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Many couples wonder why 4 to 10 hours of taking photos costs more than a days work or why some photographers charge more than others. The main reasons are time and quality.
These are some of the things that take time:
One 6 hour wedding with two cameras can easily yield 1,000 photos. The first step I take is called "culling". This involves going through all of the photos and removing any that are either doubles of another photo, have closed eyes, unflattering facial expressions or poses (this happens when snapping candids), out of focus subjects (people moving quickly), or any other issue that makes a photo not the best of the best. This process is sometimes repeated for thoroughness and it takes lots of time to go through so many photos.
The next step varies by photographer but also takes time. Some photographers will import the remaining 500 or so photos into Lightroom and apply a pre-made preset to all of the photos at once. This is the fastest way although not the most ideal as almost always, pre-made presets do not work for every photo.
One preset might look great for a photo taken on a cloudy day but when applied to a photo taken in the AZ sun, it will look off. A photo taken with flash during the reception will not look the same with a preset meant for sunset photos. When used incorrectly, presets can have undesirable results such as skin tones looking orange or greenery turning grey. Quality conscious photographers such as myself however, will go through and create custom presets for their photos and that work the best for them. This takes more time but yields the best results by far.
Below are examples of a popular pre-made preset compared to a custom one. While this preset might work great under different conditions, for these photos it produced a grey and orange effect that, while interesting, does not authentically depict the moment.
Wedding Photography Process & Pricing Explained
After going through the photos in Lightroom at least once and perfecting color, lighting, and other elements, I go back again and retouch details in Photoshop. These can include things like blemishes, skin texture, teeth, chins, tums and bums, removing sweat or wrinkles from clothes or clutter from backgrounds, fixing stray hairs, exposed bra straps, and the list goes on. Some couples have specific requests for retouching as well. This process, while time consuming, is essential to creating those stunning, magazine worthy photos that take your breath away. And yes, even models get the treatment!
All that said, it is entirely possible to find someone with a DSLR or other camera to take photos at your wedding for less. I was that person when I first started out and I appreciate very much every couple who gave me the chance to learn, gain experience, and grow my portfolio. Just don't ask me to go back and look at those photos now. lol
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