I Just Need A Photographer!

She contacted me out of the blue, emailing me like most do, wanting to schedule a consultation.  “I'd like a quote for my wedding, it will be very small, 100 or so guests... and it will be from 2-10 p.m.  I'd also like a second photographer, an engagement session, and a leather-bound album.”  So I emailed her my proposal (as usual) and moved on to other work I had lining up for my Monday morning.    

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I quickly received a reply to my invoice.  “$3--- for an 8 hour wedding?? It's small, and the venue is local, and I've already overspent on the venue and the flowers, can’t you cut me a deal?”  No.  I’m sorry. But no.  Think this is a fake conversation? No.  Sadly it's not.  Is there a right order to hiring your vendors?  Should you have the venue before the photographer?  Should you get the cake before the flowers?  Should the DJ come before the food?  Sometimes I am hired out of order, meaning the clients have literally hired everyone else BEFORE they have hired a photographer.  After an $800 cake, and $3,000 in flowers, and thousands for the venue, why can't I do my job for $500?  

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Let me explain.  You are paying for 11 years of sweat, tears, workshops, lenses, cameras, books, business classes, marketing courses, and photoshop classes, and finally after so many years, a consistent and dependable stream of work.  You are paying for an experienced professional who has the ability to anticipate moments that typically occur on a wedding day.  Wedding photography- done right- is supposed to tell the story of your special day.  The moments beforehand, the weather, the anticipation, the laughs, the tears, the details, the food, the camaraderie, the family-bonding.  The ceremony, the reactions, the nervous laughs, the vows, his reaction as you are coming down the aisle in your beautiful dress, your dads kiss on your cheek as he puts your hand inside the hand of your betrothed.  The first kiss, the first steps as husband and wife, the excitement as you are rushing down the aisle, the relief as you spend your first few minutes alone together.  There are so many other things, but to name a few- we know these things will happen.  When you decide to "hire your friend" will they know these moments will happen?  Will they know how to pose you so that you look your best? Will they know how to edit the photos properly?  Will they know how to design your album?

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Each photographer around here will have their price for doing anything.  Many will take a headshot for $20 and charge $300 for a wedding.  They decide what it will cost for their business to run.  They decide their worth.  Your 8 hour wedding is way way over that.  After the consultation, the emails back and forth over the course of months and/or the year, the phone calls, the correspondence with the planner, the engagement session (if there is one), travel, time spent creating your timeline and making sure your day is outlined perfectly before we start--oh  and lets not forget the weeks of editing your photos.... Your 8 hour wedding is closer to 60.  

Quick question: After the flowers wilt, the venue is cleaned out, and the cake is eaten- what is left?  

Have a great week!

~Leia

Leia Smethurst

Leia Smethurst Photography, PO Box 18694 , Oklahoma City, OK 73154, United States