For most of you getting married this is probably the first time you have had to hire a photographer for an event. And the first question most people ask is, “How much do you charge?” Of course with today’s economy price is a huge factor but here are a few other things to consider when hiring someone to photograph one of the most important days in your life.
1. When you first contacted the photographer either via email, did they answer or get back to you within a timely manner?
2. Was the photographer friendly and eager to help you?
3. If you set up a consultation, did the photographer have plenty of sample albums with FULL weddings in them to show you? This is extremely important as anyone can get a great shot now and then so I would be a bit worried if they do not have complete weddings in their albums from start to finish.
4. Does the photographer have back up equipment, shoot on multiple cards (cards can fail and you don’t want your whole wedding sitting on one card), have fast lenses for shooting in low light situations, an assistant and a plan for emergencies amongst other things?
5. How long have they been in business and how many weddings have they done? This is critical. With all our photographers they have to shoot at least a full year of back up just so they can have enough things go wrong that they know how to fix it quickly and not get off track. Sophisticated equipment can be tricky and shooting weddings is one of the more challenging situations for lighting conditions. Most churches do not allow flash.
6. You will be spending more time with the photographer than anyone else on your wedding day so it is important that you have a great rapport with them and your personalities match.
If all 6 of these items fit your expectations, the next step is to look at products and pricing. In this market you can probably find a photographer from $500 to $5000. Most clients will fall somewhere in the middle. A good photographer will work within the client’s budget to the best of their ability. It is recommended to be up front with your photographer and tell them how much you have to spend on photography and what you would like as far as products and services, this way they can create a package fit specifically for you.
With that said, there are many other factors a photographer has to consider when quoting you a price. Not only are working the hours listed for bridals, engagements or your wedding day, there are many many hours of editing each image for the client. An average wedding might take 20 hours to edit. After the post processing has been finished there is uploading, album layouts and constant emails and phone calls. Weddings take months to close out. All of this time is averaged into your package. A good rule of thumb is your wedding photography should be about 20% of your wedding budget. If you are going to splurge a little, you should do so on your photography. After all, that is all you will have to remember your big day!

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