One Photographers Opinion On Hiring A Wedding Photographer While Keeping Your Budget In Mind.
Updated: Feb 14
It's happened!! You're engaged! It was a perfect proposal, and you can't wait to get started on planning the epic day. Like almost every woman you dreamed of your wedding day, I know you still remember the details. You've been planning it in your mind forever, from deciding the look of your dress to the perfect decor. You want this day to be everything, to be filled with lots of love and memories to last a lifetime.
With so many details that need to be planned, Where do you start? Well...... The budget of course. Once you have a number in mind for the entire wedding, you can start deciding where to allocate funds based on what is most important to you. Who will you be inviting, What will you be serving, When is the wedding and Where will this glorious day be happening? How will you be able to capture and cherish these memories best?
It's not an easy feat paying for a wedding, in fact the days in which the parents pay for you to be married is quiet rare nowadays. So you're left to pay for it and you have a budget. That being said there is an expectation vs reality thing that happens during the wedding planning process. It's easy to get consumed by the excitement and let's be honest our tastes can be pretty high end.
So how do you decide what money goes to what detail? Will it be the dress? The venue? Or perhaps it's to the memories photography will leave you.
Does your photographer have good reviews and testimonials? Can't find any? Why is that? Remember that old saying You get what you pay for". Perhaps you'll have to dig deeper or ask if anyone has used them. If you get subpar product and service, it could be that you didn't research them enough. Yo want to hire a photographer that has a good history with past clientele. Because history is a good indicator of how they interact with clients and how they run their business. These are important questions as it will lead you to the validity of their business and the strength of their brand.
Do you have a photographer in mind, or are you starting from scratch?
Let's say you've been following a photographer for a while now, you see your self in their work. You love everything about it and you've heard nothing but amazing things about them and how they conduct their business. You go to their investments page and lo and behold they are out of your budget, you have a few options that may allow you to have the photographer of your dreams.
1) You can decide that the photography for your day is too important to miss out on so you can either increase the overall budget or you can move budget funds from other parts of the wedding day.
If you chose this one, WOOHOO you get your dream photographer and your day will be exactly as you hoped it would be.
But what if there is no room for movement in the budget?
2) You can get in contact with your dream photographer and discuss IF and HOW the price can come down. Adjusting the coverage needed and what's included is possible with most photographers. We often end up customizing packages to the clients needs as long as it's within our pricing structure.
If you are choosing this route here are some things you can talk about with the photographer.
a) First off let them know what you are looking for exactly! The more information you provide the better chance they have in helping you. Be honest about your budget and they will let you know whether or not they can help you.
b) Photographers are amazing at helping couples sort through the wedding day timelines. This can help you maximize your coverage on your wedding day. They can help you determine which aspects are crucial to you to be photographed and which ones you may be able to leave to your guests to capture.
c) Maybe you can go with out the bridal and groom prep before the ceremony. Maybe you only need the ceremony and formals covered. When you reduce the amount of hours needed the package price tends to go down too. Realize that most photographers are with you on a continuous hourly basis meaning from the moment they pick up their camera and start shooting they are on the clock till the end. No gaps, or breaks in between, and any travel between venues is included in that continuous coverage. So whether you have asked for 4, 8, or 12 hours of coverage they will not stop the clock to leave and then come back and finish a different aspect of the wedding.
d) It doesn't hurt to ask if they offer payment plans, let's face it good wedding photography isn't supposed to be cheap. Many photographers are willing to take payments to help a couple out. Just know that most photographers will want your final payment to be made before the wedding happens.
Is the photographer still out of your budget?
3) I suppose your last option will be to choose another photographer that fits your limit. I know you didn't want to read that but here we are back to expectations vs reality, and if the budget cannot be adjusted then you have to adjust your expectations. I hope you know that doesn't mean that all hope is lost. Trust me when I say there are so many talented photographers who are in your budget.
What to do if you are starting from scratch.
Now either you are on the hunt for another photographer or you are starting from scratch, either way, here are six things for you to consider when hiring a photographer.
1) It's never too early to start!
Photographers tend to be busy at varying times of the year. Sometimes booking months or even a year in advance. It's something to keep in mind if you have a photographer you'd like to work with.
2) Look at lots (I mean lots) of photo's!
A professional photographer will have many wedding photos on their website, which is a great starting place. It will help give you a sense of their style. It's also a good idea to ask to see a full gallery to give you a sense of the type of images you could expect to see in yours.
3) Does their style match yours?
Does their work speak to you? Can you see yourself in the images they create?
These are important ones, do you like Light and Airy? Dark and Moody? Perhaps you value the Clean, Crisp True to Colour style? Can't decide? Go back to step 2 and keep looking until you do. Imagine flipping through your wedding album with your grandkids, will that style make you cringe or will you be just as in love with them as you were when you got them?
Maybe it's only a few hours or a full day that you will spend face to face with your wedding photographer, but what about all the behind the scene's time. The emails, the text messages etc. It is important that you get along and connect with your photographer. Most photographers offer complimentary consultations either in person or via video chat, I highly recommend taking them up on it. You should know from this meeting if your personalities are alike and a working relationship is viable. Your photographer should be good at communicating all aspects of the photography process with you, you should never be left wondering what will happen next. From first contact, through contracts, purchasing, wedding day, all the way to the delivery of the final product. Can you count on them?
5) What do people have to say about them?
Does your photographer have good reviews and testimonials? Can't find any? Why is that? Remember that old saying "You get what you pay for". Perhaps you'll have to dig deeper or ask if anyone has used them. If you get subpar product and service, it could be that you didn't do enough research prior to hiring them. You'll want to hire a photographer that has a good history with past clientele. Because history is a good indicator of how they interact with clients and how they run their business. These are important questions as it will lead you to the validity of their business and the strength of their brand.
6) Price indicates quality and experience.
I've said it before, I'll say it again. There is a photographer for every budget.
Budgets are real and at times a real struggle, and finding that balance between spending within that budget and getting the best photos is a hard one. Considering this day only happens once, I really urge you to pay for the highest quality images you can afford or save up for the photographers you REALLY want to work with. A photographer who delivers high quality images and who's personality fits with you as a couple, is probably the perfect choice for the best day of your life.
I'm not trying to tell you what to do by all means, but there is something I don't recommend asking a photographer, and that is if you can get a deal beyond what they are offering. Unless you are also asking for a deal on the dress, the venue, the food, the dj and all the other vendors. What I'm trying to say is that many people view creative work as something you can barter, but this is a business like any other and photographers work really hard at making sure your day is captured to the best of their abilities. They take great pride in their work and the service they provide. If you think about it like this, they are the one vendor that you will communicate with the most before and after the wedding. Not only that but they are the ones you'll spend the most time with on your most epic day.
Their work happens from the moment you inquire with them all the way until you receive your finished product often spanning up to two years. They don't just work the day of your wedding but every moment they spend on correspondence, editing, ordering of products and prints. Your day is important, it is special and it is why photographers are so invested in delivering an amazing images ad providing excellent service.
A photographers pricing is personal, this isn't a regulated industry so each photographer will charge their own prices, based on their talent/experience while keeping their business going and paying themselves a living wage like any other vendor you will use on your wedding day.
So it is possible to keep a budget and to have a photographer that is invested in your dream wedding. You just have to decide who that person is going to be.
Truthfully photographers want you to have the best day ever, that is why you hire us right? So we can capture those moments that you're much too busy loving and living, memories that when photographed will last a lifetime.