Ideally, when choosing a destination wedding photographer for your wedding in Italy your decision will not be based on price or cost alone. If it is, then I suggest you stop reading here.
During your research you will probably see prices from many wedding photographers, let’s face it, there are plenty to choose from!
You will have to evaluate why “Photographer A” costs more than “Photographer B”. What part of their service, style or work justifies the difference in price.
Firstly, let’s choose what type of photographer you want to give the responsibility of photographing not only your wedding in Italy but probably the most important day in your lives so far.
If you have no budget at all for wedding photography then you may want to consider this option. However, my advice would be to spend less on another area of the wedding and get a better photographer. Cost = None.
If you own a camera that does not make you a photographer. It makes you a “camera owner”.
At least an amateur photographer is passionate about photography, they will have their heart in the right place even if they don’t have the greatest experience, equipment, knowledge or skills. They will at least have passion. Cost = Economical.
The next options will all have a higher cost:
They own a studio and photograph some weddings, babies, family photos, advertising, sell products and more, they do many photography related activities in order to have an income. No doubt, they are skilled photographers.
I do not recommend choosing a photographer who does not have experience with shooting weddings. Fashion photography is a controlled type of photography. Often, the photographer has a lot of time to create one or two images, they are working with studio lighting and they have to achieve one or two shots within a generous amount of time. Most fashion photographers feel uncomfortable with shooting a wedding because they are not used to working with constantly varying light conditions. In wedding photography, you only have one chance to capture many important moments of a 12 hour day. It is a very physically and emotionally stress-full job.
Usually, there is a name photographer who has many assistant photographers working for the studio, they only shoot weddings and shoot as many weddings as possible often multiple weddings on the same day. They normally deliver a good quality product but there is usually a tangible difference between the name photographer and their assistants, after all, I am sure you can understand that a head photographer will produce images of a certain quality and an assistant will produce images of an assistant’s quality. So the consistency of style is not always there.
This is a person who only shoots weddings. He or she lives, breathes and dies weddings. Most professional wedding photographers earn approximately 90+% of their income from weddings.
So here are the options available to you, they all own at least one camera and can take pictures!
Going forward let’s assume that you want to hire a professional wedding photographer.
In order to understand what we charge, I think you need to consider our profession and some of the costs involved.
The choice of equipment a wedding photographer uses can greatly influence the cost. There are photographers that shoot with only one camera and a couple of lenses. Different cameras and lenses can have significantly different prices. Whatever equipment a photographer uses, if they are working often and using it, it will need servicing and most likely changing and upgrading every 3 or so years. If you want a photographer who uses top quality professional equipment then you need to understand the costs they have to incur to own the gear.
Professional cameras typically cost 4,000 to 5,000 euros each, top quality lenses cost 1,000 – 2,500 each and all the accessories are pricey too. A professional photographer should have at least one backup camera body in case the other fails. After all, it only takes a slip and a camera or lens can be damaged. On average, a photographer shooting with 2 camera bodies and say 3-4 lenses already has an investment of approximately 15,000 euros and this is a pretty basic assessment. I personally have a lot more than this invested in my equipment. And why not, they are the tools of my trade.
Skill. Obviously, this correlates directly to the cost of your wedding photographer. The more skillful the photographer is the more they will cost. Just like hairdressers, plastic surgeons, footballers, dentists, builders or just about any other profession, higher skill means higher price. A footballer that plays for a lesser team does not get paid like a premier league player. A higher level of skill is normally linked to the amount of talent and time invested by an individual in their chosen profession.
Experience. If you want a facelift you will not choose a plastic surgeon who has never performed the procedure before. If you do, then you will certainly pay less than if you go to the expert that has done it 500 times before.
A photographer who has a unique style and offers some sort of exclusivity will cost more. If your photographer takes photos that look like a hundred other photographers’ photos that means their work is commonplace and will be more affordable. We all like nice and unique things. A holiday in a large hotel on a beach with thousands of guests will cost significantly less than an exclusive water villa on a tiny island in the Maldives.
If you want something unique and exclusive it will cost more.
What running costs does the photographer have? A photographer that owns a studio and has staff has far higher running costs than a photographer who works alone. A photographer who rents a studio pays service charges, bills and staff salaries has many extra expenses that will ultimately increase the end cost of the product or service offered. The single photographer and the studio may both produce high-quality photography but the costs will be different.
Why should I pay more for one photographer who works alone than a team of 2 photographers that will also do the video and album for the same price?
In life, as a general rule of thumb if you spend a little you will not get much in return.
A professional photographer conducts their business in a way that offers assurance and guarantees. There will be a contract to cover each assignment and a professional photographer will have insurance. These are important to mention as obviously a lack of a contract or insurance is probably a sign of a less serious or professional photographer. These things only increase cost a little as there is a little more administrative work involved. Insurance obviously costs, however the added peace of mind for both the client and wedding photographer is invaluable.
To start with, we pay taxes as well as anyone else who is self-employed. Remember what you pay a photographer is not what they earn.
So what exactly are you getting for your money? You book a photographer and then what do they do? How much work will they do to discuss and plan and advise prior to your wedding? How many hours is the photographer going to work on your wedding day? How many hours are dedicated to the post production and delivery of your final photos and products?
Between when you book your photographer and the wedding, perhaps 6 months pass. You have skype calls together and swap numerous emails. In total perhaps this is 6 hours work. I am not counting any work the photographer may do for research, site inspections or any other time spent preparing for the wedding. I am only counting the time to communicate with you, answer your questions and complete the administrative process of the booking, including contracts and invoicing a deposit.
Photographer’s cost: approx 6 hours.
On an average wedding day, the photographer will start at 12pm and finish at 12am. In reality wedding photographers often work longer than this.
Photographer’s cost: approx 15 hours.
To get to the location it takes 2 hours driving, there and back:
Photographer’s cost: approx 4 hours (we are still working on a hypothetical basis)
Post production. This is a difficult one to calculate as it depends so greatly on the level of post processing and production. The time spent doing it and the skill of the person doing it. Post production and retouching are very time-consuming and time is money.
Some photographers don’t retouch at all, others outsource the post production. For some, post-production can involve just clicking a few buttons and applying a standard effect. For other photographers, it can involve an infinitely complex series of elaborations and hours in front of a computer monitor. Most film photographers don’t retouch at all. Most of the time they send their images away to a laboratory and they are developed, returned to the photographer and then packaged and shipped to the client.
For a serious professional photographer, the post-production is a very important aspect of their work where they can polish and style their images. Let’s say it takes 30 hours work to download, sort through, making selections, correct, convert, retouch, and finish the images.
Photographer’s cost: approx 30 hours.
Delivery. Let’s take the simple option and say that it takes the photographer 1 hour to package or deliver the images.
Photographer’s cost: approx 1 hour.
Total cost commitment/hours worked: 6 + 15 + 4 + 30 + 1 = 56 hours.
Another way to look at it is if we work 8 hours a day for 7 days, so it is the same as seven working days for most other professions. As you can see there is a lot of work involved in wedding photography. We don’t just turn up on the day and push a button. Remember the photographer and videographer are the only people working at your wedding that will give you a product after the event is all over. You will spend a small fortune on your wedding and once the dust settles what will you have to show for it? THE PHOTOS.
In conclusion, when choosing a wedding photographer in Italy, you should see first if you like their style of photography, then you should try and understand what the photographer is offering you for their price. In order to assess the quality of the product you are going to receive, you should look as many examples as you possibly can, this is the only way to establish if there is the consistency of style throughout their galleries and portfolio. This is important because you want to make sure you will receive a similar product to the one you see on the photographer’s website.
Talk to the photographer to see if you like their personality and ask them all the relevant questions pertaining to the wedding photography. In order to understand why they charge their specific fee, you need to understand in detail how they work.
Lastly, you should always remember that if your bouquet is the wrong color it is not the end of the world. If the food is slightly overcooked it is disappointing but people still have a good time. If your wedding photos are terrible after all the money spent on your destination wedding in Italy you will be devastated.
Photos are not just images. They are records of once in a lifetime moments. Your photos will become family heirlooms to be passed on for generations.
In conclusion, having read this you will be able to make a more informed decision about how much money to spend on your wedding photography as you now have a much clearer idea how much an Italian wedding photographer costs.
Photography is the preservation of important things, whether it’s a day’s events, family members, or just something beautiful. For me, that preservation must be of the highest level in appreciation of the importance of these passing moments.
“Beauty exists everywhere. It’s my job to find it.”