Married People Reveal 7 Things They Wasted Money On For Their Weddings

My desk today.  And no, this bride is not represented by this post - Melissa was perfect and gracious and lovely.

A friend of mine sent me the link to this article:  Married People Reveal 7 Things They Wasted Money On For Their Weddings.

I think it is worth a read.  Especially #4.

4. Sub-Par Photographers and Videographers

These days, everyone with an iPhone will volunteer to do your wedding photos. Then there are the "fauxtographers," who think they're professionals just because they own a DSLR (that they operate on auto mode). While smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras have come a long way, you shouldn't let a non-professional handle this critical task.

If you spend money on one thing for your wedding day, let it be the photographer.

Wedding photographers may look expensive at first glance, but it's important to pay enough to guarantee quality results. Too many married couples have tried to cut corners on photography, only to end up with wedding pictures they hate. Plus, if your mother or co-worker takes the job and you end up with a disappointing wedding album, you can't exactly ask for a re-do.

“One thing to not skimp on is the photographer,” Hayden tells Urbo. “I've had negative experiences when a friend of the couple or discount photographer comes on board. Photos are how you are going to remember the day for the rest of your life, so pick someone you like as a person, has the style of work you like, and is the best you can reasonably afford.”

How much is too much? That really depends on where you live, but wedding photographers might charge anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000; wedding site Women Getting Married recommends allocating about 10 percent of your total budget to photography.

That doesn't mean that you should throw your money at the wall. When evaluating your options, ask to see plenty of samples. You might even ask for references—after all, this is a huge expense.

When the big day comes, keep your eye on the clock. Most photographers will give you an eight-hour package, and if you go over, you could end up paying extra.

Let me explain something.  When a professional photographer comes to your wedding - and I am talking about real professionals, not the person who just got their first camera at Christmas, started a Facebook business page, and now posts "hit me up for ur wedding" - you probably don't have the time to see what they are lugging along.  I can tell you: at least two cameras (so that if one dies, the photography can continue), several lenses (a church can restrict us to the back, requiring a telephoto lens, or the bride wants a large group photo, needing a wide angle lens), lighting gear (because not everything can be shot in natural light), and other things you might not think about, such as small step ladders or that white sheet we can lay on the ground to keep your wedding dress from getting dirty in that lovely field of heather.

True story:  at my last wedding, I was shooting the bride as she was getting ready and the shutter on one of my cameras gave out.  It happens; this camera had about 250,000 shutter clicks on it.  No need to panic, I just continued shooting with my other camera.  Canon Professional Services fixed my shutter and $400 later, it is back in service.

We usually also come with another photographer, "the second," who has the above gear and does not work for free.  They get paid.  But they also get pictures of important times from a different angle and are invaluable as lighting technicians so your pictures look great.

So, there we are, with you pretty much all day.  Not complaining, that's our job.  Our minds are handling several issues at the same time:

What settings do I need for this shot?

How can I make this shot unique?

Why is the mother of the bride frowning at me?

What time is it?  Are we still on schedule?

I better have the second set up the lights for the entrance and first dance at the reception.

Did the DJ set up?  I have to go and coordinate the schedule with him.

Why is the priest frowning at me?

Please, bridesmaid, please - stop looking at your feet during the processional.

Who is this guy holding up the iPad in front of me and how quietly can I kill him?

My feet hurt.  

Where's the sun?  Are we still on schedule?

Okay, let's slow down - if I move the bride's hand slightly up, that will create a nice silhouette of her figure, and . . .

Nailed it!  That shot was epic!

And while this is going on, we usually have the well-intentioned aunt telling us, "Look at the Flower Girl, that would be such a cut shot!"  Or a guest asking for a family portrait because "We're all dressed up."  Or the unattended child running right below our field of vision when we have a camera to our face, causing a crash (I haven't lost a lens yet, but I have heard of a child having to get stitches for running into a heavy lens).

True story:  the bride and groom were getting ready to cut the cake, I had my camera to my eye, when suddenly someone starts pulling on my sleeve.  I look to my left and there is a guest, who asks, "Hey, you're parked next to my boyfriend and his battery is dead - can you give him a jump?"  Oh, and kids running into me or light stands falling on Aunt Lulu?  I carry liability insurance.

And finally . . . the exit.  You run through the sparklers (after we make sure the lights are set up for that and the camera is in the right mode so you're in focus as you're moving) and we go home.  

And then the work continues (after an Advil is taken for the soreness of being on our feet for most of a 12-hour day).  Offload the cards with the images.  Import the images into Lightroom.  Do a backup.  Cull through the images, deleting the over/underexposed, the blurry ones, the ones where you look way too goofy, etc.  Organize them.  Then start editing.  Some need to be brought into Photoshop - oh, looked, his eyes were closed so let's clone open ones from another image, great shot with wonderful expressions but there's spinach on the bride's teeth, who left that beer bottle on the wall behind the wedding arty, well, let's take that out . . .

True story:  my cameras have two card slots.  I capture a RAW image on one, and a smaller-sized JPG on the other.  That way, if a card gets corrupted (technology is not perfect), your images are not lost.

By the way, both Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as other editing software, are subscription-based.  So every month, whether we use it or not, Adobe gets our money.

Then upload them to the couple's online gallery, for which we pay a yearly or monthly fee.

Deliver images.  Do another backup.  Most photographers have the initial folder of images, which is backed up to another file, which gets backed up to the Internet.

It is fair to say that there is a 1-to-1 ratio between time shooting at a wedding and time editing.  That means those 8 hours for which you hired us are really 16 hours of work to deliver the finished product.  Ah, for me, I also then have album design.  Add some more time.

And . . . I love it.  I love my craft.  I used to litigate divorces (really) and now I go to receptions and get a piece of cake.  But it is hard work, both mentally and physically.  Just as when I practiced law, I have to plan for contingencies due to weather, change of schedule, or equipment failure.  Sometimes I have to step in and help out with announcing the wedding party or pinning on boutonnieres - it's not part of my job description but remember how I said I have to keep things on schedule?  If it means doing that to get the pictures you want, I step up.

My goal is for you to be happy - no, ecstatic - about your pictures and I work hard to meet it.

And that is why I charge what I do for my services. 

Are we still on schedule?