“You’re paying HOW much for wedding photography?” is often what we hear bandied around by shocked relatives and friends when it comes to wedding photography and the somewhat seemingly exorbitant prices talented photographers can charge.
Often I’ve wanted to weep into my celebratory glass of fizz when friends tell me that they are not planning to budget much or prioritise the cost of a decent wedding photographer, or worse still, they’re going to ask a friend to photograph their big day.
The other day on facebook I read a wonderful post by Cat Hepple (an incredible wedding photographer) who shared so beautifully all the reasons why you really should invest as much as you can afford in your wedding photography.
*Sarah* was spending 35% of her entire wedding budget on my wedding photography services.
Her overall budget was modest, and yet she chose to use over one third of it for wedding photography.
Her decision to prioritise her imagery over many other elements of her wedding day, left some startled and confused.
Why would she not place more significance and importance on her memories rather than say her transport, or her favours?
She had realized something. She had seen what she was REALLY prioritising., and valuing.
When you begin to plan your wedding, you have a long list of “ must haves”, from florals to a venue, suits to stationery, they all demand your attention and all seem essential to the “ perfect “ wedding.
Photography is on that list and usually high up. You are told in magazines and on blogs that you simply must have photos of your wedding.
Except it’s not photography. It’s not pictures of your day that you really want.
It’s precious tiny droplets of moments in time recorded for you to recall and look back on for decades to come. It is moments you didn’t even notice or forgot all about within a day or two after the wedding. It’s tiny fragments of time that otherwise would be lost forever.
Emotions you felt on the day that you have long forgotten when you reach your 50s, 60s, 70s…It’s the ability to re-live those emotions, the tears, the overwhelming joy, the nerves, the first moment you saw one another; the emotions that make us human, that tell us we are alive.
Precious family members who may not be around in 20, 30 years, it’s recording them as their vibrant and most beautiful selves. It’s the moments that pass between you on that day, that may never pass again. It’s wrapping them up and beautifully keeping them to delicately unwrap in the decades to come for solace, comfort, reassurance.
Sharing of memories and people with the newer members of your family as you reach old age. Sharing the experiences, the stories, the feelings, creating new memories and connections.
If you invest in your wedding photography you no longer think of your photography as just another thing to add to the long list of needs for your wedding day, you stop placing it alongside candy carts, table décor, favours…
You see things differently.
You know it’s not the memories of your choice of chair cover sash you’ll be cherishing in 20 years when your grandchild asks you about your big day.
You know that a picture will carry someone’s beautiful heart in all its glory, and when you look at it, it’s like looking into their soul once more.
You know you’ll have precious fragments of jewels, tiny sparkly memories, transient and only just caught in time.
It will be your photographs.
As the years fly past it’s your images of your wedding day which you’ll reach for time and time again to remember the day by.
The images will be your first place to go to when a loved one passes, and you search out the most beautiful images of them.
It’s your photographs you will dig out of the loft to share with newer members of your family when they ask how you met, what you wedding day was like.
Everything else you will pay for, on your wedding day will be gone the very next day. (Except of course your wedding rings) The décor, the food, the cake, the shoes and just about everything else is redundant after your big day. It lasts just for the day itself.
While you want it all to be beautiful, its beauty, its relevance is fleeting.
Unlike your photographs. They will slowly, year by year become more and more valuable and precious.
They will take you back, make you feel something once more, experience it, breath it in, live it, remember what was and what will always be.
They will connect future generations with you and who you were, when you are no longer around for them to meet and get to know.
They will provide evidence that you lived, that you mattered, that you loved and were loved.
Isn’t that what we all strive for, ultimately?
In 30 years as you celebrate your wedding anniversary together and struggle to recall the names of everyone who was there, you’ll head over to a dusty box of photographs, wipe the surface and gingerly carry them over to the table, added wedding photographer Paul David Smith.
You’ll lift the lid and pour over them one by one. You’ll laugh, you’ll maybe wipe a tear or two away, you’ll remember and you’ll be connected to those you see. You’ll relive the stories, you’ll sometimes sit in silence and just hold an image close to you, eyes tightly closed, holding back the tears. You’ll feel again, you’ll be back on your wedding day breathing in the moments.
Investing in your wedding photography isn’t a luxury, it isn’t extravagance.
We live on a tiny blue dot, in the unimaginable vastness of Space. We want to feel our lives matter, that we have made a difference, that we are not insignificant, that we are mighty and majestic.
When you invest in your wedding photography, you are investing in your life, your memories, the proof of who you are and what you represent. The beautiful you.
To have something which connects you and others to the most beautiful, unexpected, and impermanent moments of your life is an extraordinary gift.
That is what wedding photography is.
What a precious gift to give yourself and those you love.
What a fantastically emotive guest post from Cat Hepple Photography on the importance and real meaning of wedding photography and why we should really invest in beautifully preserving those precious memories.
Cat is a talented fine art wedding photographer – please do check out her work!
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