Selecting a wedding photographer can often be the most difficult vendor for a bride and groom to secure. This happens for a few reasons; the cost of wedding photography varies from company to company, every photographer has a different style, and many photographers book up a year in advance. Although, there is an incredibly large pool of wedding photographers out there, so rest assured that you will find someone who is the best for you. These three factors are the ones that are the most important when it comes to vetting and selecting your photographer.
I) The Price of Wedding Photography Varies Drastically
This one goes without question, but what you may not realize is that although many popular wedding websites say wedding photography costs about $2,000, most professional photographers charge $4,000-$5,000 for just their base offerings. Depending on a photographers experience, exclusivity, destination, and offerings, your photography investment may even be upwards of $10,000. After that, there are even plenty of options for photographers that have minimum investments of $15,000+. Every couple has an idea of what their budgets for their wedding day are, but I urge you to consider being more flexible with your photography budget if that is something you value on your wedding day. Consider budgeting less for the items that you don’t value as much, and keep an open mind to the quotes you receive from different photographers.
II) How to Identify a Photographer’s Style
Budget may be the first thing you decide on when selecting a photographer, but I truly believe that a photographers style of both taking photos and editing photos is what should be valued most at the end of the day. No matter how much you invest into your photographer, $1000 or $10,000, you will be unhappy with the final images if you don’t love their style. Some photographers take a very back seat approach of documenting the day, by photographing only organic moments that unfold. Other photographers take a very poised approach and plan out every detail of each photos. Some photographers take the best of both worlds and document both organic moments while simultaneously curating images to look more editorial and posed. Think about the vibe that you want your photographs to convey. Also think about how the photographer edits their photos. Are they true to color? Light and airy? Darker and more contrasted? Vibrant? Take a good look at every photographers portfolio to be sure you love their work. Better yet, ask if you can see a full wedding gallery. That gives you the most accurate picture of what working with them would look like.
III) When to Book Your Photographer
Short answer? Right away. Long answer, every photographers availability varies depending on different factors. During slower seasons, or colder seasons, many photographers have extra availability and may be willing to add another wedding to their calendar. Other photographers book up over a year in advance and limit their year to a certain number of weddings. Often, the more you invest in a photographer, the less weddings they book a year which means they have more time to give to each couple. Some photographers thrive on being busy all year round and book their calendar for upwards of 30 to 40 weddings each year. My best advice would be to reach out right away to your top photographers so you can gage whether or not they are available for your wedding. Then you can set up consultations to receive more information and decide if they are the right fit for your day. It is never too early, or too late, to reach out to a photographer! You’ll never know unless you inquire.
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