How To Choose a Wedding Photographer - The Cost Of Wedding Photography Prices

Choosing a Wedding Photographer?

Many people are discussing the costs of wedding photography.  Understanding how to determine the value of a wedding photographer can be quite a daunting task. Comparing one to another can be really frustrating.  I know.  I had to choose one for my wedding. And if you are wondering who it was it was Tracey Ann Jarrett and Martin at Photo Notions.  They are truly talented wedding photographers.

Affordable wedding photography is a misnomer.  It is different for everyone.  Some couples have a budget of $500.00.  Some have $50,000.00.  If you think I am kidding, check out Denis Reggie and Mike Colon - both start at over $20,000.00.   As a side note, if you can not see any real difference in the photos these guys take and the pictures your uncle Bob takes with his fancy point-and-shoot, or you may be looking for the least expensive photographer - this web site is probably not for you.  For that - go to Craigslist.

Ok, for those that are still reading. Here is the reality, if your budget is $500.00 it is $500.00.  Ain't nothin' we can do about it.  So, how do you find a photographer regardless of price?  Ah! That is why you are here and still reading my post.  Yes?  We have a few tips to help you choose a professional wedding photographer, regardless of budget.

However, you might say "Curtis, you are biased because you are a professional wedding photographer".  Perhaps, but I am often asked this question and I had to select a photographer for my own wedding.  This article isn't about justifying photography prices, or stating the defense about why we charge what we do, or to try to influence you to spend more money on wedding photography.  Most likely, you have already made that decision.  We just want to help you choose wisely.  Why?  Because I so often hear from recent brides "If I had only known.....".  A good photographer can be found at any price (for that matter, so can a bad one).  Let's just remember the price typically determines the outcome.  Like Mama said: "You get what you pay for".  So, if you have $500.00, you will get a $500.00 photographer.  If you have $50,000.00, you get a $50,000.00 photographer.  Keeping this in mind, let's see how we can find the best solution to your needs comparing wedding photography.

Let's look at a few basic principles and then we will look at multiple solutions.

1 - Your Uncle isn't the best solution because he has a fancy-schmancy camera he bought at Best Buy for $500.00 (is schmancy a word?).  This is a serious concern.  While Uncle Bob may be a great guy, the pressure and chaos of a wedding isn't for the weak if heart.  Does he know how to pose?  Does he know how to back up his digital files?  Does he know how to white balance?  Is he insured?  Hey, I could go on, but here is the biggest issue: he is family.  With that comes a lot of complexity.  At least choose someone you don't know so you can be mad and stay mad at them if something goes wrong!

2. Does the photographer have a website? Not that having a website in itself is a plus - if they don't have a functional web site - they are not real players.  It is possible to set up a blog for free and post pictures, so there are no excuses.  Web site is a photographer's storefront.  If they don't have one, they are not in business.  Period.

3. Does the photographer have printed albums you can see?  Photography looks much better in print than on the web.  Also, a photographer must have the resources and ability to photoshop and produce wedding albums. In print is where it is best to critique a photographer's portfolio. The small details can highlight the poor photography or inexperienced photoshop skills.

4. Are they incorporated and insured?  Depending on your budget, this may be negotiable.  But, be forewarned, if they don't follow the law, are they really trustworthy? If they are not insured, what if something tragic occurs????  Think about it.

5. How will they deliver images to you?  Seems simple, however, the lower priced "budget" photographers are notorious for loosing digital files.  This has actually been one of the main complaitns from brides who have gone the low budget route.   (we have a 3 way redundant backup process that costs $$$ thousands).

6. How many weddings have they shot?  If they are doing it for their portfolio, be careful.  This could be legitimate, but how comfortable would you feel knowing you are the photographer's guinea pig?  And this is you ONLY wedding day. Along this line - can they provide professional references???

7. Be sure you speak directly with the photographer who will be covering your wedding.  There are some "studios" who farm out the budget weddings to novice photographers.  Just be sure you can talk to them beforehand to ensure you have a similar vision as to what your expectations are.


Still feeling frustrated?  Have wedding photography sticker shock?  Here are some blogs that have real brides in the same situation as you.  Maybe reading these may help clarify what you want as well as what your budget should be.
Hope these are a help to you:

What about you?  What do you think about wedding photography?  What have you seen that you liked?  What are you looking for in a wedding photographer? What is a good value for you? Leave a comment and let us know.  

Justin & Celeste - West Palm Beach Florida Marriott Wedding

Here is an Animoto slideshow with highlight wedding photos.

   Justin and Celeste  
 Wedding Photography  
  West Palm Beach Marriott  

To view all of Justin and Celeste's fabulous wedding photos click HERE.
Justin and Celeste are such a fun and smiling couple.  Their wedding celebration was a festive affair at the fabulous West Palm Beach Marriott.  We began by having a "sneak peek" with the Bride and Groom.  This is where the couple sees each other before the ceremony.  It is much more relaxing for the couple.  It takes the stress off of the wedding planning and allows the couple to spend a little quiet time alone. Everyone who tries it says they love it. We also will photograph the bride and groom portraits at this time.   However, if you are the more traditional type, it is probably not your choice for portraits.  The benefit of the "sneak peek" is to have the portraits and family group photos (often call "formal" photographs) completed before the reception. It does make for a nicer flow of the day.  This way, immediately after the ceremony everyone goes directly to the reception.  No one need wait for the group and family photos to happen  (this process takes about 30-40 minutes in total).

The reception was an extravagant gala with some great dancing and fantastic food.   The staff at the West Palm Beach Marriott are always professional, helpful and friendly.  We recommend them for your wedding reception needs.   Justin and Celeste's ceremony was quaint and simple.  One of their good friends officiated.  Monica and I had such a fantastic time.  Justin and Celeste love to laugh.  Their mood was continually jovial and positive throughout the day (as it should be!).  Their family was also so kind and considerate.  They were talking with us as if we were old friends.

On the technical side (for our photographer friends).  It was quite a challenge photographically.  It was an outdoor ceremony at night and the bridesmaids dresses and the groomsmen's tuxedoes were black. So, black backgrounds with black dresses and no ceilings to bounce a flash off of.  A nice challenge for Monica and I!  So, we kept it simple - off camera flash and reflected it towards the bridal party to create a nice, edgy, modern look to the images.  We metered the flash instead of relying on the infrared transceivers (the infrared usually fails outdoors).  The group photos were done before the sun went down, but because we were behind the Marriott building, the light was fading fast.  So, we added a slight flash to fill in a little to the ambient.  Usually, we will place 2 speedlites on stands off camera behind umbrellas, but we didn't have time.  Makes for good catch lights in the eyes and good background separation.  In the reception, we always gel the flash for tungsten, crank up the ISO, open the aperture wide, shoot around 125th shutter and then white balance from a bounce off the ceiling.  We use a total of 3 flashes during the reception.  One on camrea bouncing backwards at 45 degrees and 2 others bouncing directly up into the ceiling for ambient background.  During the dancing, we will take the 50MM 1.4 and open it up.  Makes for great images.  Be very careful with depth of field and choosing your focus point! The depth of field with the subject at a distance of about 10 feet on a 50MM @ 1.4 is less than 12 inches.  No room for slopping focusing!

Well, that is the recap for the latest of Copeland Photography's adventures.  Hope you enjoyed seeing Justin and Celeste's wedding day through our eyes.  Their wedding album pre-design should be out soon. We really appreciate you stopping by.  Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Thank you, Justin and Celeste for letting us be a part of your wedding day!

Be blessed,

Curtis and Monica

• 954-881-5025 • 


Ramon and Lorena's Wedding Photography Slideshow - Calvary Chapel Boca Raton Florida

Ramon and Lorena's Wedding - Calvary Chapel Boca Raton Florida Wedding Slideshow from Curtis Copeland on Vimeo.

• Lorena and Ramon's Wedding Photography Slideshow • 

• |  Boca Raton Wedding Receptions  | • 
• |  Calvary Chapel   | • 

Here is the link to view all of Ramon and Lorena's: Wedding Photos.
Here is Ramon and Lorena's wedding photography slideshow as well as a few of our favorite images.  Their ceremony and reception was held in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida at Calvary Chapel.  It was a genuine joy to be there.  

Ramon is a missionary in South America and Lorena does much charity work with the homeless in South Florida.  Lorena is also quite the talented florist.  She has an artistic touch for wedding flower designs.  They both have a heart to serve and make a positive difference in the lives of others in need.  

This is another great story of wonderful people meeting, and falling in love, getting married, but still desiring to help others in practical ways. As you can see from the photos, Lorea's smile is quite contagious.  She is always laughing and telling jokes.  Ramon is very courteous and passionate about his efforts in South America. 

The wedding reception was at the Calvary Chapel's cafe La Piazza.  A perfectly little quant place to hold intimate weddings.  Chef Andrea Bettio is a masterful cook and the staff is always pleasant and friendly.  We really love photographing weddings there.    

Best of wishes, Lorena and Ramon.  We sincerely hope that you will be blessed in your marriage as much as you have been a blessing to others.

Have a great day!

Curtis and Monica Copeland

• 954-881-5025 •

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