liveliest and emotion-filled speeches I have ever seen at a wedding. It was evident that Jamie and Nick's families and friends have so much love for them and it was so lovely to hear everyone singing their praises.
They are two of the nicest guys I have ever had the pleasure of working with and I just know that their marriage will be one filled with lots of love and laughter! Congratulations guys! Here's a few images of the day...
Growing up relatively close to Droitwich, I used to pass the Chateau Impney every now and again in the back of my Mum's car and I remember thinking what a Fairytale place it was. To a child (and let's face it to quite a lot of adults as well) it just screams Disney Princess Castle right? Well, Abi grew up with the same ideas and always knew this was the place she wanted to get married...
I absolutely adored how excited Abi and Kieran were about this venue in the run up to their wedding day. I visited with them before the wedding to have a walk around and talk about what we would do photographically on the day. They also had their pre-wedding shoot in the grounds of the Chateau (above image) - a lovely preview into what it would be like having their wedding photographs in the beautiful gardens.
On the morning of the wedding I arrived at the Chateau to photograph Abi and her bridal party getting ready. From the beginning there was a subtle Disney theme evident - nothing too obvious but a lovely hint at what Abi had always dreamed for her wedding day - and when she put on her dress, WOW! If anyone could look like a real life fairytale princess, Abi nailed it! Her dress was absolutely perfect for her, beautifully flattering and just the right amount of glam :)
I can't complete this blog without mentioning Abi and Kieran's wedding cake...it was possibly the tallest cake I have EVER seen! Abi had even handmade little lights to sit inside the tiers so it lit up during the evening...ok so the remote control for the lights went AWOL meaning I didn't actually get to see this, but the thought was there and lights or no lights it was absolutely fantastic!!
There was a specific place the Abi and Kieran asked me to take them for a photograph during their couple shots in the grounds of the Chateau...which turned out to be slightly problematic. Turns out the bridge in question is no longer accessible due to safety reasons so we couldn't get on to it. I knew how much they had set their hearts on this shot though, so I set up the camera on a tripod and got the long exposure shot of the gushing water that we'd had in mind. I then took a shot of the bride and groom stood on the lawns next to the stream and went to work after the wedding day on Photoshop to piece the two together and get them the image they wanted. When life gives you lemons and all that... :D
And finally, Abi and Kieran's first dance. Think up lights, vibrant colours and dry ice! There are just no words for how incredible this set up was...so instead here's a photograph, followed by a few more shots of this stunning wedding. Thanks for having me a long for the ride guys - it was truly a magical day and I'm sure you will live happily ever after xx
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