Who’s capturing your wedding memories?

I’ve said this before – my family knows it, the boy’s family knows it – the wedding photographs and video are THE most important part to me. I started researching photographers in February itself, but I think I stopped once I realised what a bomb it costs to get a good photographer and videographer. It was scary!

But then again, everything about a wedding is scary – that lengthy guest list, how much your trousseau will cost, the jewellery your parents insist on buying for you and tell you it’s an “investment”, the lehenga you will never wear again, realising you will need to start taking responsibility of an entire household…the list is never ending.

But, I digress. So, photographers and their price tags. My dream wedding videographer would be Vishal Punjabi’s team at The Wedding Filmer and dream photographers would be Snigdha & Vinayak of Photo Tantra. But they cost SO much. But I really really want them. Of course, let me mention that I have not checked out the work of ALL the potential photographers and videographers yet.

Now, my parents have been more supportive than I had expected, as has the boy. They’re still to digest how much all of this costs, but they’ve definitely understood that hiring these people means getting an output that’s a whole different level.

See, I’m not saying it’s only these pros who can click amazing candid moments. The guy who captured my roka ceremony turned out to be fantastic. He was just somebody who’d covered a few corporate functions my father had attended, I had no hand or inclination to select the photographer for that small ceremony – but he managed to capture certain expressions on our faces that are so typical of the fiancé, so typical of me – and to think we didn’t even realise when these images were clicked! And then there were a few moments of us conversing intensely (probably me bickering away about how the lady at the parlor was attempting to give so much volume to my hair that my head had started to faintly resemble that of a creature from outer space). Point is – he came cheap, he captured candid and he was discrete. Ideal, right?

Maybe not. I’m not sure if I’m right about this, but I feel like – if you hire somebody like The Wedding Filmer or Photo Tantra, their sensibilities are closer to yours. Maybe they are more discrete, maybe you’re more open to telling them your story and letting them in, maybe they’re more interested in capturing that story in the pictures. But at the end of the day, is it worth the huge dent in your bank account?

The answer still eludes me.

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7 Comments

  1. Hi there – got to your blog from a comment you left on my blog 🙂 Read your post – I feel your pain. Really I do. Weddings are a very large production for anyone – the people who have endless supply of money and the people with a budget. There is always something that will extend the budget and wedding photography is one of those.

    One of the reasons some of the good & well-known wedding photographers charge “so much” is because they have experience. While an amateur or a photographer who has never shot a wedding earlier – but who has shot something else – will be able to shoot, they will not be as prepared as someone with experience. Believe me when I say that I have seen it all – from bridezillas, to the snarky mother in laws, the extremely helpful excel sheets, the drunk men, the failed speedlight, the corrupted memory card, the traffic jams, the burnt lehenga, the drunk priest, etc. I have seen it, I know how to deal with it and I know how to make sure that no matter what happens, I am there to photograph the wedding just the way the girl envisioned it.

    That is one of the major things that clients pay for when hiring someone who is experienced – we know what we are doing and we make it seem effortless. As a bride, you need to think about how badly you will regret not hiring the photographer you wanted. Ideally, weddings happen once in a lifetime – are you prepared to be “ok” with so-so images or will you forever hide your album and DVDs under your clothes in the bottom shelf of your cupboard?

    Even if you think you are not going to be able to afford a “high-end” wedding photographer, think again. For example, I charge in the range of Rs. 25,000 per hour. But it is not mandatory that you have to hire a wedding photographer like me for the entire 4-day duration of your wedding. Prioritize your events – what do you absolutely want to see in that album ten years from now? Work from there and try to fit that in your budget. Maybe you can afford the photographer for 10hours – divide those ten hours into chunks of which events you want. [ i charge for waiting time too – so you will need to figure out what works best for you as well as the photographer ]. Also, generally in the non-wedding season or the “lean” season, wedding photographers can charge less. If you came to me in December and said you wanted me for ten hours but instead of 25k, you want it in 20k, I probably will politely but firmly tell you it is not possible – December is CRAZY and lowering my prices then is like career-suicide.

    It’s a lot of work being a wedding photographer : 12 horus of shooting time, thousands of images to sort / edit. I shoot about 3,000 to 4,000 images in 12 hours and I deliver about 240 – 480 images in total. [ the emphasis being on quality & art rather than quantity ] I spend an average of 10 to 20 minutes per image, which is roughly 120 hours of editing and post-production. Plus the travel time of at least 3 hours within just NCR [ if it is a Delhi wedding ].

    And I really do feel your angst – it’s like this thing that no matter what you do, till the end, you cannot be sure if this was the right way to do it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event but there is a budget to be contended with.

    All the best and giant bear hug 🙂

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    1. Hi Naina! Thanks for sharing 🙂
      And thanks for the tips! I agree that hiring someone who is experienced with shooting Indian weddings is really important because they tend to be complicated chaotic multiple day affairs. But, that’s the thing – I want one photography and videography team to cover all the events and provide me with a comprehensive yet consolidated wedding album(s). Isn’t it ok to want all your demands met from a single source?

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    2. Of course it is ok to want all demands met from a single source – there are teams that do video + stills. And even those who don’t have a team usually have someone they can call up to ask for support. For example, in my “team” there’s me and my second shooter [ also husband ] and we both shoot only stills. But if a client needs video as well, I have two vendors who shoot documentary video too and can get them on board for that client. Especially in the photography business I don’t know anyone who has “employees” who shoot stills + video AND do a good job. The nature of documentary / candid photography / videography is such that having employees is not ideal.

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    3. Hi Naina! Apologies for such a late response, but I’m curious – what do you mean by “The nature of documentary / candid photography / videography is such that having employees is not ideal”?

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  2. Dear Delhi Bride!

    Its very humbling to know that you consider us to be your dream wedding photographers. It is always a pleasure to work with people who understand and love our work. Do let me us know when your wedding is and mail us your requirement and your budget at vinayak@phototantra.com. I will definitely let you know what we can do for you. Loads of love and best wishes for your wedding.

    Cheers,
    Vinayak and Snigdha

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  3. Hi shinjani,
    I love love your blog!!!
    I’m looking for photographers for my sisters engagement, could you please provide contact details of the photographers who covered your functions ..All the good ones you would recommend 🙂 I’m very short on time since the function is in the first week of July and therefore would request if you could provide them asap. Thank you so much !!!
    Wedding and reception is in November

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