If you’re planning a wedding, one of the most important steps will be booking your wedding photographer. But how do you choose? Where do you begin? And what makes a good wedding photographer? There are many determining factors but everything boils down to the TOP 3:
A photographer’s style, i.e. everything that composes their finished product, is the most important factor when choosing your wedding photographer. This is ultimately how a photographer ‘sees’ things. It’s everything done in-camera like posing, framing, composition, staging, lighting, creative eye/angle, use of landscapes and backdrops…to everything done in editing like color tones, color temperatures, saturation, vibrance, contrast, etc.
In other words: what you see on their website is what you get. If you don’t like the finished product, it’s time to move on and look at other photographers’ work. Start by figuring out the style you prefer. The main three styles right now in 2020 are:
Dark & Moody | Natural & True-to-Life | Light & Airy
(I personally love color tones that look natural and true-to-life, just tuned up. I want my photographs to be timeless and not feel dated. You know how you can look at your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ photos and say: “Oh wow, that look so 1930’s/40’s/50’s, etc” ? That’s because the style reflects a particular way photos were shot.
Figure out what you like.
(This is me)
WHO is your photographer? Not their name. Not their brand. But what is their personality? It’s very important to choose a wedding photographer you feel comfortable with!
Your wedding photographer is usually the vendor who spends the most time with you throughout the wedding process. Not just on your wedding day (though this is a big part of it), but also throughout the wedding planning and post-wedding phases. Think about it:
Pre-wedding: your wedding photographer will photograph your engagement photos, help you plan your wedding day timeline around certain key photo-worthy moments, and/or help you understand the timing of your day (i.e. how long it takes to photograph certain elements like getting ready, family photos, etc.).
Wedding day: most modern weddings have about 8 hours of photography coverage which typically starts toward the end of the Bride and Groom getting ready and ends an hour or so before the wedding reception concludes. This is a lot of time with you, and unless you have a wedding planner, it will be your wedding photographer that spends the most time with you on your wedding day. To put it simply: if someone is photographing you all day, you want to make sure you get along with them!
Ask yourself, does your photographer:
make you feel comfortable
match your personalities
feel like a friend
Make sure the answer is “yes” to all of those!
Pricing is certainly an important decision when planning a wedding and choosing your vendors. Each couple has a different budget. But it’s important to always budget a little extra for your wedding photography, or be willing to spend more than you planned.
Your wedding photographs will preserve your wedding day forever. They are the one thing you take with you when the wedding day is over. The food will be consumed, flowers will wilt, the music stops playing, but your photographs last forever for you to remember and for future generations to admire.
Ok ok you get the point, so what about the price? How much should a wedding photographer cost? What is the average price for wedding photography?
It’s a little more complicated than a straight answer, but here’s the simplified version. Wedding pricing comes down to:
(what market you’re in)
Where you live will be one of the top factors in pricing. Wedding photography in New York City is a lot more expensive than in Boise, Idaho. Cost of living and cost of doing business is higher in NYC, so prices will naturally be higher to cover expenses.
(how long the photographer has been shooting weddings)
A more experienced photographer will cost more money than a rookie who is starting to build a portfolio.
(what services are included in the packages: hours, number of photographers, printing rights, albums, prints, etc)
In 2020, the national average is $2,500, but remember: this is the average cost of all markets, both big and small. It’s important for you to find out what the average cost of wedding photography is in your STATE.
For instance, here in Connecticut, the average cost of wedding photography is $3,500. The vast majority of wedding photographers charge around this price point, but some charge as high as $8,000 and some charge as low as $800. Again: Location, Experience, and Value are determinants of the price. Know what you are getting, and know the coverage you’re looking for.