Matt and his wife Jaynie are wedding photographers living in Denver. Find out more about them on their WeddingPhotoLove profile or on their website.
There are more photographers, packages and pricing options when searching for a wedding photographer today than ever before. We’ve put together five tips that will help you choose the right wedding photographer for your wedding day.
Have A Budget
We’re talking a whole wedding day budget, not just a budget for your wedding day photography. If you don’t have a budget for your wedding, start working on this first. Here is a site with a lot of great wedding cost info on it based on where in the USA you are getting hitched. That site will give you the average price – so if you’re a hipster DIYer or a Four Seasons celebrity with a Rolls Royce grand exit your pricing will vary. Set a budget and stick to it. Going into debt because you are over budget isn’t the best way to start married life.
After you have a wedding day budget, plan to spend roughly 12% of your entire wedding budget on wedding photography and related photography items. That said, the 12% rule is not set in stone. (The wedding day budget should be set in stone, the 12% for photography doesn’t have to be.) Photography is very important to some people. It’s not as important to others. If you value photography and want to increase your available budget to get that photographer that you just can’t live without or you really want that leather wedding album to hand down to your kids someday, take some of the budget allocated to other areas of your wedding and move it into the photography column. If photography isn’t that important to you, then by all means, spend less than 12% and put the money elsewhere.
Know What You’re Paying For
Speaking of wedding albums, a lot of photographers do not offer anything other than wedding day coverage in their base price. You may think you are saving money by getting an $1800 photographer instead of a $3000 one but it might actually cost you more to book that $1800 package. The $1800 photographer might not include any images in his or her package. Yes, that sounds crazy, but you may be paying for the photographer’s time only – nothing else. It might be an extra $700 for the digital files. An extra $500 for prints. $1000 for an album. Also, are you even getting the photographer you think you are? Is it a studio that outsources your wedding to a new photographer? Make sure you know what you are paying for and that you have a signed contract that states exactly that.
Price vs Value
For some psychological reason we as consumers see a number with 9s at the end of it and round it down in our head. $1999 seems much cheaper than $2000 to most of us. When it comes to photography, there is something odd about this. The photographer’s with the packages ending in $999 generally compete on price. The photographer’s that end their pricing with $000 generally specialize and don’t compete at all. They offer something different that nobody else does. Watch for this next time you are looking for a photographer – or any vendor for that matter. If the vendor is competing on price alone, you will most likely see a price like $999 or $1299. If the vendor is not competing on price, but instead is offering value that nobody else does, you will see a price that ends with 0s. $1500, $2500, etc. If you want budget, go for the 9s. If you want value, go for zeros.
Get An E-Session
The engagement session. This is a great way to make sure you and your photographer are a great match. It’s too late to find out that you don’t work well together on your wedding day. We strongly encourage all of our clients to have an engagement session with us before their wedding. We do this both to make sure we are good for them and also to make sure that they are a good fit for us. We can’t stress this enough: Get an engagement session. If you’re on the fence about it, here are five reasons to get engagement photos.
Hopefully the five tips above will be useful to you as you plan your big day. Don’t get too stressed out about all of this. It’s your wedding, the day you have been dreaming about for a very long time. Relax and enjoy it.
Do you have any questions or comments about choosing a wedding photographer? Let us know in the comments below!