It was literally two minutes ago that he proposed. You could not get out the yes because you were so happy but you were able to smother him with kisses and squeals and laughter. Now you are scanning through the calender on your phone, asking when the date is going to be… First, if you are on a budget – the number one way to save money? DO NOT pick a Saturday. The costs will be exponentially more. According to a Wedding Wire infographic, 67% of all weddings take place on Saturday. Safe to say that costs are going to be 67% more expensive than any other day, huh? (or at the very least a significant percentage more costly) When I was doing research for my own wedding, several locations would cost $2000 on a Saturday and you would only have the location for half a day. When I inquired about a Sunday or even a Friday, the costs were usually cut in half if not MORE. Think about having a Sunday wedding around 10am (morning weddings are cheaper, too) or possibly a weekday event – after work so people don’t have to take any time off if most of your guests are in town. Even if people are coming from out-of-town the cheapest days to fly are Wednesdays and Thursdays, so a weekday wedding could save them money, too!
Second, and this one is super important, book your photographer. Photographers book up to a year in advance and if you want your dream wedding to be photographed by your dream photographer, that is going to cost money. Always, always, always, book your photographer first and then figure out how everything else fits into your budget. I know what you’re thinking, “Why on earth is the photographer so important?” Well, probably because they are documenting your entire day that is going to have so many personalizations and love, celebrating one of the most important days of your life, and you’re gonna want to have a photographer that knows what they are doing. You want to be able to look through beautiful photos and remember the day as being beautiful – do you really want to look back and cringe because all you can think about is how bad the photos are? You do not want a photographer whose photos equal those taken by your drunk Uncle with a disposable camera. What would you rather have of your wedding day?
I don’t mean to throw anyone under the bus but who does the “make everything black and white except for this one color” thing anymore? Also, which pose would you rather do ladies? One that stretches your back at an impossibly uncomfortable angle or laughing in the arms of your love? Maybe it is my own personal taste. Maybe it’s because I’m a photographer. Maybe I’m just weird. Whatever your own opinion is, make sure you figure out what your tastes are and settle on a photographer that makes you 100% happy. Do you want all of your decorations, your invitations, your favors, your cake, your dress details, your flowers, your hair to be completely for nothing because you only paid $250 for a photographer who takes photos like the one the left? Well, if you happen to be agreeing with me up to this point, awesome! I will share some tips below in helping you chose a photographer.
I know that wading the world of photography is like going into a butcher shop when you have never cooked before in your life. It all looks red and raw and you can’t tell the difference between any of the meats. Yeah, you can see the different pricing and the sizes but otherwise, you are clueless. Never fear! It is not as difficult and insurmountable as it seems.
FIRST: Utilize the many social networks out there to figure out the kind of photography you like. Pinterest is a great example! Create a board specifically for wedding photography and collect all of the different poses, lighting, angles you love and would love to have for your photos of your special day. This will make it so much easier when you look for a photographer later – you’ll know exactly what your style is and what you like the most. Do you like photojournalistic with literally no posing or do you want practically everything posed or a mixture of both?
SECOND: Figure out what you are willing to spend on a photographer. Keep in mind that the average cost of a wedding photographer is upwards of $2000 (usually much more). Decent photographers have $2500 as their starting point. Keep in mind though that a lot of photographers are flexible and if you are willing to skip over the photos of you getting ready and the very end of your reception, you could easily book your ideal photographer for only 5 hours instead of all-day for a fraction of the price. Decide which parts of your special days are most important to you. Most times you have to contact the photographer about more details and availability anyway so don’t be afraid to ask!
THIRD: Ask to see a full wedding they have photographed. When you visit their website, what you see is the absolute BEST – their favorites and the photos that they are famous for and that everyone has raved about. Blog posts do show more of what a wedding day with the photographer looks like but they are STILL going to only show the cream of the crop. Request to see a full and RECENT wedding that they have photographed. You’ll get a better idea of their range, their style, and you’ll feel better about booking them because you KNOW what they can do.
FOURTH: READ THE CONTRACT!! I know this may seem like a no-brainer but do it. Most of the time, there are bits about having to feed the photographer (and their assistant) if you book them for certain periods of time. Almost always there are clauses about not hiring/letting anyone else to photograph the wedding but them – clearly it is okay to have your Aunt Gertrude and friends take photos but you obviously couldn’t let your amateur photographer friend hover behind the professional the whole night. So, READ everything and make sure you understand it before you sign it or give them a deposit!
FIFTH: Don’t limit yourself to local photographers. Look within 500 miles or check out websites like the Knot that lists photographers in Florida. I personally couldn’t find any professional photographer within my price range locally BUT I was able to find a photographer whose location is 300 miles away. With travel though, the cost of 4-5 hours is only $500 rather than $800 for only 2 hours that I was quoted from local photographers.
SIXTH: Make sure that you like your photographer – weird, I know. But if you even find yourself the least bit uncomfortable around them, then don’t book them! You don’t want to be worried or self-conscious on your day so go with someone that makes you laugh and relaxes you. Meet them for coffee, chat over Skype, talk over the phone – do this at least twice so you know you are completely comfortable with them. They are going to be seeing you getting dressed and sharing the intimacy of first kisses and stolen glances – have someone who feels like a friend. You won’t regret it. Along those same lines, try to get have an engagement session with your photographer (if you can afford it). You’ll get practice in front of the camera and get a better feel for your photographer and how they work – making it that much easier on your wedding day.
SEVENTH: Once you book the photographer, be very clear on what you want. Answer every question they ask with extreme detail and ask as many questions as you can think of. Even if they don’t suggest it, compile a visual shot-by-shot list of what you are expecting/want for your wedding photography with detailed descriptions and examples. Trust me, your photographer will LOVE you for doing that – obviously they are visual people (duh) and something like below would make photographing your wedding smoother and easier.
Okay! That’s my two cents on picking a wedding photographer!! Let me know if you have any more questions or comments! I have photographed a few weddings myself and have been on the “picking a wedding photographer” side, too. So, I have my experiences and I’m willing to help!
My posts have been pretty serious lately…too bad! You are at the whim of my moods. And if you read my post called “Music Moods” you know that I am in an Eeyore mood. Maybe I’ll be in a Tigger mood soon – who knows!
(Please feel free to click on any of the photos included in this post, except the screen shots, to a link to the photographer’s website or blog – feel free to check them out. These are talented people! I wouldn’t include them unless I thought so.)