[Last updated Jan 2013]
When it comes to wedding photography I hear certain comments from brides all the time, I wrote this article to help you if you are about to tie the knot to make an informed decision when selecting a South African Wedding Photographer. We cover costing and how the various “bands” of photographers price themselves;
Bride to be – “We had no idea what the cost would be?”
Basically there are 3 “Bands” of photographers, please note by average pricing I mean a middle of the road package that would be booked by most couples. I’ve heard of photographers charging in excess of R70,000 for a wedding. The comments below are merely a reflection of what I have picked up from being in the industry and are designed as a rough guide.
- Signature top end photographers – Average Package R24000 upward (weekends)
- Run of the mill is not our “thing” as signature photographers our styles are specific and often unique, we are photographic artists.
- Our product is a premium one and we spend many hours researching new techniques to further our careers and abilities, we are the difference between luxury cars and family sedans, Jimmy Choo’s and Zoom, 1st Class and Economy.
- We will go that extra step to get that great picture without a second thought.
- We spend many hours in post production so that our product is not simply about paying more it carries that signature feel that you hired us for in the first place.
- We are technically excellent and it does not matter whether its rain or shine, daylight or midnight we’ve been there and we are ready for it.
- Our output is consistent, we make sure all of the photos we supply are as good as each other, it’s not a case of simply working on the ones we like
- We have top of the line professional equipment with very expensive lenses designed for low light
- We have backup gear and are thus prepared in case our equipment breaks.
- It goes without saying that we are true professionals with excellent people skills
- We have proven track records with loads of testimonials should you require them
- We know exactly how weddings work and and if the unforeseen happens like the bouquet does not arrive or a bridesmaid’s button pops off or you are simply just overwhelmed we will be there for you along with your family and friends as though you’ve known us for years.
- Experienced professionals – Average Package R8000-R16000
- If budget is not as big as you would like but your photos are really important to you then this is what you should expect to pay
- There are a wide range of styles ranging from creative to capturing the day well with no frills or spills, what you get out of this will be up to your taste and homework.
- They have years in the industry and taking pictures is their bread and butter
- Their technical ability is excellent and the know exactly how their equipment works, they will also handle extremes well but not all use external lighting (off camera flash)
- They are also professional and will handle most situations because they have the wisdom and experience to do so.
- They also have top of the line gear and are prepared for equipment failure
- Long lists of testimonials if you need them to
- These people will get the job done and not let you down
- Beginners – Average Pricing R0-R5000 (yes that’s “0”)
- Starting out
- Little to no experience
- May under deliver at times, and promise what they are unable to manage at their level of expertise
- While many are simply beginners trying to get more experience you do risk the occasional fly-by-nighters who think this is a quick and easy way to make money
- Since they are starting out their equipment is mostly consumer level and performs quite well in bright situations with good lighting but falls flat when it gets dark, the average brides room getting ready, church and reception hall
- Or even worse, excellent equipment that they think will make up for their lack of experience and skill
- Usually no backup equipment, if their camera or a lens fail that’s your wedding photographer out of the picture so to speak
- Lack of experience when it comes to handling people, having the confidence to be assertive at the right times
- It is possible to get lucky! I’ve seen a few people starting out with genuine talent and they will to go all the way, if you are lucky you could end up hiring one of these guys and save a lot of money, if not there is no way you can ever get that day back!
- If your wedding photography is no “biggie” in your list of priorities then I would say definitely give the beginner a chance, we all started somewhere :-)
The pricing indicated above is a ROUGH guide for the AVERAGE wedding, I have cheaper packages and more expensive packages that differ in albums, prints etc… and so will all the photographers, it depends on what you are after.
More expensive does not mean better, that is for you to decide. I can say that those who are charging in the professional and top end market are usually serious and experienced when it comes to running a business. Try not to forget that getting a great product is not only about pressing a button on a camera, there are many aspects before and after the actual day
If possible always deal with a professional, when all is said and done it really is a huge moment not only in your life but also your closest friends and family :-)