Value Your Wedding Photographer
Yesterday, after I received some sad news about yet another wedding photographer colleague of mine having to cancel weddings due to stress, I wrote a post on Facebook. It got shared and commented on so many times, it must have captured a truth, so I thought I would share it here as well:
Well-intentioned loving "rant" ahead:
Dear sweet human beings who are getting married or getting engaged, now and in the future. I just received an email from a sweet couple who are getting married in 5 days and booked their wedding photographer months ago. The photographer in question has now been forced to cancel everything because he has gotten very ill with stress. Last summer I shot 2 last minute weddings because the same thing happened to a different colleague of mine. And 3 years ago I became very ill myself for the same reasons. Wedding photography is beautiful and fulfilling but also extremely stressful for us proffesionals who truly care about YOU and about the quality of the work we produce for you!
Wedding photography is NOT a super easy money maker! We don't swim in money! Only about 2-3 % of the wedding photographers I personally know both here in Denmark and worldwide are truly THRIVING financially shooting high end, high paying clients. The rest of us are struggling to make ends meet and to charge what we actually need to pay our bills, run our business, take care of our photography gear, website, insurance, book keeping, etc etc and still set aside for our own holiday and pension/retirement, and NOT having to shoot 50 weddings during the very short summer months where everyone wants to get married. Because that kind of intensive work every year WILL catch up with you.
I completely understand budgets! But every single couple I have ever had the pleasure of collaborating with on a big wedding day, have had a FAR bigger monthly income than me. I have been a full time wedding photographer for almost 10 years now, and in the past several years I have worked exclusively with kind, generous, appreciative people. But in the beginning of my career I always heard: "oh we can't afford to pay you more..." and then I would show up on the wedding day and see a 40.000 kr wedding dress, a 3.000 kr pair of shoes, and discover that the couple had put an expensive bottle of champagne as a welcome gift in every single room for their guests. You can swap the shoes or champagne for anything else, but the outcome is the same: For most people, "budget" is a question of PRIORITY and who you can "squeeze" and who you can't!
As we photographers usually work only with/for ourselves, and don't have a large overhead and multiple employees to pay + we LOVE what we do (and would, if possible, probably do it for free for the rest of our lives), we are usually the ones getting and allowing ourselves to be "squeezed".
Photographers: Value yourselves, your time and your energy! <3 it is a finite entity. I promise you. And once you stand in the situation where you have to cancel and let down a couple 4 days before their wedding day, I promise you too, you will feel like SHIT and would do practically anything to go back in time and take care of yourself, manage yourself and your time better, so you would not have to let anyone down.
If a couple can't afford your full day coverage, and you REALLY want to work with them, don't go down in price, ask them to go down in hours instead!
Beautiful people getting married: Value us photographers! Our responsibility on your wedding day is HUGE and there are no do-overs. If you can't afford full day coverage with a fair hourly rate for your photographer don't squeeze him or her. Settle for fewer hours of coverage.
Stress is horrible. And photographers are not the only people hit by this. Let is all value eachother and our health. At the end of the day our health and eachother is all we got! <3
Love to the world! Have a GREAT week! :-)