wedding photography FAQ
What are the advantages of hiring a professional?
A professional photographer will be timely – arriving at your wedding promptly, and getting the results to you on time. A professional has just the right equipment and film for photographing your wedding. Having attended many weddings, an experienced wedding photographer will be at ease at your wedding. A professional uses a color laboratory that is in the business of meeting high professional standards of print quality. And, a professional is used to working with individuals, couples, and groups to make the formal photography go smoothly. When you think about the cost of photography, remember that the photographer’s fee is only part of your investment: You, your parents, your extended family and your friends will be investing time with the photographer during your wedding. Don’t waste time on your wedding day with a photographer who won’t produce results you love!
How much time will the photographer spend at my wedding?
That is really up to you. You can have the photographer meet you where you are getting dressed, and keep taking pictures until you leave the reception. Or you may just want a few hours of photography, with a few formal photographs and some pictures of the ceremony. (If you choose a high quality professional, the price difference between short and full coverage will be small.) My typical coverage starts two or three hours before the ceremony and ends after the bouquet, garter and cake.
“I don’t want any posed pictures at my wedding, okay?”
What if your parents want a nice picture to send out? What if your favorite aunt is late, then sits in a dark corner during the reception? Do you want her excluded from your images? Posed subjects in the visual arts is classic. Bad posing (stiff, pointless, uncomfortable, cheesy) is a staple of standard wedding photography. Most families want some posed images in their collection.
My posed pictures are created by finding a suitable location (easy access, good lighting, good background) and then allowing (coaching?) the couple to be themselves; playful, loving, romantic, goofy; while I capture a variety of angles and compositions. As we continue, my directions and tone-of-voice help the subjects both show more emotions and look better.
“I want to spend $1,500 on pictures. What can we do?”
The first thing to do if you want a professional photographer under these circumstances is to be flexible. A true wedding professional only can only work so many weekends a year, and reasonably expects one or two large weddings per weekend from May through October, or year round in tropical climates. If he/she reserves a prime Saturday or Sunday in October for you, then larger weddings will have to be turned away. If your budget is small, you will be choosing from the second and third tiers of wedding photographers. If you plan your wedding in the evening or especially early in the day, you might find a photographer who can fit you in after or before another event, and thus be able to work with your budget. Unfortunately, when you are limiting yourself to a smaller photo budget you can expect lower quality photographs.
How much does wedding photography cost?
Prices range from $950 to $10,000, and even more! Photographs (and maybe video) will be your only permanent record of the day. You want good photographs (or you would not have read so far), so be prepared to spend a minimum of $1,500. Reprints will be $15 to $45 each. Expect better photographers to charge the higher rates. In other words, it is reasonable for an inexperienced photographer to charge you as little as $10 for a print. And, it is reasonable for an excellent photographer to charge you $40 for a print of the same size. That is because you are getting better service and a better product from the experienced professional. If you are looking for a bargain and shop via phone for pricing, you are following a recipe for poor to mediocre photography. My research indicates that photography runs between nine and fifteen percent of the total wedding budget. When couples value photography highly and are on a limited budget, they will spend up to 30% of their wedding budget on photography.
Most brides initially underestimate the cost of photography by 50% – in other words, you will probably spend at least twice as much as you budgeted, unless you have advice from a wedding coordinator who is familiar with prices in your area.