Once the wedding is over, all you’ve got is the ring, the man, and the photos – and I always advise my clients to choose wisely! Just think of how much thought goes into selecting the ring… and the guy. It takes a while to find that perfect ring, and even longer to find the perfect man. But what about the perfect photographer?
Behind every great wedding photo is a great wedding photographer – which is why some photographers may cost more or less than others. Like all elements of the wedding journey, there are many factors that cause prices to fluctuate from vendor to vendor. How much should an engagement ring cost? What’s the going rate for a wedding florist? I may not have the answers to those questions, but I can speak to the photos!
So, how much should wedding photography cost? The answer my not be straight forward after all. There are several different aspects of photography that impact the price:
When researching photographers, you’ll notice that the cost of wedding photography varies by city. For instance, brides in New York may receive a different price from a bride in North Carolina for a comparable package. It’s helpful to research average prices for wedding photography near your home before creating a realistic budget. One of the biggest misconceptions I see is from brides who read wedding articles that pull in an average of what photographers charge. Often this is a national average and not representative of the specific region you are in.
Pricing and Packages
There are no cookie cutters here. You’ll likely find that each photographer has a different pricing and package structure than the next. When comparing packages, it’s important to consider the value that each package offers. For example, some photographers charge an additional travel fee or second photographer fee, while other photographers have this already included in pricing. Some photographers may include products like albums and books, while others offer this a la carte.
It’s important not to base first impressions on pricing until you are sure of what the price includes. If you are still left with questions after receiving pricing, the photographer should be glad to clear up any confusion.
Expertise and Experience
This one is big! After all of your research, you may still find two photographers in the same location, offering very similar products and services, whose prices differ significantly. This usually comes down to the photographer’s skill and experience. With wedding photography, and life, the phrase “You get what you pay for” is typically true. You may search for a photographer and see a handful of photos you love. Will all of the photos in your gallery look as great? Someone once said the difference between a pro and an amateur is the ability to reliably create consistent results time and time again.
Thankfully we live in reviews driven world, read reviews of a photographer (actually, any vendor!) you are considering. Every bride is doing this for the first time and doesn’t know the questions to ask but reviews will help to fill in those gaps.
So how much should wedding photography cost? That part is up to you! How much do you value it? At the end of the day, you have the ring, the guy, and the photos. The choice is yours. If I can offer up one small tid bit, make sure you meet with your photographer in person, when possible. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them on the wedding day and there is only so much you can learn by a couple e-mail exchanges and a pricing sheet. Your gut will help you make that choice.