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Wedding photographers take pictures of the wedding ceremony, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and the families of the bride and groom. They also often photograph the major events of the reception and the guests to help preserve memories of the entire affair.
A good wedding photographer can faithfully recreate special memories, taking care to capture the most important moments of the wedding and reception. They're able to fulfill the requests of the couple getting married and help them choose the best images from the event.
Couples can find their wedding photographer by asking friends and family for recommendations or checking out local listings. It's important to review portfolios, pricing, and availability. When you've picked a few that pique your interest, speak to them in person to make sure they're a good fit.
Before you make a final decision about your wedding photographer, you'll want to ask several important questions, such as:
The cost of a wedding photographer depends on various factors, including their experience, photo packages, and the length of time you need them. According to Brides.com, a wedding photographer can charge anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 for their services.
A wedding photographer's fee reflects their experience, training, and ability to fulfill your vision and requests. The time needed to complete the process for a single wedding makes a difference as well. For a standard eight to 10 hour wedding, a photographer may spend as much as double that culling and editing photos.
Technically, you don't need a wedding photographer. Some people prefer a simpler occasion with a few photos taken by friends. However, hiring a wedding photographer ensures that you have professional, high-quality photographs of your wedding that preserve memories for generations.
Most wedding photographers are hired for eight to 10 hours to set up, travel between venues for the ceremony and reception, and capture events, including the wedding party getting ready, the ceremony, and occasions during the reception. In rare cases, a wedding photographer may be hired for multiple days.
The number of photographers for a wedding is a matter of the organizers' preferences. Sometimes, a couple may feel that having two gives them more coverage of the event, but beware that many photographers include an exclusivity clause in their contracts, so they'll usually arrange a second of their choice.
If you hire a single photographer, they'll usually take 50 images per hour on average with time spent setting up, positioning wedding party members, and transporting equipment to and from venues. The average wedding has between 400 and 800 images total.
Many photographers choose to match the wedding theme and attendees or wear all black so they don't stand out. If the wedding organizers or couple getting married have specific requests for the photographer's attire, they'll usually do their best to comply.
Since most weddings are all-day events and the photographer is expected to be working before, during, and after the festivities, it's polite to make sure an extra plate at the reception is reserved for them. Many photographers do bring their own food to feed themselves over the course of the day.
Helping a more experienced photographer as their "second" is a good way to learn the industry and get the experience you need to shoot weddings on your own. Many wedding photographers are classically trained and educated in the art of photography before they serve weddings.
In terms of physical equipment, all you need to shoot your first wedding is a couple of high-quality lenses, a camera body, a flash setup, and film or memory cards to store images, if you're shooting digital. You'll also want to bring backup equipment and make sure your gear is insured in case anything happens.
To develop your skills as a wedding photographer, you need to know your equipment and its capabilities. Seek training from a professional, take courses in photography, or find a mentor to assist — experience is key. Networking is important when you start out. Research, experiment, and practice with lighting and different styles to broaden your skills.
According to Salary.com, the median annual income of a wedding photographer is just under $50,000. Many wedding photographers are independent contractors and either have another part-time profession or take photos of other events, such as baby showers and engagements.