Anybody with a decent camera can be a wedding photographer. These days decent cameras are plentiful. One popular SLR website (written by photographer, Christopher Lin) says that the number of quality wedding photographers in the United States is hard to estimate:
"First of all, the term wedding photographer is such a loose terms that defines seasoned professionals, as well your typical uncle with a digital camera..."
They estimate the number of wedding photographers "using deductive reasoning."
- There are more than 2,200,000 weddings in the United States annually.
- A survey of 1,098 photographers conducted in 2008 indicated an average of 21.1 weddings per photographer per year.
- The number guessed at is between 130,998 and 51,737 wedding photographers (enough for a small city), rounded off, their estimate is about 100,000 wedding photographers in the United States.
- That means there 311 photographers per million people in the United States, according to these guesses. If you live in a town of 100,000 people you are likely to find three recognizable wedding photographers in your town.
Professional Wedding Photographers are in High Demand
It's not true that wedding photographers are a dime-a-dozen. They appear to be relatively rare and must be in high demand. When you look for a truly professional wedding photographer, you have to be fortunate to find a talented one in your town considering the high demand.
You must bear the market in mind when looking for a wedding photographer. You also have to seriously look at what you want. Wedding photographs can be timeless keepsakes or duds that do not represent you. This is not an easy decision. There are no standard wedding photographs. Each photographer exercises artistic and professional judgement to give you what you want, but results vary.
According to "Woman Getting Married," couples in the United States pay between 10 percent and 15 percent of their wedding budgets on photographers. The average cost for a weeding photographer is $2,814, and in larger cities it could be as high as $4,000 ranging up to $10,000. These costs cover an 8 hour wedding on average (hourly costs are nearly $400 per hour).
When you are looking to have your wedding photographed, the exclusivity of professional wedding photographers and their high prices are likely to turn you off. You might even be prepared to hire and amateur at a discount. Book More Brides warns against it. They know from experience,
"The number one regret of couples after the wedding is not investing more money in a photographer."
One poor bride found out the hard way. She says,
"Even though I did all the right things (showed her photography styles I liked, furnished a shot list, asked if she owned her own equipment - she lied about that one) I still got horrible, point-and-shoot looking snapshots of my wedding."
"What can you do when your DIY wedding pictures are terrible? - Nothing!"
Wedding forums and budget-minded blogs talk about hiring a student photographer. One bride extensively interviewed a student for her wedding, signed a contract for a total of $300 for her wedding shoot (half now, half later). What she got was:
- No framing.
- Blown-out colors.
- Blurry images.
- Weird facial expressions.
Professional Photographers Use High Quality Equipment
Professional photographers who charge serious rates for their photography have invested tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in quality equipment and education. They are only as good as their last wedding and reputation and business is on the line with every couple they photograph. They can't afford to cancel a week before the wedding because "something came up" or disappear with all your files after the wedding.
You need a professional photographer with specific wedding experience to guarantee high quality images. Amateurs don't have the backup or the savvy to recover if something goes wrong (as it inevitably does). Professionals know how to use poses, angles and lighting to enhance their subject's best features and hide imperfections. Amateurs usually can't pull that off.
Professional photographers are rare, and in demand. Wedding planners should choose them with care. The most discriminating brides agree, it's worth it.
Direct Entertainment was founded by Jim Firth, who has been in the industry for almost 20 years. He has been employed with national wedding and event companies. He built the company because he wanted to offer something different. Please contact us to learn more about professional wedding photography.