“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” – Warren Buffet
When a client approaches us for shooting their wedding, quite obviously they have a lot of questions. They ask how many years have we been in the business, what is our signature style of wedding photography, how many wedding projects we accept in a year, and so on. A lot of clients who aren’t already familiar with our work, and have not been following us for a while, also do ask us, why is there a considerable price difference between our economy services and our signature services. We even get questions like, ” Isn’t Wedding Shoot, all about just 2 photographers and 2 videographers, coming and doing a shoot and then turning in the edited data? “
So we thought of coming up with this post, where we show the break up of our expenditures as a company, in a few of the areas, for delivering every single of our Signature Wedding Projects. This will also help you to understand, how the quality of our deliverables significantly differs from a lot of others in the business, and also how that justifies the charges of our work.
The Crew Payment for executing each wedding project is broadly divided into two areas.
a) Front End ( on location costs of the shoot)
b) Back End ( everything from bringing the project lead to editing and final product delivery)
The Front-End Crew
1. The Project Manager – Our Project Manager is responsible for all follow-ups pertaining to the project, Coordination between the crew and the client, coordination within the team, and planning and assigning the appropriate team ( members) for the project.
2. The Creative Art Director – The Creative Art Director is mainly responsible for Project Concept Making, Scripting, Storyboarding, Moodboarding, Production Design, Creative Art Direction, Shot Choreography ( including directing for poses), and also advising on the Post-Processing of the content generated from the event.
3. Lead Photographer/s ( Candid ) – The Lead Candid Photographer is the team lead of the project on location and the rest of the team more often than not works according to his creative instructions and overall shoot plan. Usually, he is the most experienced and skilled crew member on the Photography team and gets the best shots. His remuneration is entirely dependent on his professionalism, experience, and most importantly his skill level, i.e, whether he is a low-end or an average, or a high-end photographer based on his photographic talent. The lead photographer is not just a photographer but also needs to be an able and efficient team manager. At times if sub-events of the same wedding project are happening simultaneously at a different location, we would be needing multiple lead photographers who can independently guide their respective small teams at the various locations.
4. Second Lead Photographer/s (Candid) – The second lead wedding photographer or the assistant wedding photographer is the second-best talent we can provide next to the lead wedding photographer, who, if needed, can also double as a replacement for the lead wedding photographer. The second wedding photographer works under the instructions of the lead photographer but can also quite capable take independent decisions wherever required to add to the project. The second shooter’s remuneration is also entirely dependent on his professionalism, experience, and skill level, i.e, whether he is a low-end or an average, or a high-end photographer based on his photographic talent.
5. Additional Photographer/s (Candid)– Depending on how elaborate the requirements are of a project, we might need to use more candid photographers, who are exclusively trained by us and have been working with the team for years and know exactly the kind of shots we need. The additional candid photographers work as a part of the team led by the lead photographers and under their instructions.
6. Traditional Photographer/s – Traditional photographers mainly take non-creative posed group photos, individual portraits, and straight shots of the rituals. According to the requirement of the project, the number of traditional photographers that has to be deployed is ascertained by the project manager.
7. Photo Assistant/s – Every Lead Photographer ( and even the second leads at times) needs their personal dedicated photography assistants ( at least one or two of them), to help them with, holding the lights, carrying/shifting the lights from one location to another, and also handing over lenses and accessories.
8. Lead Cinematographer – Much like the Lead Candid Photographer, the Lead Cinematographer, or D.O.P, is the team leader of the Wedding Film on location, and the rest of the team works according to his creative instructions and overall shoot plan. He is of course the most experienced and skilled crew member on the Filmmaking team and gets the most creative footage. His remuneration is also entirely dependent on his professionalism, experience, visual aesthetics, film sense, and craftsmanship, i.e, depending on whether he is a low-end or an average, or a high-end cinematographer based on his filmmaking talent. The lead filmmaker also needs to be an able and efficient team manager and director of the Wedding film project. At times if sub-events of the same wedding project are happening simultaneously at a different location, we would be needing multiple lead filmers who can independently guide their respective small teams at the various locations.
9. Second Lead Cinematographer– The second lead wedding filmer is a vital part of the wedding filmmaking team, for the sheer reason that no film can be shot on a single camera. Every filmmaker needs to use a block-lens ( one with a fixed focal lens, that cannot be zoomed in or out), and so for taking closeup profile shots there needs to be one filmmaker, and for distance shots with more of a wider view of the rituals and the environment.
The second wedding cinematographer works under the instructions of the lead filmmaker. The second filmer’s remuneration is also entirely dependent on his professionalism, experience, visual aesthetics, film sense, how well he can understand the instructions/requirement of the director and execute it, and his skill level, i.e, whether he is a low-end or an average, or a high-end filmer.
10. Additional Cinematographers– Additional Cinematographers are a usual requirement of a great quality Wedding feature film because the film is a montage of edits of different kinds of shots. Of the rituals, the people, the environment, behind-the-scene footage, the details, the blink-and-you-miss-it-moments, and everything else.
11. Cinematography Assistant – Just as the Photographers need assistants, so do the cinematographers, to help them with sound taking, holding the lights, carrying/shifting the lights from one location to another, and also handing over lenses and accessories.
12. Drone Pilot – Drone footages lend a magical larger-than-life feel to any Wedding Film with its epic movie-like shots, taking in the entire set of a beautiful wedding from up above in a bird’s eye view. A good drone-pilot is a master of stable movements and amazing scene compositions. Also, more updated versions of drome offer more stability. Our team prides itself in having, not just Drone Pilots that are experienced drono-graphers, but who also have Operational Authority, vide valid certifications as Registered Drone flyers and their Drones are registered separately as well. This authorization is reissued annually upon receipt of satisfactory documents, insurance, and flight logs upon receiving a copy of drone-specific insurance and risk assessments. Having worked on multiple Government and International projects, we know how to give the security of your project paramount importance, and thus it is essential that the permits are in place.
The Back-End Crew
1. Sales Team: Perhaps the most important of all our back-end crew is our Business Developers.
a) The person who generates the lead and
b) the executive who processes and closes the lead
are all paid their fair share.
2. The Editing and Printing Team
a) Photo Editor– The most important person in the back-end crew is perhaps the Editor. No matter how good the photos are, if the editor is not skilled enough, the end result will not be up to your expectations. A skilled and experienced editor has studied long enough to know how to maintain a pleasing exposure and color balance in all your photos. How to render the skin in the most natural and even tone. How to work separately with the sky, the greenery, light and shadows, and the people in every photo to create the perfect contrast and in special edits perhaps in the final stage, even rendering each photo in a fine-art color tone. An excellent photo editor is likely to invest an insane amount of time in rendering perfect edits to the photographs. A photo editor who is pressurized to yield a large number of photos in a short amount of time usually has to resort to batch processing and therefore they cannot do fine editing separately for each photograph. A low-end editor is not very skilled with the basics of color correction and often ends up ruining the photos by directly applying pre-made filters for all photos without adjusting the settings for each of the photos individually.
b) Photo Retoucher– The special portraits ( according to the package the Client has chosen) , goes for extensive high-end beauty retouching works, and each one of the portraits can take several hours to do pixel-level editing. These are usually portraits that are chosen by the client for making large canvas prints and putting them up in their homes. The remuneration of a photo-retoucher is not just skill level based, but also based on how many hours of painstaking editing are required to finish retouching one single photo.
c) Photo Compositor – A lot of times there are photos where the couple or people in them look good, but there are multiple distracting objects, or maybe the sky is washed out, so the overall photo appears to look really bad. In those cases, if the client chooses a few photos that they want where major parts of the entire photo need to be removed, replaced, or taken out, then that process comes under compositing. This process usually takes a very long time and the process is cumbersome.
d) Album designer – Album designers are specially trained in operating certain software that is used for designing an album page by page. It’s a cumbersome and laborious process that takes a lot of time to be finished. The design happens with continuous feedback and coordination from the clients. At times a lot of graphic designing templates, fonts, texts, and other elements are also used in the case of luxury heirloom coffee-table books and that complicates the process manifold. Our Album Designers again charge according to their sense of aesthetics, in-depth knowledge of designing, and expertise in rendering the final majestic output.
e) Album Printer– The printer obviously charges, according to the kind and quality of printing paper and ink to be used, the binding type, the number of pages, the kind of cover material and cover artwork, the size of the album, whether the delivery is to be expedited and so on. Album accessories are always an add-on.
f) Film Editor– The film editor is by far the most important technician on the film post-processing desk. S/he goes through several terabytes of data to seamlessly weave a story out of individual clips that would otherwise look meaningless in their standalone capacity. How knowledgeable the film editor is, whether s/he has actual feature or documentary film-making experience ( and professional training), and how good his/her aesthetics are around constructing a story, how efficiently he or selects the right clips which are most interesting to create an emotionally moving film, how smoothly he can make the transitions from one clip to another, how well he can stabilize the jerky or hand-held movements, how well s/he can eliminate the parts that are taking away the focus from the subject of the clip ( wherever possible), all are extremely important things to consider while we are making a film, and marks the editor’s ability or finesse in editing. Our wedding film editors have received international education in their respective field of expertise and thus brings in the flavor of global film sense in the weddings they edit. The first draft of the edit might take three or more months to prepare, without the color, audio, and other visual elements like graphics.
g) Film Colorist– After the film is edited, the footage is sent to the film colorist. The colorist is responsible for designing the film’s color scheme, in order to set a uniform, pleasant and specific style or mood in the film. He starts with the basic color correction of the overall film and moves on to the grading part. From local color adjustment to a person’s skin tone, the colorist also does global adjustments to the scene according to the time of the day, light settings, or the wedding theme/color tone to enhance the quality of the visuals. Colorists are the main artists, who have studied the science of color, all their life, and who give the film, its magical sheen. They bring life to the Filmmaker’s vision. This is a very specialized function and can take more than 2 months to perfectly color after the film is received from the editor’s desk.
h) Motion Graphics and Animation Artists – Our Video Graphics Artist and Animation Artist takes care of any graphics that are needed to be put inside the video. Be it subtitles, opening and end cards, or transition animation/graphics in between, they are the technicians that handle this seemingly small yet complicated part of the job.
i) Audio Engineer – Our Audio Engineer or Sound Engineer takes care of the mixing and reproduction of the sounds in the video. Most of the live recordings of the event require balancing and adjusting sound sources using equalization, dynamics processing, and audio effects, and mixing and reinforcement of sounds like follies wherever necessary. The separate microphone takes are mixed with the original footage later on by the engineer. For this reason, he needs to have a sound knowledge of the science of acoustics, and as a technician, he has studied audio engineering exclusively for this purpose. A sound engineer ( as commonly thought) is not just responsible for, selecting and mixing songs and background scores seamlessly into the video as is commonly perceived. His job is far more complex than that.
3. Other Essential Expenditures
a) Travel Expenses ( within the city ) for the on-field crew- Be it a 1-day or a 10-day event, the travel expenses within the city for our entire on-field crew needs to be managed by us as a company, and if you are aware of the cab-aggregator fares these days, you are also aware, it’s going to come out to be a lot. Any freelancer that we might hire, for the project, asks for the travel fare separately from his shooting charges, and rightly he should. Even if he is using his own mode of transport, petrol costs a lot, and he shouldn’t pay that fee from his own pocket if he is traveling for the client.
b) Meeting Expenses – Whether or not we get a project, the expenses of holding a meeting (traveling, coffee, and miscellaneous) are the same. At times we need to meet the Client multiple times before a project actually commences.
4. Office Expenses
a) Digital Expenses – The data that we use continuously for the job needs to be paid for, and for a fast and smooth internet connection to serve our clients better, we pay for high-speed corporate connections.
b) Electronic Expenses– Every electronic equipment has a life of its own and its inversely proportional to the amount of usage. So just as the life of a camera is counted by its shutter press life, so are our Macbooks, or the rest of the Macintosh machines. We use Apple machines and software because Mac machines render the most true-to-life colors in images and in prints. Apple maintained that technological lead for some time. They were the first company to implement the core operating system tools needed to calibrate monitors for accurate color management, correctly and transparently manage color profiles in their web browser, and integrate support for raw images in their file system. They paid attention to the needs of photographers, some of the senior people at Apple were photography enthusiasts, and they had the advantage of close integration of hardware and software. To date, the Mac color system is unbeatable, and we provide the very best to our clients. Clients who are aware of the market value of Apple products will know how expensive the products are and also how expensive are the upkeep of the products. Our entire editing system is from Apple, and that makes the colors absolutely unbeatable. We never compromise on the quality of products we deliver.
c) Electrical Expenses– To keep a fairly big editing setup running, along with the office, obviously, there are inevitable electric expenses, including a good few air-conditioners in the lab for continuous protection of equipment and critical data, so that machines do not get overheated and shut down suddenly while rendering a large amount of data, and thereby the entire data does not get corrupted. Humidity in a hot temperate climate damages equipment to a large extent and air conditioners partially protect them from the humidity. People who are from our land can easily form an idea, of how much we are getting billed for electricity, just to protect our labs and secure the client data. And also we value our staff. If they are uncomfortable, their productivity decreases and it reflects in their work. Would you work in an office where you are having to sweat profusely and still deliver your best work?
d) Storage Media – For every assignment that we execute we need to buy anywhere between 1 to 2 brand new external hard drives for photo and video separately, for our internal work. 1 for keeping the main data where we work from, and the other for storing a copy of that data as a backup. For our Clients, we often use Solid State Drives and not normal Hard Drives, because longevity and chances of getting corrupt for an SSD are much less, the boot-up speed is much faster, the read and write operations are much quicker, and files can be opened much faster, and the system doesn’t hang during operations that require larger uses of RAM. An SSD costs 3 to 4 times the price of a normal Hard Drive.
e) Hourly pay of certain office crew
5. Marketing and Promotional Expenses
a) Online Marketing – Anyone who has any knowledge of the internet, knows about digital marketing. With the old methods of television ads going almost extinct, the only significant way for your business to reach people en masse right now is through social media. Businesses like ours have to spend an insane amount of money just to be visible to people on different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Wedding Vendor Portals, or Google, and perhaps you reached us too, through one of these platforms unless you are referred to us by someone in person.
b) Offline marketing– Offline marketing mainly consists of print ads, in newspapers and magazines, subscribed to by our target segment of clients. It also comprises the expenses of flyers, billboards, digital hoardings, etc.
c) Public Relations
i) Features: 9 out of 10 times the feature articles that you read in several online or offline media publications are carefully crafted on receiving payment, and the media takes the business on a yearly retainer basis of x amount of money as a client, and posts / promotes features and advertisements/advertorials, periodically for the business.
ii) Joining Networking events and Premium Business Groups ensure, that we are taken seriously as service providers and that our work reaches the right platform.
a) Internal Training– A good part of our payment is also re-invested in imparting business training to our team ( most of the time through workshops by globally established photographers and filmmakers from several other countries) to ensure our knowledge is always updated to give the best service sans quality of work and professionalism both. We regularly carry out an internal training audit to check there is no gap in our expectations of delivery from the team and their existing skillset.
b) Software Purchase– Purchasing licensed software is an ongoing recurrent expense for any production house and it’s no different for us. We use different kinds of paid software for different functionalities, to generate a fabulous end product. And the reader must be aware, that the software license needs to be renewed every 9 to 11 months for continuous use approval, and it’s not just the one-time purchase amount. Also, software versions get updated pretty frequently and each time we need to reinvest to get the new version.
c) Awards and Competitions– Winning an award is a great way to have your talents recognized. And also to get media coverage. But award participation also involves, paying a reasonably good amount of entry fee.
d) Branding – It’s a highly competitive market and every business needs to invest periodically in branding to stand out from its competitors. Mostly a business like ours is almost entirely based on the visual appeal of the product.
7. Business Overhead
The other expenses are respectively:
a) Equipment Purchase, Rentals, and Upkeeping
b) Office Rentals and Maintainance
c) Office Assistant and Clerk
d) Office Stationeries
e) Office Manager
f) Payment of other employees including Business owners
g) Company Lawyer
h) Business Consultant
i) Chartered Accountant
So, our photography charges, as it goes, are only not the Recovery of the Prices of our Expensive Equipment and Software or the Recovery of our Education Fees and Investment on Gaining Years of Experience. It goes far beyond that, for every single assignment.
If a photographer promises you, that all of these different functional areas can be managed by him single-handedly at a very minimal cost, know that it’s impossible. And also that, a jack of all trades is a master of none.
If you have a very tight budget thus and we need to strip down our production cost from several areas, it will definitely reflect in the work. We cannot simply deliver the same work on a small budget because we have so many people in the production to pay!
Wedding Photography is a seasonal job mostly and we don’t take up more than 2 to 3 weddings in a month, in order to deliver the same kind of value unfailingly in each of our projects.
You might ask why don’t we take several low-end weddings or other much smaller projects in bulk as certain other businesses might do and sustain on that rather than taking 2 to 3 good projects that allow a playing field for creativity?
Let’s say you are a teacher and have a Ph.D. in Math. If you are teaching 10 students, in 2 batches in a day, 3 times a week, who are studying Math Hons in graduation, u are intellectually satisfied, and the payment is also commensurate with your knowledge, expertise, and caliber. Now let’s say I tell u, why don’t u teach 100 Nursery students in Math, 6 days a week, throughout the day, in 6 batches, and it might give you the same amount of income. Which one would u choose, that u think is intellectually more stimulating for you, worth your academic credentials, financially viable for you, and gives a good return of investment for time?
The answer is easy and is quite the same for us too, as Creatives. Just that it’s a bit tougher on our end because creatives fail to perform their best out of frustration if they are assigned a project which is not the right fit for their current level of skills and expertise they have.
In the end, however, it is definitely about your affordability and what’s the best that we are able to tailor for you within your budget. But then, as every price has its own value, the value we would be able to churn out of your project will directly depend on your budget and thus our production cost.
It is up to you to decide, whether you want to hire someone with a proven track record of delivering the best every time, have years of experience with a valuable client profile, pays attention to every detail of an assignment meticulously, insists on legally secure transactions, and does on-time delivery without a lag, and always work with backups, from data to devices to crew, or you want to settle for someone who has just started out, doesn’t have a proven track record, has a crew with a low-end skillset, doesn’t provide legally secure transaction, and may or may not deliver on time or deliver at all, the most precious memories of your life, just because they are charging a fraction of what a truly professional team must.
Thank you for making it this far.
Team WOWDINGS wishes you an awesome day ahead!
T H A N K . Y O U
Are you are looking for the uncontested best creative wedding photography in Delhi? then look no further! For the reason that we are not out to make just a reportage of your wedding day, we tell your story your own way.
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IMAGES USED: Film crew vector created by gstudioimagen – www.freepik.com, Business client photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com“>Sales Team, Sound Engineer , Office Meeting, Project meetings, Office Assistant, Miguel Ángel Hernández on Unsplash“>Second Lead Cinematographer, Printed Photos , Film Editor, davisuko on Unsplash“>Marketing, Office Training