Are you considering the snowy playground or hot sun-kissed mountains of Whistler for your setting?
Are you tip-toeing your way through vendors and venues, asking questions, opening a spreadsheet and embarking on creating your first budget?
Are you wondering how much wedding photography costs in Whistler?
If you find yourself nodding your head right now, you’re in the right place. This is a (rather thorough) pricing guide of what wedding photography can cost. From how little to how much and what you can expect to receive in exchange for your hard earned dollars. And what you need to steer clear from.
How to spot the newbies from the seasoned
Photography, especially wedding photography, is one of those careers that has yet to be standardized. What I mean by that is you don’t need any fancy 3 or 4-letter combinations that you paid a lot of money for after your name. Anyone can set up a shop. Brand yourself, throw up a website, swing open the doors, throw a party and boom, you’re in business. It’s not easy for an outsider to peer in with fresh eyes and easily see the difference without considerable time spent researching. Websites can offer insight but are by nature, built to sell. Venues and wedding planners have their list of recommended vendors, but they’re often very similar offering photographer A, B and C. You’re left hanging wondering where to slot in photographer D that a friend referred to you. It can be tricky. It comes down to transparency. A French novelist, Louis-Ferdinand Celine said
What is written clearly is not worth much, it’s the transparency that counts.
It’s difficult to know which questions to ask unless your photographer educates and empowers you with knowledge to make informed decisions. A seasoned photographer will speak to this without nuances, lingo or vagueness. No question is off limits. They will offer sound advice based on experience and they will talk openly searching to find a connection with you. A seasoned photographer will help you find the right solution for your unique needs.
Can wedding photography cost $10,000?
You are seeking a service, a talent, a personality, an experience, a mind reader and a predictable result for the most important day of your life. No biggie. For all of that, wedding photography can range from $1,000 to $10,000. Gasp…I know. Let’s get started.
Who you are hiring?
There are three choices: a photographer, a team and an agency. Regardless of your choice, you’ll need to have lot’s of opportunity to decide exactly who will be shooting your wedding. And if you choose an agency, time to get to know the actual photographer that has been matched up to you. There’s three areas to zone in on when you meet your potential photographer to get to know them.
Photographer’s Experience (school, life and skills)
Since photography is a career that doesn’t require a diploma, every photographer has a different background, story and sets of skills. All of which falls under the photographer’s experience and will influence their craft.
Personality (the unteachable)
One of the most interesting aspects of wedding photography is that for the photographer it is an equal mix of creativity and strict guidelines. They are required to be creative within the strict timeframe of a live event. Their interaction with you and your guests will have a direct impact on the type of images they are able to capture. Not a small task even for the best of them. This is where their personality takes over and you quickly distinguish the ones that where born to do this. They strive and have this unspoken ability to be “on” when needed. This one comes down to a “feeling” upon interviewing them, you will feel if they are the right fit for you and your guests.
Gear (it’s not the only thing but it sure helps)
A skilled photographer will capture gorgeous images whether they have an iPhone or a $10,000 camera. Because they have been trained to do so, have the experience, the skills and the eye. The gear however, will help take the work to the next level. The equipment is the assurance that regardless of the environment, weather and available light, they can promise you the outcome you want. An established photographer will also be able to carry the same quality backup equipment to offer you peace of mind for the unpredictable.
Shoot & burn vs TLC
This particular topic is always a very sensitive one for any photographer. Each has their own unique workflow and various, often extensive, process. Shoot & burn has become an expression among photographers when the era of digital photography took hold of the market. Simply put a photographer “shoots” your wedding and simply “burns” these exact images without any post processing work to a disk and delivers them as is to the client. Assuming that the above is not the preferred choice for a wedding you now find a very large scale of various extensive levels of post processing, aka TLC processing. Some photographers will outsource this part of their work while others will strive and see it as an essential part of their craft. The various levels of involvement for Tender Loving Care processing from simple, skin tone, colour balance and cropping to removal of blemishes, diminished dark circles under the eye and artistic enhancement such as antique or vibrant “looks”. This can become a very extensive part of the photographer’s work and understandably quite time consuming. In this area, I do believe it is fair to say, you get what you pay for.
Not all photographers are created equal
Weekend warrior: A person that has a certain passion for photography and chooses to offer their services on weekends, typically because they rely on his weekday job to secure themselves a steady income.
Professional wedding photographer: A photographer that has been dedicating his full time to the art of wedding photography and is able to secure a full time living.
The law of supply and demand
There only so many Saturdays in the summer. It’s a tough yet true reality. As in any other area of life, when you find a good one hold on to it. A wedding photographer can rely on only so many Saturdays in the summer to generate their predictable income. In certain destination wedding locations, the demand is there to often require them to capture weddings all year long but those Saturdays in the key summer months are still a hot commodity and it’s reflected in prices.
How much does wedding photography cost in Whistler?
What’s the bottom line? $1,000 to $10,000 … really? Yes. But to put it in perspective and in effort of being fully transparent, here’s the top end and low end range that you’ll find with a ‘typical’ rate. Remember all the factors above play a role in these rates.
Free to $1,200, typically $500
$350 to $1,200, typically $600
Gadbois: $350 if on the wedding day, $500 for a dedicated photo shoot
$500-$2,500, typically $1,700
Single full day wedding $1,500-$6,500, typically $4,000
Half day wedding
$1,000 to $3,200, typically $2,500
Have a list of questions ready when you meet with your chosen photographers and treat it like an interview. They should be able to put all of their information comfortably on the table for you. Hiring the right wedding photographer is a huge decision but I’m confident that with some tools and knowledge, you’ll find exactly who you’re looking for.