Don’t go cheap on wedding photography

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It’s one of the biggest questions in wedding planning: How much will the photographer cost?

There are plenty of websites with the answer, which is about 10 - 12 percent of your total wedding budget. To add a dollar amount, wedding photography, on average, ranges from $1,150 to $3,000, according to WeddingWire. This amount can very depending on where your wedding is (a Washington, D.C. wedding photographer will cost more than one in Washington, N.C.) and what your package includes (prints, albums, etc.).

So you may think that’s a lot of money for one person. And I get it, we all have budgets. But here’s why spending the money is worth it:

Because your wedding is a luxury. And you should treat it as such.

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Do you need a wedding dress to be married? A wedding venue? A wedding party? No, you do not.

But do you want those items? Of course. After all, they’re part of the large catered party you’re planning, and unless you regularly have those (and if you do, invite me!), then your wedding is a luxury.

As with any luxury, you’re paying for quality. And we know what that looks and feels like. There’s a reason you want to sit in first class. Drive a Mercedes Benz. Watch the game in box seats. 

Each of those items have higher price points because you know what you’re getting - and you know what luxury is not.

Now I get that there are other elements of your wedding that are important:

Food? Yes, everyone needs to be fed. But do you remember what you ate three days ago? 

Makeup? You want to accentuate your beauty. But how long do you keep makeup on? 

Wedding dress? I’m approaching 12 years of marriage, and the last time my wife’s wedding dress saw the light of day was on our wedding day.

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I’m not saying that food, makeup, and your wedding dress aren’t important, but your pictures are the only wedding item you’ll engage with long after your wedding. From albums to prints and annual reminders on social media, your wedding photos will be the only tangible item from your wedding day you’ll refer to years later.

Think of it this way: You’re putting a lot of time and effort into your once-in-a-lifetime event. Would you want your hard work represented in - and your memories based on - cheap photos?

You know how the saying goes: You get what you pay for. 

Have any wedding photography questions or want to schedule a consultation? Send Stan a message!

Raleigh Union Station Photo Shoot: A Second Chance for Memorable Moments

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Photographing someone’s wedding is one of the most precious responsibilities a photographer can have, but if they screw it up, there’s no second chance. Not only do the mistakes last a lifetime, but the wedding couple never forgets, a fact Christina and Royal can attest to.

“Mr. Chambers…your brother mentioned that you’re a renowned photographer,” Christina wrote to me in a Facebook message, referring to one of my Iota Phi Theta fraternity brothers. “Are you still in the photography business?”

Do birds fly, lol.

My real answer was more professional, of course, but the ensuing conversation centered around her desire for pictures of her and her husband because “our wedding pictures were crap” and that “friends & family took better pictures.”

Although I didn’t take the crappy wedding photos, her words impacted me because a bad impression of any photographer hurts the entire photography profession. If a bride’s trust in a wedding photographer was betrayed, then why would she trust a professional photographer for anything else, especially if friends and family took better pictures?

Christina and Royal wanted simple pictures. A few posed shots along with photos of them playing spades. My immediate thought was Raleigh Union Station, which has quickly become one of my favorite places to shoot since moving back to the Raleigh-Durham area in September.

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While Christina and Royal live near Winston-Salem, they were willing to drive to downtown Raleigh. I love it when clients are willing to make a true investment into the quality of their photos. Photo shoots are not just about the photographer giving direction – it’s a collaborative effort that can yield great results.

Here’s another way they were truly invested – Christina was in the early stages of the flu and was fighting a 100.2 fever on the day of our shoot. While one could tell in person that she wasn’t feeling well, her sickness wasn’t noticeable in the pictures.

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Speaking of pictures, I love when I capture couples that are just being themselves. Sure, a couple that’s not used to having professional pictures taken will need some posing guidance, but in my experience, the best pictures are often the unscripted ones, and Christina and Royal were no different.

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But the best part was what Christina and Royal got out of the experience.

“When we learned that Stan was back in NC, we immediately jumped on the opportunity to have him recreate the moment we lost,” she wrote in her review. “He did an amazing job. I will recommend him to anyone who’d need a memorable moment captured professionally and with class.”

More importantly, I’m glad Christina and Royal recaptured some of the magic that was lost through their “crap” wedding photos.