I received a question/concern via email from Sam regarding her wedding photography:
“My biggest worry about booking a wedding photographer is price and quality – and finding the right combination between the two.”
In my experience when someone has a question, there’s usually others with the same question on their minds. And, the trouble with choosing a wedding photographer is the choice is so BIG. It seems there are more photographers than any other service when it comes to weddings. You see it at bridal expos, wedding magazine ads, google searches and Facebook! It seems anyone with a camera is a photographer and available for bookings… well almost.
I’ve come up with an answer for Sam below but feel free to have a look if you are facing the same dilemma.
With photography there is also a great range of prices and quality out there so how do you choose? How do you get the right mix for your budget?
The Formula for Choosing the Right Photographer
When choosing your photographer you will be faced with three major decisions then a fourth will come into play.
- The cost of the wedding photography
- The quality/skill/reputation of your wedding photographer
- The coverage included with your wedding photography package
- Inclusions like albums, wall prints, reprints, proof books, DVD’s etc
Looking at the first three (and major initial) considerations realistically, you must pick two and somewhat sacrifice the third.
Example 1 – let’s say you have a budget of $3000 for your wedding photography.
You will need to decide if you want the best photographer you can afford and have less coverage and/or inclusions in your package. This way, you may allocate the total $3000 to have the very best photographer and their price will likely include less coverage (or inclusions) than a lesser experienced photographer.
You could have that same great photographer, have less coverage (which will be cheaper) and use any surplus towards your wedding album or prints.
Example 2 – let’s say you have $2000 for your wedding photography.
You won’t get the same photographers available to you as in example one (with a $3000 budget) unless you reduce your coverage to a minimum. There will be no surplus for extras but you will have the best possible photos from your wedding day.
You could book a cheaper photographer and have the same coverage or extras as example one.
It’s pretty clear that the higher your budget the more your options will open up in regard to choices of wedding photographers and where you’d like to place your emphasis – on coverage or inclusions.
You need to decide firstly what is more important to you – the style and quality of photography or the coverage and inclusions. Once you have an idea of what’s important to you, you can actually start to look at your options. Without a realistic budget and an idea of what’s important, it’ll be difficult to start and could get depressing when you do – if you are working with a limited budget.
There will be nothing worse than seeing a photographer whose style you LOVE but simply can’t afford
Be Aware of How Wedding Photographers Charge
What makes things difficult for a brides-to-be is, photographers will often price their packages and services in different ways and comparing apples to apples can be tough. A way to simplify this is to at least have a figure in mind – let’s say $2500. Hopefully you have also worked out what is more important to you in regard to style, coverage and inclusions. Now you can start calling photographers that either come recommended or you’ve seen their work online or at a bridal expo.
When you first call and ask about prices, most photographers will steer you away from price immediately because they all know there is so much more to choosing a photographer than just price – we do the same at Impact Images. We want to get to know you a little, find out what you like in regard to your wedding photography, where and when you are planning your wedding, if we are available etc.
At some stage, you have to get back to prices. Often you’ll be given a “Our prices start at” which will not be enough for you. You need to know exactly what’s included for that base price. Then, ask what you can get for your $2500 budget. The photographer may want to email you inclusions for that price if they don’t have a “$2500 package” – this is normal and totally fine.
Once you know what you get for your budget, you can start to compare. Be open about whether it’s coverage or inclusions that are more important to you so they are able to tailor an package for you.
If the photographers won’t give you prices over the phone or email and they want you to book an appointment to discuss it, I would move on unless you REALLY love their work.
By the way, if you want our price list to get an idea of what you get for $2500, you can have instant access to our price list by adding your name and email address below:
I’ve mentioned “coverage” a few times in this post and coverage is really just the time the photographer spends with you on your wedding day capturing photos. Full coverage usually includes photos with the guys getting ready or before the ceremony, photos with you and your bridesmaids (and family) before the ceremony, the wedding ceremony, a location shoot with you and your bridal party followed by some reception coverage – usually up to and just after the first dance.
You will have other options where you can extend your coverage further into the reception or even after the reception for night photos – this usually only happens for city based weddings where the skyline can look fantastic by night. You won’t get the same effect for a Central Coast or Hunter Valley wedding. 🙂
Reducing your coverage is a simple way to reduce the cost of your wedding photography and is the easiest way to have a photographer slightly out of your price range for your day. The trade off though, is you will miss some great photos and moments by reducing too much of your coverage.
Hopefully this post will help you decide on your wedding photographer and help you to consider what part of the photography is important to you. I know it’s difficult to compromise when it comes to your wedding but with a little thought on what’s important to you, you’ll be well on your way.
If you’re looking for more information on how to choose the right photographer for you, have a look at this article: Stop, Do Not Book A Wedding Photographer
Here’s another relevant article: How to Get Better Wedding Photography
Finally, if you love wedding tips, advice and ideas, check out The Wedding Podcast in Apple iTunes.