Disclaimer: this is not a post justifying the cost of hiring a wedding photographer. It's a different type of post than that.
So, let's start simple. What would you pay for this photograph?
Without any background knowledge, and pretending this is your wedding, you might say, "I'd pay $1 for that photograph, Maybe $3" or maybe you'd start big and say "I'd pay $20 for that photograph".
But let's say, you have the background knowledge that the speech being given is incredibly meaningful, powerful, and heart-wrenching? What if you saw that every face in this image is near tears, and many of your guests were in tears? What if you knew this moment was pivotal and emotional and grounding?
Then what? $50? $100?
What if this image was never taken in the first place?
You can try to justify wedding photography on a per image cost or a per hour cost - but you can't put a price on an image that wasn't taken in the first place.
Well somebody out there is probably thinking, "but if it was never taken, you don't know what you're missing". And I would be inclined to agree - at first.
Except, what if this image aligns perfectly with your values? What if the biggest value at your wedding is your family and a room full of people you love? What if this speech perfectly aligned with those values too, and this was an unforgettable moment for you?
But what if you hired a photographer that mainly photographs perfect poses and perfect moments and ignores the in-betweens?
This isn't a post to justify the cost of a wedding photographer. This is a post to justify the cost of a wedding photographer who shares your values.
Whatever those values are, I can't write them for you. But I can encourage you to take action in choosing somebody who creates art with those same values. Hiring a wedding photographer who create beautiful images is easy - most of them do. But can they create images that are exactly what you need?
The perfect blending of couple meets event meets vendor is when all of their goals and interests align.
That perfect match is what skyrockets the value of a photograph to you.
And trust me, it skyrockets the value for me as well.