There are a few taboos when it comes to asking certain questions that wedding photographers face on a regular basis. As well as that, we often get asked questions we simply cannot answer. Below are 5 of the top things that you shouldn't ask a wedding photographer.
1) "Can I get the unedited RAW files?"
HECK NO! This is a question you should never ask for a number of reasons. Firstly, an unedited RAW file can be compared to an unfinished piece of artwork. It has not yet reached its full potential, and requires extra correction and enhancement before it is ready for distribution.
It is not in the best wishes of the client or the photographer for the RAW files to be distributed. If a client shows their family and friends unedited photos, it reflects poorly on the photographer as the images' imperfections have not been fixed. Conversely the client is given a sub-par set of photographs as the final product.
2) "Why is wedding photography so expensive?"
This is a question that wedding photographers are asked a lot! Many clients don't realise how much money goes into investing in a wedding photography business. Firstly, a photographer has tens of thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment (Sometimes hundreds of thousands if they shoot on Hasselblad gear!). This equipment needs insurance, and to be replaced every 75-100 weddings. Some wedding photographers shoot 2 weddings a week, which means they have to replace their gear every single year!
Secondly, a wedding can last up to a staggering 18 hours, a photographer must drive to the venue to scout it before the shoot, drive to the venue on the wedding day, and often drive to the clients house for a pre-wedding meeting. This can easily add up to 30 hours of work, before editing has even begun!
Editing is the most time-consuming part of wedding photography, and can take 40 to 80 hours (or even more) for a single wedding, depending on the photographer. Once you have factored in that a wedding may take a photographer on average 70 hours in total, $2500-3500 doesn't seem too overpriced.
But wait, it doesn't stop there! Wedding photographers are generally self employed and run their own business, which means they also have to pay for marketing, advertising, business cards, and more!
3) "I found another photographer that's cheaper, can you match their prices?"
Nope! Different wedding photographers have different styles, levels of experience, patience and persistence when editing, talent, quality of equipment and more. The truth of the matter is that you get what you pay for. It's important to pick a wedding photographer that you can afford!
You wouldn't go to a Mercedes garage, and ask the dealer to price match their car with the Hyundai I20 in the garage down the street; the same applies with wedding photography!
4) "How far in advance should I book my wedding photographer?"
It completely depends! If you are searching for a photographer on a high budget, you may want to consider booking as soon as possible! Many of the award winning, highly sought after photographers are completely booked out more than a year in advance, so its important to start looking as soon as you can.
If you are looking for a photographer on a budget, you can relax a little more. Photographers who are less in demand may not has as many bookings as those that are more readily sought after. As a general rule, lower budget weddings are not planned as far in advance as high budget ones, so there is less urgency to book your photographer.
5) "My Uncle/Brother/Friend has a camera, can he do the photography as well?"
This is not recommended at all! Although it is very tempting to let your family and friends photograph you during the wedding, it may destroy the end result of your photographs from your wedding photographer. Beautiful photos of you and your partner can be easily ruined by people in the background holding up their phones to get a video for SnapChat.
Having other photographers at your wedding, particularly inexperienced ones will do more damage than good, as your wedding photographer will need to spend time manoeuvring around them to get photos of you. Any photos of Uncle Jim photobombing your wedding photographers images to get a quick snap will be totally ruined!
At the end of the day, it is up to you as the client to make the decision whether you are prepared to risk receiving a lower quality set of images for your wedding day, so that your friends can take a few happy snaps.