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Photography/Wedding Photography Prices Chattanooga Tennessee



I'm getting married in a few months and have been shopping around for a wedding photographer. Most wedding photographers are outside my budget of $2,000 maximum. Why is wedding photography so expensive?  Is there a way I can determine what the best deal is other than the lowest price?


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Archival Gold DVD Wedding Package
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Hello Derek,

As a wedding photographer myself I feel the best "bang" you can get for the buck is finding a photographer who will provide the amount of coverage you need or want and sell you the full resolution retouched images on DVDs with no other purchase obligation.

This way you can later use the images to put together an album using any one of the many online album services available today.  Also you will have the DVD in case the album gets lost or damaged you will be able to make another album.  A few people will ask but what if I lost the DVD?  Well, the idea is that you can easily have many copies of the DVD among family and friends but the album is obviously a different story.

My pricing is first based on selling my photography and photoshop talents in the form of the DVD Wedding Package.  From there, if the bride wants to order a beautiful custom brand name wedding album, she may do so.  But no obligation.  Unlike many other photographers, I don't feel I must keep the high resolution images and hold them for ransom in order to get photo or album orders.  Why?  Because my photo finishing and album services are valuable and legitimate.  Plus, I simply appreciate the fact my customers chose me to be their photographer.  If they don't order photos and/or albums from me, this simply gives me more time for other business tasks or simply more free time for my family.  It also helps ensure the ultimate satisfaction of my customers since they are able to have wedding albums made which I might not be able to produce.

There are a few long time wedding photographers who do not like that there are photographers who provide the full resolution, retouched and copyright released wedding images on DVDs. The problem is those photographers can't or have great difficulty competing. As "album package photographers", they have a long tradition of charging people outrageous and very high prices for every single photograph.

A few photographers are writing articles with false information about DVDs. They are trying to convince brides that wedding photos on DVDs is not a good idea.

In one article, the photographer advises the bride and groom NOT to have their wedding photos burned to DVD.  He doesn't admit he is himself shooting with a digital camera. He also stores all the wedding images he creates on his hard drives and other electronic devices. He then uses computer hardware and software to create album layouts etc. So if you lose your wedding album in the future by moving, it gets damaged or lost somehow, does this mean that photographer cannot provide you the images because his JPEGs got outdated? His hard drives on which your JPEGs were stored got outdated? Of course not. It is probably safe to assume he will convert and keep your digital images updated as needed. Just like the rest of us do.

Even digital files such as JPEGs are developed and new digital photo files are being developed and improved. The digital photo file of the near future might not even be JPEGs any longer. Of course we all know this does NOT mean we should throw away our digital cameras because some day they will be obsolete.

The misinformed and slanted writing of that photographer seems a pitiful attempt to make all of us pro photographers who provide wedding photography on DVDs look incompetent or appear as though we're doing a disservice to our customers. It is very unfortunate he chose not to do the professional courtesy of contacting photographers like myself before writing his article of false information. Any of us could have updated him on DVD technology. Don't let his rhetoric fool you. Perhaps he just isn't keeping up with the world of digital photography. One thing is for sure, he doesn't know that wedding images can last over 100 years on DVDs. Even though he seems to know a little about the construction of standard consumer DVDs, he has somehow missed the boat knowing that there are Gold Archival DVDs which have been around for years. I first posted information on my wedding photography website about Gold Archival DVDs about 8 years ago.


The Archival Gold DVD-R lets you store more images in one location. The innovative materials and manufacturing methods used to produce Archival Gold DVD-R's make them among the most reliable storage media available. Other DVD-R's may deteriorate quickly due to common environmental factors: ultraviolet light, heat, and humidity. Using N.I.S.T.'s (National Institute of Standards and Technology) accelerated aging process to test the longevity of DVD-R media, the Archival Gold DVD-R has been shown to safely store your images for more than 100 years.

A key component of the Archival Gold DVD-R's durability is the use of gold as the reflective layer of the disc. Gold is one of the most inert, reflective (and expensive) elements on earth, which makes it perfect to resist the effects of temperature and humidity. These characteristics prevent oxidation, a common cause of failure to most DVD-R's.

What does these facts about Gold Archival DVDs mean? Your full resolution JPEGs on Gold Archival DVDs might just be more safe than on a computer hard drive which is subject to overheating and computer virus attacks and other computer problems! But remember, there is no such thing as a 100% perfect way of storing your wedding images. But changing technology is actually the least of your concerns. Why? Because most all of us already know and have been updating our digital media for years. That is nothing new.

Of course, if we really took everything that photographer said seriously, it looks like we would all need to be shooting with film cameras and we would need to throw away our ipods, laptops, etc., and just be satisfied with getting our information from BOOKS - since books (or wedding albums) last 100+ years. Afterall, digital media is temporary, degrades rapidly and doesn't stand the test of time. Books on the other hand don't present us with these problems. No, I'll gladly keep my digital cameras, computers and blu-ray burners and continue to provide wedding photography on DVDs and M-Discs.

Of course, the DVDs we provide all our customers are not provided with the guarantee that they will last for decades. Nothing does. Including wedding albums. (Wedding albums do in fact get damaged and lost for a variety of reasons). While it is true there are photographic processes for printing which can last 100 or more years, this doesn't mean the particular photo lab a photographer uses is actually performing the necessary lab work to ensure that kind of photographic longevity. If any photographer tell his customers the album he or she provides will last that long, that photographer should GUARANTEE that claim. It is easy for a photographer to talk about the photographs in the albums they provide will last 100+ years, but which of those photographers put their money where their mouth is by backing it up with a GUARANTEE?

The simple fact of life is we do live in an ever changing world. This means as technology changes, WE CHANGE AND ADAPT WITH IT. This simply means we have to convert and/or move our digital files to other storage devices. This has been going on every since Betamax and VHS tapes. Nothing new.

What about those brides who have their wedding VIDEO on DVD? What are those brides suppose to do? Are they to believe that someday a grandchild will find her wedding video at the bottom of a box and be told the Wedding Video can no longer be viewed because the video and the DVD it is on is obsolete technology? After reading that photographer's article, that is exactly what many brides are lead to believe! But of course that isn't true. For all the very same reasons I've already described here. Keeping up with technology and updating our media files simply goes along with keeping digital media.

It is use to be just a few years ago that your successful and established wedding photographers were all "album package photographers". These were photographers who insisted on keeping the film negatives and copyright ownership and charging very high prices for photographic prints. The only tangible product you would receive from those photographers would be a very high priced wedding album. It is sad there are some long-time photographers today who have not been able to embrace and adapt to the digital photography age. Even though they are shooting digital themselves, they still want to market and price their photography and sell it in albums and keep the full resolution files and copyright ownership. In this digital photography age, there are just too many wedding album options available to the modern bride who owns her full resolution copyright released images released to her on DVD by her pro photographer. The "DVD wedding photographer" recognizes the fact that we offer a legitimate and valuable service in our talents as wedding photographers and as photo retouch artists. We don't find it necessary to hold the full resolution images and copyright for "ransom" in order to acquire wedding album orders. I don't understand why more "album package photographers" don't get this. We don't need to make ourselves middle men between the bride and her wedding album(s).

In conclusion, I will still offer my customers their full resolution custom retouched JPEGs on DVDs. My great customers love the ability to have photographic prints made at the local and online labs of their choice anytime they want and at direct lab prices. And when they ever need to make a brand new album or replace an album that got lost or damaged, they may easily do so from the photos on the DVDs I've provided them. And if my customers don't want to deal with moving their JPEGs to various media during the coming years, they may simply pay the little extra to have their wedding images provided to them on Archival Gold DVDs or M-Discs.

So Derek, I highly recommend finding a professional wedding photographer who will provide you the full resolution, custom retouched and copyright released JPEGs on DVDs.  There are just too many advantages to you to have your wedding day images.

Professional Wedding Photographer John Wilson
Chattanooga, TN
Telephone: 423-468-9621


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I have over 30 years of experience. 12 years portrait studio experience. I can comprehensively answer questions relating directly to the art, science and business of photography and the portrait studio business. Photoshop and other photo editing software.


Over 30 years photography and about 4 years working as a portrait photographer for a studio in Chattanooga and eight years as a portrait studio owner.

I have attended numerous workshop, seminars and photography conventions over the years. I continually self-study from my library of over 100 photography, video, digital photography, photoshop and other books.

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