In our digital era, it's easy to get lost in a sea of options and perhaps even the idea that it doesn't take much to be a photographer anymore. And while it is true that photography has become simpler with the evolution of the digital SLR (and DSLT), the belief that anyone with a camera can cover your wedding day and provide lasting, meaningful imagery simply isn't true.
Finding your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you'll make for your wedding day. Next to the vows, the photographer and videographer, should you choose to have one, will create what lasts beyond the day. And that's why this choice is so crucial. Hiring someone who is a hobbyist or choosing someone for how cheap they are - well, those are two things that can land you in a bit of hot water. If a photographer is charging less than the average, it could be that they don't value their work as an artist. When this happens, they're more likely to compromise instead of putting their whole heart into what they're doing. This isn't always the case and I do recognize that we all have to start somewhere, but I will say that the adage of "you get what you pay for" is more often than not very true. The value you place on the photos that will be produced ties into the end result. These photos will stay fresh even as memories fade with time. They'll be what you can show your future children and grand children. They're everything.
As a child, I remember leafing through wedding albums at my grandma's house. I loved seeing my parents and grandparents on one of the happiest days of their lives. These old photographs allowed me to be transported through time, to see what everyone wore (sometimes with a giggle if we're talking the 80s when my parents were wed). It was such an amazing thing to me to see these moments preserved in time. Besides, my mom is absolutely stunning and to see her in her gown just always made me happy.
It's so important to not only choose a professional photographer to capture your day, but to print those photos both separately and in an album. This is one of the reasons I include albums in almost every package. Your album will tell the story of your wedding day in a way that will evoke emotion and take you back to that place of joy. You'll be able to snuggle up on the couch and flip through lush pages, reminiscing about stories from your reception and smiling at photos of relatives you've not seen for some time. You'll fall in love again as you glance sweet moments stolen away together.
These photos are such a treasure and viewing them through that lens will help as you consider cost and options. You want someone who is dedicated, someone who loves being a wedding photographer, and above all, someone who has a style and uniqueness that you find beautiful. There are so many different styles of photography out there now, from the light and airy crowd to the moodier photographers like myself. You'll want to spend time perusing their portfolio - pay close attention to the colors, the way they use the light, whether they have any creative tricks like prisms or double exposures. These are all things to consider when you're narrowing the field and making choices. Don't just consider price. While important, it's not worth basing your decision off of.
I know... now you're thinking I must be crazy. But really, when you're making an investment that will last a lifetime, you should consider so much more than the dollar amount. Something I often hear from people behind the scenes is: why is photography so expensive? Or maybe they think I must really be raking in the cash because I'm being paid thousands of dollars for 8-10 hours of work in one day. It's just not that simple. So much work goes into what we do as wedding photographers. We purchase thousands of dollars in equipment, attend workshops and conferences to keep on-trend and sharp. We spend time talking to and meeting with clients, we buy them drinks, hand over printed materials, pay for advertising and web hosting. Each of my packages include a complimentary engagement session. We spend time scouting the venue or shoot location to make sure we know where to go day of and what lighting looks best. We might need to travel and stay overnight to be there for that and the wedding. On the day of, we work hard to make sure we keep things on timeline and capture every moment we can. Then comes the fun part, hours of culling images and editing each one. Maybe your package included an album, so we've got hours of design and ordering. A high quality album is a thing of beauty that doesn't come cheap. We deliver custom USB drives or online galleries that we host at our expense. We might send prints, welcome gifts, thank you gifts, and a myriad of other things. This is hard work and I love every minute of it, but want to make sure that clients understand what goes into it. It's so much more than just the wedding day. Consider that when you're viewing package pricing from a photographer.
I'll close this with one more piece of love. Make sure that the photographer you choose is someone you really like as a person rather than just an artist. If they're kind and open, you connect well on the phone or in person, and you've noticed in their about section that you've got a few things in common, it'll make working together so much more enjoyable. I really love getting to know my clients on a more personal level, it's one of the best parts of my job. I enjoy easing their nerves and helping them feel more comfortable in front of the camera with a few silly jokes. I also really like getting to celebrate with them at the reception, capturing all the dance moves and moments between family! It's such a special thing to feel like a friend rather than just a photographer and I will always treasure that. If you're looking for a photographer who will be an artist and a friend while capturing your day in the most authentic way, drop me a line! I'd love to connect and document your wedding.
P.S. In case you're curious, here are a couple of my favorites from the day I married my best friend. My style has changed a lot since the wedding, but I still love seeing these.
Our wedding was captured by Allie Lindsey.