Are Photographers worth the investment?
You're probably thinking, "of course they're encouraging us to hire professional photographers for our wedding. That's what they're trying to sale." I would second that. Yes, my husband and I are in the wedding photography business because we want couples to have great quality photos they can look at for years to come. Let me tell you a little about our own wedding story so maybe you'll see that we're not just trying to take your money.
When my husband proposed to me five years ago, we were broke. We were both in college working minimum wage jobs and had a very small budget. After dating for 4 months, Steven asked me to marry him. We just knew we wanted to get married in the fall instead of waiting a year. As in we had less than 2 MONTHS to plan our wedding. We were okay with that because we wanted to be married more than have a huge wedding. However, we did agree that we would have a wedding photographer and videographer. We both were photographers and well versed in video so we knew that would be a big part of our wedding day fund. Guys, when I say we got lucky...we got lucky. We hired a family friend to do our photos for $250. Then we asked another friend to video our day with our own camera equipment that we would later edit ourselves. We got lucky because we understood what quality photos and video looked like. We knew the quality in which we were investing. Sadly, I can't say every couple gets this lucky.
Couples Really Do Regret Not Investing In Better Photographers for their big day.
In recent months we've offered a couples a wedding anniversary photo session to build our portfolio. The husband and wife both dressed up in their wedding wear and posed for updated photos. As we were picking a few couples for the session, we heard from MANY who said they went the cheap route. They hired their family member, best friend or gave someone a camera to capture their big day. All of them said the same thing to my husband and I. "I wish we would have hired someone with more experience because I hated my photos."
I even had a bride tell me they had ZERO clear photos walking down the aisle. AT ALL! Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the best documented days of your lives and yet many couples have nothing to show for it. That's why my husband and I are in the business. We want to give couples the BEST of what we have to offer. If you're on a budget, I completely understand not wanting to pay a ton of money for photos. Let me be the first to say that not every couple that reaches out to us will hire us. I'm okay with that because I get that money doesn't grow on trees. I ask though that whoever you go with be sure they're professionals and have a good portfolio.
Here are a few tips as you look to hire a photographer for your big day:
- Find a photographer that takes photos you LOVE. It's so important to try and look at the photographer's work first before even reaching out to them for pricing. If you don't LOVE what you see then you need to go find another photographer that will fit your style.
- Don't always go with the cheaper photographer. I say this whether you hire my husband and I or not. Cheap is not always better. Some photographers are cheap because they're just getting started and they need more experience. Other photographers may be under charging for their services or not know what they're doing. Be careful with the cheapest option.
- Set up a face-to-face meeting to talk with the photographer you are wanting to hire. This is a great way to find out who they are, ask the tough questions and get clarity on photography lingo. Sometimes clients may not understand all the items included in package prices. (That's okay because you guys are not supposed to be the professionals.) Couples may see a price tag and think it's not worth the money until they sit down and talk about what all really goes into giving you the photos from your wedding.
- Talk price tag with confidence. There are many couples intimitdated by this conversation. Heck, even some photographers are scared to talk about money. You can always ask if they will give a discount or come down on pricing. HOWEVER, don't be shocked when they say no. It's important to remember that many photographers put hours into shooting your big day. Then they go home, download over 1,000 photos and stay glued to the computer for DAYS or even weeks to edit your wedding. There is A LOT that goes into the wedding photography business so be kind when you ask about a discount. This profession is a job for many -- not a get rich quick career. I will say, some photographers allow couples to make several payments so don't be afraid to ask if that's an option.
- Find a photographer that includes an engagement session with your wedding day bundle. If you've ever had someone take professional photos of you then you know it's a little awkward. Especially if they're asking you to kiss your significant other. You're literally kissing in front of a stranger who is documenting it. Engagement sessions allow photographers to get to know their clients better. It also helps the couple get comfortable with the photographer. Your wedding day will already be stressful and overwhelming. The last thing you need is to feel awkward while taking photos with your new spouse. I promise, the session will flow so much better if you do a session with the photographer BEFORE your big day.
- Always have a contract. You should never hire a photographer without a contract. This is so crucial for both parties. I've talked to so many couples who had photographers call them the day before their wedding and cancel. Make sure you have a contract with the photographer. Read over everything carefully and be sure to ask what happens if the photographer gets sick or loses a loved one.
No matter which photographer you go with make sure it's worth your investment. Years down the road you won't wish you had a bigger flower arrangement or wedding favors for your guests. You'll wish you had better photos of your wedding day. These will be the moments you'll share with family, friends and children for years to come. So make sure you're investing in your photography and video well.
Steven + Heather