How Much Does Wedding Photography Cost?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably getting married! Congratulations! If you made it to the second sentence here, and you’re NOT getting married, I highly recommend you reconsider and just go for it. Not only have I been happily married for eleven years, my livelihood depends on you getting married, so do it!
So how much should you spend on a wedding photographer? We hear this question again and again from our clients and we are here to help! Often times we hear, “why are you so much more expensive than this other photographer?” Equally as often, we might hear, “why are you so much less expensive than this photographer?”.
There’s the common belief that “you get what you pay for.” And to some degree that is true. But just like the reception hall, the church, the florist, the band, and even the officiant; we are all in business and trying to make a living. Some of us are great photographers and don’t charge nearly enough, some of us are great business people and take terrible photos. So, yes, you get what you pay for – but how do you know what you are even paying for?! Are you paying for a good business person, or a good photographer? Are you paying for a good experience, or a good product? Are you actually paying for an album, or are you just paying for your mother-in-law’s happiness?
How much should you spend on a wedding photographer? The truth is, as much as you need to! Not as much as you want to, not as much as you can, and not as little as possible. Spend as much as you need to, in order to have the best wedding day ever.
Find the photographer first.
Yes, I said it! Well, find your spouse first THEN find the photographer! 😉 If you’ve made it this far into the article, photography might be at the top of your to do list. Some of you may think I’m crazy for saying it, but hear me out, if you get married at a million dollar venue and hire an inexpensive photographer, your venue, and you, will look terrible in your photos. A great photographer can make even a budget venue look great in photos, so find the photographer first – they will make or break the day! Just as important as the final photos you see, photographers spend the WHOLE day at your wedding interacting with you, your friends and your family, you want someone who’s personality will mesh with the type of party you’d like to throw! Unlike DJs, bands, florists, caterers, officiants, hair and makeup people, we are there the entire time from start to finish – so if we are bad, your day is bad. A bad wedding photographer can ruin your day, trust me, I’ve heard stories about photographers setting off the sprinkler system and destroying the bride’s dress before the ceremony. Or dropping the f bomb around Grandma and telling your mother to shut up. What?!? You paid how much for that? EEK!
You need to meet these criteria:
Find a photographer whose photos you love. Select a few photographers. Email them, call them, meet them. Even if you can’t meet them in person, ask them if they can Skype with you. Pay attention to how responsive they are to your correspondence. This initial meeting with either make you fall in love with the photographer even more, or make you want to keep looking down your list
You need to love the photos, so ask to see a LOT of photos. Ask to see a full wedding gallery and make sure all of the photos look great – not just the ones they showed you in their small portfolio! The truth is, all photographers put their best work on the first pages of their website. But, the real test is to see if your photographer is great at photographing all the way from hair and makeup, to the last dance of your reception. Every photograph from your wedding is important.
Read the reviews. Do people mention that they had a great experience, AND that they received a great product? Because, one or the other isn’t good enough.
Don’t hire the cheapest photographer, and don’t hire the most expensive photographer.