Today I have Marry Me Ink’s latest sponsor, the wonderful Daz of Darren Mack Photography, explain why your photography is important for your wedding day and the reasons why it costs what it costs.
“Why I charge what I do”
It’s something I am going to try and explain in the best way I possibly can, but first I need you to come with me on a journey, through time and space, to the world of the Mighty Boosh.
My current prices for a wedding are around £1000. This is a price which I think reflects quite well to exactly where I am in my business. I have great equipment, I am fully insured, and I have shot quite a few weddings.
Going back 3 years though, things were a lot different, I didn’t charge any where near that, in fact, I didn’t charge at all, it all went a lil’ something like this….
My first wedding…. I was paid for my travel and accommodation costs. £150. That was it, it was all I asked for. This was new to me, and the couple were taking a huge risk letting me be the photographer.
I got up at 6am, scraped the ice off my car, as it was December, and started my 3 and a half hour journey. (obviously stopping for a sausage roll at the service station, ITS NEVER TOO EARLY PEOPLE!)
I arrived at around 10am to the venue, put my shirt and tie on, and started working straight away.
Fast forward twelve hours to 10 at night and I’m shattered. I’ve been running round all day photographing, backing up my images, setting up a projector and laptop for a slide show, all of this with only a 1 hour break in between (I know, a full hour right!? who the hell do I think I am resting for that long?).
You know what though? I loved it, it was there and then that I decided that this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a wedding photographer, I had spent 12 hours on my feet shooting sure, but it was with the friendliest, happiest people having the BEST time. What could you not love about that?
It didn’t stop there though. For the next two weeks, I had to get all of those images onto my computer, select the ones I wanted to use, edit them, correct any that might be a little too light or too dark, and then burn them onto disc. It sounds easy, like I was slacking right? There was over two thousand images, I must have been hitting that button like it was going out of fashion.
Needless to say the couple loved the pictures, and the bride cried with joy! (You have no idea how good it is to make some one cry because your pictures are so good)
Lets jump back in the tardis to 2014.. I have spent over £7000 on camera equipment (that’s nothing… really), over £1500 on attending training and courses, I pay yearly insurances, website fees, domain and gallery hosting and software subscriptions. I spend between 8 and 10 hours at weddings as standard, then spend over three weeks getting images culled and edited for the couple. This can be things such as colour correction, exposure adjustment, contrast adjustments and then finishing the image so that it is in “my style”, throw in the odd album designs on top of that and Bobs your mothers brother… You know what? I F**king love every bit of it.
I still had weddings over the years where I only charged £200-£300, but I wasn’t using the same equipment which I am now, I wasn’t insured, and my editing process wasn’t as consistent as it is now. The couples knew this and knew that this was the reason I was only charging so little.
My prices have gradually crept up to the thousand pounds mark as I have grown with experience and equipment, sure there are people charging a lot less than me, there’s nothing wrong with that, everybody has to start somewhere. Its just they might be me three years ago, no “decent equipment”, no insurance, no clue, and they need to be honest about that. I don’t just rock up on the day anymore and press the button (I do rock, just not in that sense). I am now a lot more experienced with posing and working with couples, being a lot more incognito, and also dealing with the stresses on the day and bringing a calming and comforting influence.
As my granddad used to say “You get what you pay for” (he never really used to say that, I just thought it was quite fitting) and I think people need to really think about what their photographer is adding to the wedding. These photographs are going to last a lifetime, they’ll be treasured and looked back upon countless times. After all of the flowers have died, the bands songs are forgotten about, and the taste of the food is gone from your mouth, you’ll have your photographs there reminding you of every moment of your day… make sure they’re good.