You go to a bridal show, find one with the right package price and a great deal, a pretty booth with pretty pictures (or movies) and sign on the dotted line. You get to go home happy you saved a lot of money and check wedding photography, wedding videography, or wedding cinematography off the wedding planning list until you end up following up for the free engagement session or maybe a couple of weeks before your wedding to make sure you’re on the same page.
But that’s not how it’s supposed to be!
It’s supposed to be so much better than that! (Can you tell we are passionate about this?!) In this blog series, we will share... (click for info about the series)
In this blog series, we will share exactly what to look for, how much to pay, what to ask, and essentially how to go through the process of picking a wedding photographer / videographer / cinematographer. First, it’s important to go over some important characteristics and why they’re important!
Don’t assume all wedding photographers, wedding videographers, or wedding cinematographers are the same!
What you are actually paying for could be much different from your expectations (especially after reading this series). Here are eight (potentially surprising) secrets about the field of wedding photo/video/cinema:
- Not all of us are professionals.
- Not all of us do this as our full-time job.
- Not all of us care about the art of photography.
- Not all of us keep up with trends and the market.
- Not all of us are active members of professional associations.
- Not all of us design the experience our clients have.
- Not all of us educate our clients on the benefits (and drawbacks) of different media for images.
- Not all of us share our success by giving back to those in need.
We will cover why each one of these characteristics is relevant to you with different posts—so you don’t have to take it all in at once!
What does ‘full-time’ mean?
A Full-Time Professional Wedding Videographer / Cinematographer / Photographer is basically a professional who does this as their only (or primary) source of income.
- Intangibly, it means the wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers are focused on one field of expertise for their career.
- Practically, it means the wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers have the ability and flexibility to serve clients (you) without distractions, work commitments, or other inconveniences.
What this means for you:
Most “professional” photographers / videographers / cinematographers (even though they are playing by the rules) don’t actually do this for their full-time job. This may seem inconsequential to you at first, but it’s actually a big deal.
Wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers that don’t work full time will (in most cases) spend a minimum of 2,000 hours a year (40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year) focused on work that doesn’t relate to wedding photography / videography / cinematography. What can you do with 2,000 hours a year? Full-time wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers spend it honing their craft and refining their business. Which would you prefer for your once-in-a-lifetime moment?
Non full-timers have limited availability to begin with, as their schedules are controlled first-and-foremost by their full-time employer. Full-time photographers / videographers / cinematographers are their own employers (or work closely with their employer) and can be flexible to your convenience. With part-timers or weekenders, you’ll be competing with their family, friends, and social lives for the remaining 3-4 hours of free time (usually less) per day they (might) have to devote to serving you.
The full-timer values your relationship so much more. Full-timers get up in the mornings and work to exceed your expectations because you are the one investing in them and putting food on their tables. Their financial loyalties aren’t divided, and because of that they invest their time and energy to create something that is worth what you have paid—not only to make sure you are happy this once, but also that you would come back again one day when you have photo / video / cinema needs in the future. All because your experience was so good.
Turnaround time is a big distinction as well—full-timers commit 10-12 hours (usually more) each day to their work, and your wedding or session is getting processed sooner and faster than someone who can only commit to a few hours every few days. It takes regular skill to process and edit a full wedding, and you’ll probably be disappointed on how long you must wait if you don’t hire a full-timer.
Wedding Tips Series
Part 1: Where You Get Ready Matters
Part 2: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 1 (Why Hire a Professional?)
Part 3: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 2 (Why Does Full-Time Matter?)
Part 4: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 3 (What is the ‘Art of Photography’?)
Part 5: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 4 (Why Professional Associations Matter)
Stay tuned for more great tips by getting social with us!
P.S.: Want to customize your wedding photography or cinematography experience?
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Do you have any additional advice or suggestions for other brides about why to hire a full-time professional? Share them in the comments below!