You hear it over and over again: weddings are expensive! The average wedding today costs about $27,000, and even more in large cities such as Los Angeles and New York. One budget item you may be tempted to skimp on is the wedding photographer. After all, everyone has a digital camera these days, and even cell phones take fairly decent pictures. (There’s even a wedding photographer who specializes in iPhone wedding pics, but that’s fodder for a different post.)
So why not ask Uncle Bob to take the wedding pics with his super-duper ultra-gizmo new digital camera? He always takes great vacation pics! Or, better yet, why not ask Deborah, the photojournalism college student at church, if she will be your wedding photographer…perhaps even as a gift to you?
These may seem like great ideas, and honestly, as a frugal, do-it-yourself gal myself, these ideas would be highly tempting to me. But before you decide one way or the other about wedding photography, you should hear what the photographer from Southall Eden in Franklin, Tennessee suggests. These are some great points to consider about your wedding photography. It certainly has changed my mind!
- This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. According to Southall Eden, “The #1 regret I hear from brides about their wedding day is that they are not happy with their photos.” How extraordinarily sad! Choose your photographer with care so that you are not one of those brides.
- These photos are for everyone who loves you. These are the pictures you share with the bridal party, with your closest friends and family. And one day you will be showing these pics to your kids and grandkids. You need to consider your loved ones and even posterity in this decision.
- Professional wedding photographers have wedding savvy. They can anticipate what will happen next and how best to capture the moment. You need more than just a professional photographer; you need a professional wedding photographer to be sure that nothing is overlooked, no precious moment missed. For example, “If you hire someone whose livelihood is shooting weddings, there is a pretty good chance they have done this enough times to not only know where they need to be in order to capture certain moments, but also random things like what kind of light will come through a stained glass window at 5:00 in May, etc.”
- A great photographer can turn the ordinary into extraordinary. Southall Eden describes it best: “I have seen this first hand on multiple occasions. A couple is on a tight budget and doesn’t have a lot of money for decor or fancy extras at their wedding. But they hire a great photographer, and lo and behold when you see the photos you would think it was a luxury event. The photographer captures everything at its best, and everything that is wonderful about the day, and when you look at your photos the memory of your wedding can be even better than the reality.”
- Hiring a professional takes away the pressure of personal issues. What if the photos do not turn out well? If you have a friend or relative do it for you, it could become a source of very hard feelings on both sides. Or what do you do if you have a suggestion for the photographer but you don’t want to hurt his or her feelings? When you deal with a professional, these personal relationship issues totally evaporate. And what’s more — a professional wedding photographer will know how best to deal with brides, grooms, the family, and the wedding party during a hectic, exciting, and emotion-packed event.
If you do choose to hire a professional, how much can you expect to pay? Southall Eden addresses this issue as well.
“So how much does a great wedding photographer cost? This depends on where you live and what all is included in their rate. Some photographers quote their rates for shooting only, while others quote packages that include both shooting and prints, albums, digital images, etc. When you are researching photographers you should keep this in mind and make sure you are comparing apples to apples with regard to pricing. I encourage couples getting married at my venue to budget at least $4,000 for photography, but some spend as much as $10,000. Sure that’s a lot of money, but what you get in return is priceless. How can you argue with that???”
These suggestions certainly brought some important issues to mind for me. I’m curious about what you think. Do you think the wedding photographer is one area where you should never, ever skimp?
Photo courtesy of Stefan Leijon.