Large Wedding photography Studios vs. Smaller Boutique Wedding photography Studios?
Many future brides planning their weddings have a dilemma: "Should I hire a big Studio or a Private Wedding Photographer to photograph my wedding."
There are exceptions of course, but the following ideas may help you make this decision, and apply to the majority of the large-scale and small-scale professional wedding photographers.
When looking for a right wedding photographer, what do you do? Of course your first step should be to look for the photographs he /she takes, their style of wedding photography and then choose the wedding photographer you liked the most. By looking at the wedding photos of others taken by this wedding photographer - you will get a good idea of what your wedding photos are going to look like.
Unfortunately, when you are considering the larger wedding photography studios to photograph your wedding - you cannot be sure of what to expect in the type of the images you may get. The large wedding photography studios usually have many photographers and many contractor photographers - so by browsing the studio's portfolio and sample weddings - you have no idea if the photos on the website are truly representative of the actual photographer that will arrive to photograph your wedding.
On the contrary, when considering a boutique wedding photography studio, which usually consists of one or two professional photographers who as a rule are the owners of their photo studio - you can be sure that you are paying for, and will receive, quality equal to what you see on their web site.
The other benefit of hiring a smaller or private professional wedding photographer is that you are going to get a more personal approach to your wedding and the photographs. The photographer will be the same person will be working on the entire photo process - staring from your wedding photo shoot itself and ending with the processing of the photos, such as editing and retouching. This will result in higher quality, more personalized, images - as you will receive photographs reflecting the original vision of the artist.
In larger photo studios, after the photographer has photographed the wedding, he/she submits the unprocessed images to the studio and then studio staff work on the processing and retouching of the photos. It works more like an automated mechanical process, so you will not receive a "fine art," or personalized set of photos resulting from it. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photos are going through the hands of the same retoucher daily. No personal attention here whatsoever!
Naturally, large photo studios have large staffs - such as department managers, sales people, accountants, managers, photo retouchers, and then the photographers. All of these people need to be paid. And these large studios have additional expenses such as a rent of the studio, equipment costs, operational costs, and more.
So how do these larger vendors survive? They book thousands of weddings a year. And, frequently, especially when the wedding season is on - a great amount of weddings are scheduled for the same day! To be able to accommodate it - they hire contractor photographers - usually amateurs or inexperienced new professionals, who are very much underpaid by this studio, but are still willing to do the weddings just to gain experience. And so for your big day, a day for which you have planned for a year or more, you get a photographer, who has little or no experience, and may not even have his own equipment. You might get somebody you may not have ever considered had you known their experience and skill level in the beginning!
Let's think again about the personal approach and how important it is to create a strong and trusting bond between you and the photographer — that bond is vital to the ultimate goal of creating a most memorable and representative photo history of your wedding . I usually try to get to know my clients and learn as much as I can about their wants and needs for the wedding shoot. I try to meet with them at least once before the wedding, to go over the details, see the dress, go together to the wedding venue and discuss some of the wedding poses or ideas for the wedding photo shoot. My hope it that the bride and I can become friends and build a mutual trust that will help a great deal toward insuring a very successful wedding day, as the couple will be more relaxed and more comfortable in front of the camera, as you will not be a stranger before the photographer.
The big studios, cannot afford the time and money for that approach. The brides usually contact the sales people and tell them about their expectations for the photography. Then according to the schedule for that wedding day, some photographer gets assigned to the couple. And in majority of cases the first time you meet your wedding photographer is on the actual wedding day. Lots of unnecessary stress for everyone right?
Be aware of the pricing strategies you might encounter when you consider booking with one of the large studios. You usually deal with the final wedding packages that are not flexible, cannot be customized or exchanged. Again, that happens because it's cheaper and easier for the big vendors to standardize and control their products and packages and manipulate their customers into accepting the many standardized wedding photography contracts they sign per year.
Private vendors - are more flexible and although they may also have their own pre-designed packages to offer you, they are more flexible and willing to do customization according to your request.
So with these ideas in mind, let's look at some pros and cons when choosing between a small and a big wedding photography vendor.
First, let's see what choosing the Boutique Professional Wedding Photographer offers:
- What you see is what you get!
- More rapport and communication with photographer — a much more personal approach
You choose your photographer according to their style of photography, as well as the personality of the photographer
- You can choose among more flexible wedding packages
- Your chances for some really exceptional images of your wedding day improve dramatically
- You have more control over your choices
- Since there is only one or two photographers, the date of your wedding might be already booked
Secondly, what does choosing the Large Professional Wedding Photographer offer?
- Your wedding date is always available
- You don't know who is going to take your wedding photos and what is going to be the end-result
- Little or no communication with the photographer prior to the wedding, no personal approach
wedding packages are usually not customizable
- High chances of having a beginner or amateur photographer taking your photo
- Depending on the person you may not feel comfortable working with your photographer, you may not like his/her personality
- You have no control over your choice