You might be wondering – why are NJ wedding photographers and videographers so expensive? Weddings are expensive to begin with, and NYC-area weddings are the priciest in the whole country. But it’s not just the cost of living: there are other factors that contribute to the cost. Once you understand them, you will see that you really are getting your money’s worth, even though you might have a little sticker shock at first.
There is no substitute. An experienced wedding photographer or videographer develops a working knowledge of different cultural practices, the ins and outs of venues and vendors, and how to make a realistic timeline. An experienced photographer wouldn’t be surprised, for instance, to find that Greek couples do not face their guests during the church ceremony. They are likely to know your other vendors and the venue staff, which will help your day run much smoother. And when it comes to timing, the devil is in the details. Experienced photographers will account for all the little things that might go wrong. At Shotwell Productions, we build in “buffer time” – small 30 minute pockets that can help you keep things on track. We also know each venue’s ideal spots for lighting and scenery, and we can make great recommendations on where to have the first look or family photos.
Expensive photographers carry expensive equipment, like cameras that are capable of higher resolutions and better performance in low light. We carry a variety of lenses and we know which one to use for each photo. And we have backup equipment on hand in case things go wrong (and they do!). Great photographers also know the advanced lighting techniques that make the difference between a snapshot and a real portrait. You may not realize it by looking at a photo, but when a photographer knows how to use 2-3 off-camera flashes placed around a scene, they get dynamic lighting that really accents the subjects to perfection. An experienced videographer will know the importance of capturing good clean audio, and they will likely have a variety of small wireless microphones around a scene to capture it perfectly!
Large venues and large guest lists will require a second or even third shooter. With so many details to capture, it can be impossible for one person to cover everything. While additional photographers can drive up the cost, they are often necessary and well worth it in the end. While one photographer is taking family photos, the other can be inside the reception room snapping all the little details. You will also get multiple camera angles from different perspectives for a photo gallery with more variety. What goes on behind the scenes can be as important as what you see happening on your wedding day. Good photographers will often have a staff that includes in-house editors for faster turn-around time on your photos. An office staff means quick responses to your questions and more attention to detail. A better team delivers a better overall experience, so the bigger overall price tag can really be worth it.
A good photographer’s expenses don’t begin at equipment and end at employees. Some have their own portrait studios, forcing them to charge more to cover the cost of that space. Then there are the typical costs of operating a business such as rent, utility bills, and web site hosting. There are marketing and advertising costs. Good photographers are often members of professional associations and pay for membership dues. While these things may not seem directly related to your particular event, they are standard costs that allow a photographer to run their business and will definitely affect the overall price.
Add-ons are options that can enhance the package you choose, and that will affect the total cost. Photo extras can include engagement sessions, wedding albums, prints, and wall art. Video extras can include Same Day Edits and Love Story Videos. Elaborate packages with unique features easily drive up prices.
Time is money and money is time. The best wedding photographers and videographers will spend a great deal of time with you. Your wedding day is just the beginning. There are in-person meetings, phone calls, paperwork to sign, and more. And one of the benefits of working with an experienced photographer is a streamlined experience that saves you some time yourself. After the wedding day, editing can take a few days to a few weeks depending on the number of images captured. Some photographers prefer to do an in-person reveal of your images and allow you to select your favorites on the spot. Then the work continues with album design and proofing. All in all, a photographer can spend 25-50 hours with you throughout your journey as their client. This may seem like a long time, but time flies! And when you invest in an experienced photographer and videographer, you are investing in the peace of mind you get from knowing you’re in good hands!