What’s the difference between cheap vs expensive wedding photographers?

Why is it important to understand the difference between cheap vs expensive wedding photographers? Maybe the love of your life just popped the big question and now, for the first time, you’re planning the perfect wedding you both always wanted.
Most likely you jumped on Google for your go-to first step in planning. But soon realised that there’s a hell of a lot to consider with weddings and it can get a little overwhelming.
If you’ve set a date and booked your venue then you’re almost half way there. But at some point you’ll be considering what type of wedding photography service you want. Well, the Black Avenue Productions is here to shed some light on the real, practical and financial differences between cheap vs expensive wedding photographers.

image to show between a cheap vs expensive wedding photographer quality difference

Worrying about the high price tag could end up costing you in more ways then one

That old adage, “You get what you pay for”, has stood the test of time for a reason and can be related to wedding photography. You see, while everyone today has a camera and can apply some basic retouching to get a half-decent photo, truly good photography is a difficult skill to master, just like any other. It requires years of practice and investment in high quality equipment to produce the breath-taking photographs that can stop you in your tracks, make you think, inspire and tell a story.. all in one photo. For this reason, high quality photography is never cheap.

Melbourne Wedding Photography image of Australian married couple on The Grampians for wedding videography

What’s in a price tag?

Of course, as a customer, it helps to visualise exactly what you’re paying for.
Most photographers will base their fee on a cost-plus calculation which includes;

  • The cost of materials required
  • The cost of time/labour
  • The cost of business overheads

This produces a baseline total cost figure, essentially the cost of your photographer to attend your wedding and capture all the special moments for you.
On top of this figure, you will need to expect your photographer to add an element of profit, essentially how much money they want to make on your job.
This could be a simple percentage mark up or involve a much more detailed calculation, and this is where price and quality can differ from photographers.
Some service providers will charge more for the time spent in post production, others may charge more based on their experience and awards they have won over the years.

Materials and services

Prices will include everything required to deliver your finished photo collection.
If you have requested cloud storage/online gallery, several wedding photo albums as well as physical media storage (USB stick), these costs will be included in the total figure.

The cost of labour

Time is money. Time spent on one job is time you can’t spend elsewhere.
Most professional photographers will only allocate one wedding per weekend to ensure they are focusing on one couple, no matter if the coverage is four hours, eight hours or a full day, they can’t be at two weddings at once, therefore a minimum charge applied to hold your date will often be applied.
The job of a photographer doesn’t end when the wedding is over – you will find that good quality post production takes up a significant amount of time.
We often find that it takes us two hours of editing time for every one hour of shooting.
So if you have booked a photographer for an all-day shoot, this can add up.
Post-production is the real magic behind your stunning wedding photos and should not be rushed.

Professional wedding photographer camera and lens lay flat on table

The cost of overheads

The software required to professionally edit photographs is very expensive. These software programs have an upfront purchase cost and may even have an ongoing license fee.
Your wedding photographer will need to take these costs into account.
And then there is of course the cost of the cameras, lenses and lighting equipment itself which, together with insurance, will run into the thousands.

Hiring a cheaper wedding photographer

A cheap wedding photographer might end up being a bargain – on the other hand, you might find yourself stuck with someone who isn’t well versed in the use of aperture or shutter speed or who uses out of date equipment and the incorrect lenses for any given situation.
Additionally, they may spend less time in post production or only have one photographer at your wedding so some shots could be missed and other shots may not have that finished, polished retouching feel to them.
As a general rule, if you compromise on price then you are compromising on quality somewhere within the service they provide you.
So if cheap is your budget, then ask lots of questions about the total service provided before locking in your photographer.

Cheap wedding photography Melbourne photo sample
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cheap wedding photographer Melbourne portfolio image


Lauren hired a cheap wedding photographer and regret it, she wrote a blog here to tell others about her experience.

I’m still pretty heartbroken about my lack of knowledge when it came to choosing my photographer. Now that I look at amazing work from photographers every day, I know that my photos could have been so much better. But you live and you learn, right?
Founder & Editor at Every Last Detail

Melbourne Wedding Photography image of boho bride groom walking in Royal Botanical Gardens for wedding videography Melbourne

Hiring an expensive wedding photographer

A highly priced wedding photographer should be experienced, easy to work with, in possession of high quality camera equipment and best of all, know how to use it.
They will be a true professional at engaging with people, providing direction and instruction, making sure that photos are composed with precision and have a genuine understanding of what makes that ‘perfect moment’ to capture.
The attention to detail of post production will be flawless, removing any imperfections and allowing the photographs subjects to look their absolute best.
You are paying for their years of experience and know-how, to be able to capture all important candid moments of an event, their artistic eye to create your love story, their top range equipment, and hours upon hours of their editing time to ensure your photos are consistent and produced in high quality.
It’s a peace of mind that you can trust your wedding photographer to do their job so you can relax and enjoy your wedding day.

Value for money

As a customer, what you end up paying can vary for a variety of reasons, including some photographers not knowing their worth and undercharging, as well as some customers having small budgets that have to be adhered to.
It is our opinion that good photography shouldn’t be diluted down to a price point, so if you find yourself with a smaller budget, simply find a cheaper photographer.

The choice is yours.
Most people cite their wedding day as the most important day of their lives.
If that sounds like you, why take the risk on a cheap photographer?

professional wedding videographer cameras and lenses and drones layout

We hope this article gave you a better understanding of the differences between cheap vs expensive wedding photographers.
If you need help planning your wedding, or wonder what’s included in our packages, please email us blackavenueproductions@gmail.com, your email is the highlight of my day. 🙂
Find out more about us here

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