Scott Bourne over at photofocus made a blog post on the subject titled, And You Call Yourself a Professional and really goes to town on the $500 budget wedding photographers and both raises some interesting ideas and creating a bit of a firestorm as well.
While Scott covers a lot of ground here there’s another part that is closely related to his part on “It cheats the client”.
I remember reading about a bridal boutique that closed it’s doors last year here in Colorado. Before they went out of business they where offering amazing deals on dresses, far below normal retail pricing. They thought they could make a tiny bit of money on a lot of clients to keep their doors open, and as often happens that approach failed terribly and the closed their doors.
Now when that happened the real losers where the brides to be who had already paid on their dresses and never received them. A lot of brides where left just days or weeks before their wedding with the money gone from their budget yet no dress for their wedding day. A lot of brides weddings where ruined due to poor business practices and running a wedding business on the cheap.
So how does this relate to wedding photography?
Quite often the bride using the $500 budget photographer might be risking losing her money entirely since it’s unlikely the budget photographer has the resources of the professional photographer.
Do they have multiple pieces of backup equipment? Most of the budget photographers I’ve seen have one good camera. Heck, they’re not making enough to afford too much gear.
Well what if that good camera breaks the day of the wedding? Do they have the spare lenses and cameras to keep on going without skipping a beat as a professional photographer does, probably not.
What if all their camera bag is stolen the week before? Do they have the insurance to replace their gear quickly? Are they making enough to even afford to rent gear for the day? I once priced out what it would cost to rent my typical wedding gear for a day – at the time it was over $900.
If these type of things happen to your budget photographer if you’re lucky you’ll get your money back, but you’ll likely have to deal with that stress on your wedding day and be scrambling to get something for photo coverage handled.
If these type of things happen to the professional photographer as a client you may never even know something happened since they’ll have the business resources to get past the hardware issue and continue the planned coverage.
Yes professional wedding photography is expensive, but budget photography could cost you dearly in the long run.