Wedding photographers provide a service which can widely vary in price for what looks to a similar service, so how do you find the right photographer and the right price?
Think about what you would like to record about your special day, what will you use the photographs for and what style of image, print or album prints you would like as your keepsake or memento of the day. The duration the photographer is there will impact on the price you pay; you should not consider the number of shots or promised resulting images as a measure of the cost of a photographer.
Simply think about scenes in the wedding; the bride and groom are getting ready; arriving at the church; the ceremony; formal shots; wedding breakfast; speeches; first dance; cake cutting and the reception.
You will need to consider how the photos are to be shared; this includes social media such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. Do you want your guest blasting mobile phone or iPad shots across the globe as it happens? Would you prefer an armistice on a mobile device for instance? Perhaps people can send a few images to the global audience with a #hashtag you can see what was shared and include these in a social media album.
How do you want the final photographs presented; this is some different size prints in colour or Black & White or perhaps a box of prints of a particular size. Album choice come in a whole variety of finishes, and subsequently, prices which can range from £50 to £400 for a top notch leather bound letter cut photograph album, you may also consider giving the parent there own album as well as your own.
A question to ask the photographer is, how much are high definition prints or additional prints (prices range from £15-25 for each print or image downloaded), some photographers like me include high definition images in the price, while others may charge for any high definition prints. Check with the photographer before hand as this may have an impact on your budget.
You can, of course, hone the photography budget by selecting parts of the day to be photographed. You may only want the ceremony and some group photos after the ceremony; you may just want to record the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. You may have a break in the day and require the photographer in the evening for the first dance and cake cutting. Different photographers may charge for waiting time, for example, a photographer may charge you three hours waiting time, whereas another will use this time to check images and take without additional cost.
Primarily it is your day and ask, for what you want to get from the photographer once he/she has completed their work. I need to mention the darkroom processes; some photographers will turn photos around very quickly, and you may see the results in 5-8 days after your wedding, others may take longer to process, and it is not unreasonable to be told that they will not be ready for 30-40 days. Why so long, it depends on the photographer’s workflow, schedule and the amount of digital darkroom processing to be done which in turn could be driven by the style of photography.
The formal style which contains individuals, couples and groups of people standing or sitting in pre-defined poses, typically directed by the photographer. Originating from the start of wedding photography in 1840 and then made more popular in the boom years after the end of second world war, during this period camera equipment became portable moving the previous studio-based format to outside the wedding venue but maintaining the formal style.
Photojournalism or documentary wedding photography is about recording the events of the day, with a scattering of formal shots, candids and the day as it happens. The format for this is an editorial reporting styles and focuses more on candid images with little photographer interaction; a wedding photojournalist typically shoots images quickly using available light or on-camera flash rather than using traditional, formal posing techniques and studio lights.
The Fashion style stems from fashion shots and is more about spending the day posing in a light controlled environment such as a studio the shoot being scripted and orchestrated by the photographer.
The Contemporary style is a modern outlook on studio or at the venue poses and settings. You and your partner and perhaps family members may be involved in a particular sport, activity or pursuit and wish to include this on your wedding day. Perhaps it is a love of cycling where the wedding party and some guests pose on cycles or go for a ride out during the day. You may wish to get the photography out the way before the day or even on the day and use a full studio with make and hair specialist to assist in getting the perfect photographs.
The styles provide a guide to the genre around wedding photography; typically my days are a mix and match version of each of the styles to get the best for my clients. There are other subcategories of the styles as well as your style, and you will need to make sure you have expressed this to the photographer before the day.
My final tip is to organise a pre-wedding shot with the photographer; this works for all the parties involved, gelling the day together as you already have interacted with the chosen photographer and seen the results of the shoot. You are no longer camera shy and are aware of any visual signs the photographer may give you; it is also handy to know what he/she looks like you make sure you know which way to look!
Last but not least is the photography contract, reputable photographers will ask you to sign a contract read through this and make sure that the things you want are included before signing.
John Woracker is available in the UK and Northern Europe. From formal group shots to those candid spontaneous moments, he can capture the wonderful story of your wedding celebrations and the joy and happiness of everyone who attends.