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By Michelle Venter, Owner – Michelle V Photography

This topic has been on my mind for ages and I love the fact that my voice will be heard on this platform, so without further delay, let’s talk about

Why paying for a wedding photographer is ALWAYS worth it.”

Yes, always!

Once upon a time, there was a bride, she’s been planning her wedding day from the day she got engaged, months and months of planning, budgeting and getting creative….

Dress made, grooms wear done, flowers, food, drinks, venue and all the little things in between have been sorted.  The photographer, the groom’s cousin offered to do the photos free of charge as a wedding gift. Wow! An offer not to be refused!

The day goes as planned, honeymoon over, and finally, the long wait is over, they get their photos……..

Drum roll please! They open the envelope, excitement rushing through their veins, 30 minutes later, nothing but disappointment remains. One useable photo, yes, only ONE! All those months of planning and excitement and only one photo to remember the biggest day of their lives……

I wish I could say this story was pure fiction, but it’s not, this is my very own wedding story. I learnt an incredibly valuable lesson that day, if I want quality, I need to pay for it.

Why is it that we are willing to pay for flowers on our wedding day but not a photographer? I mean, you are never going to see the flowers again. By the time you get back from your honeymoon, the flowers will be decomposing on a compost heap. Why pay for napkin rings, when napkins can simply be folded? The fact of the matter is, all those things will fade, you will never see them again, but your photos, your photos are the only way for you to relive your most precious day. 

Maybe you think “Anyone can take a photo, how hard can it be?”  Wedding photographers, like myself spend hours upon hours researching what photos are trending, how to pose clients,  we study light and how to use it, we spend a truck load of money on our equipment and editing software, all this to make sure our clients get the best possible work.

Uncle Bob (who got his camera for Christmas last year) may be a brilliant wild life photographer, but I’m sorry to say, having an eye for wildlife is not enough. When shooting people we want to capture emotion, we want to be able to pose the couple to showcase their “best side”, uncle Bob has never posed a zebra to get the perfect shot…..

*Disclaimer: I have nothing against wildlife photographers*

Now you may say “OK Michelle, I get it why uncle Bob may not be the best choice, but why are you guys so expensive?”

Your argument may be “You’re charging me more money for one day’s work than I make in a month.”

I get what you are saying, we work hard for our money, and giving it to a photographer for “one day’s work” just doesn’t seem logical! But let me tell you what is truly involved in wedding photography. Wedding photography, is not just one day’s work.  We spend time, lots of it, even months before the wedding, meeting with clients. This involves travel cost as well as paying for our order as these meetings normally happen at a coffee shop.  We do pre-wedding shoots to get to know our clients, this means editing will be done, taking up lots of time.

On the wedding day, I spend hours on my feet, wedding photography is, as I learnt, quite a physical activity. (We require comfortable shoes). We carry expensive equipment, batteries, memory cards, umbrellas and extra light just to name a few of the things we have to pay for.  Back-ups, we keep back-up copies of the images, as well as back-ups of the back-ups.

After the wedding, we edit and edit and edit. Oh, and some more editing, from early morning till late at night. While we are editing, we cannot be out doing more shoots, which means we are not making money in those editing hours. You are not just paying your wedding photographer for one day’s work.You are paying for our experience and our time.  Photography is an art form, it captures the emotion of the day, it tells a story, your story, the story of the most important day of your life.

You have the opportunity to choose wisely, don’t end up like me, and regret not spending the money. I promise you, paying for a professional service will be worth more than you can ever imagine.

P.S. You may be lucky and find a lower cost photographer (not all low cost photographer’s work is bad), and if you consider using this person, please, I urge you, research their work, meet with them, read their reviews, make absolutely sure, that you will be happy to look back at their work for the rest of your life.

About Michelle

Hi, I am Michelle from Michelle V photography. I am based in Durban and I travel all over KZN to photograph weddings. I started out as a family photographer and although I still do family portraits, my absolute passion is wedding photography. I thrive on the pressure that wedding photography brings to the table. I love being around all things beautiful and weddings are beautiful. I love capturing the emotions of the day for the bride and groom to relive for the rest of their lives.

You can view my work here