Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Wedding photography prices are all over the map. Some wedding photographers charge just a few hundred dollars to show up and shoot, some charge a few thousand dollars and some charge a small fortune to come and essentially do the same thing, right? After all, they are “just taking pictures” and with the technology that is available today, anyone can do it, right?

WRONG!

You’ve been planning your wedding in your mind since you were a little girl. You finally met the man of your dreams and he proposed. Now you have to actually plan your wedding; setting budgets, finding a venue, making decisions on who to invite,  what kind of flowers to have, finding the perfect dress, trying out different caterers, dealing with your future in-laws, the list goes on and on…

And then there’s the wedding photography; the one thing you have left to help you remember your emotions, events and details after the food has been devoured, the band has played, the flowers have withered and the guests have gone home. You soon come to find out that wedding photography prices vary widely. Some wedding photographers charge just a few hundred dollars to show up and shoot, some charge a few thousand dollars and some charge a small fortune. How to choose?!

Truth is, it’s hard to compare wedding photography prices because the numbers don’t always tell the whole story, so it’s important to compare apples to apples.

Here’s a real life scenario:

Let’s say you find 2 photographers who both have a package that cost $4,000.

For $4,000, Photographer A will shoot for 8 hours on the day of your wedding, include an engagement photo session, a framed print, a second shooter and a 20 page 11×14 album.

For the same $4,000 Photographer B will show up and shoot for 6 hours.

Which is the better deal? Well that all depends on the quality of the work and the experience the photographer delivers. What if Photographer A is brand new to the business and has only shot a handful of weddings? What if the album is made by some cheap manufacturer and has a funny smell to the faux leather? What if they take forever to return calls and emails and give you poor customer service? What if their work is average at best?  How do you feel about spending that $4,000?

Now let’s say Photographer B does an amazing job for his $4,000. He or she has tons of experience, the images are incredible, you had a blast being photographed and the customer service is top notch. Sure, you’re might have to spend a few thousand more dollars to get a nice album, but at least you will be in love with your images and you’ll enjoy them for years to come. I suggest you are getting better value for your money in this scenario.

I understand that there’s a lot of money being spent in the month leading up to the wedding and there is a lot to consider regarding wedding photography prices, in addition to all of the other vendors you are hiring for your wedding. I often advise my potential clients who are on a tighter budget to invest in the best wedding photography they can afford; get the best possible pictures first and foremost. You can always come back and order prints, albums & other products well after the wedding. (Traditionally paper is given as the first anniversary gift…may I suggest photo paper bound in a leather album?)

Disclaimer: I am certainly not suggesting that just because one wedding photographer has higher prices that they are automatically better. It’s still up to you to evaluate the skills and value provided by the photographers you are considering hiring.

Here is a simple checklist for you to use when trying to determine whether wedding photography prices are a good value or not are:

Think about:

  • The quality of the images
  • The quality of their albums
  • The personality of the photographer, their presentation, their reputation and the service they deliver.

Also make sure to:

  • Ask around. Getting referrals from trusted friends & colleagues is a great place to start.
  • Do your homework. Browse through several photographers to find those you like who also fit your budget .
  • Meet them in person. You are stuck with your wedding photographer not only on your wedding day, but they’re usually the only vendor you have to deal with after your wedding is over. It’s important to hire someone you like and feel comfortable with.

Lastly, I suggest hiring a photographer who is passionate about their job. One who is dedicated to taking the best possible pictures on your day and delivering a remarkable experience to their clients. One who takes pride in the work they do and it makes in obvious for you to see. Invest in a professional who will take care of your memories.

About the author: Becker is a wedding photographer from Southern California specializing in capturing relaxed portraits, amazing details and real moments for the coolest couples on the planet. Visit his blog for more: blog.thebecker.com

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