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: