It’s understandable to want to cut down on costs for a wedding. With the costs of the reception venue, feeding everyone, the gown, the décor and everything else in between, it’s easy to end up cutting corners when you can. Sadly, one of the most common mistakes brides make is going cheap on the photographer. While some brides happily let their nieces take photos with an amateur camera, most brides can only trust the documentation of something that big to the professionals. We don’t blame them. Why spend all that money on such a beautiful ceremony and not bother assuring you capture every gorgeous moment?
There is, of course, room for compromise. You can definitely have gorgeous wedding photos without breaking the bank. This is a guide on how much you should pay your wedding photographer so photos from your special day don’t end up looking like they were edited with Instagram filters.
The first question you should ask: What are photographers’ average costs?
Costs for photographers vary greatly, depending on their expertise and experience. Surprisingly enough, even if high quality cameras are more accessible than ever, costs for photographers are also higher than ever.
Research shows that the average amount spent on a wedding photographer rounds up to about $2600 in 2015. Most experts agree that the range runs from $2500 to $10000. This would cover the typical 8 hours of the preparation, the ceremony and the reception.
Costs also depend on where you are. While $2500 seems to be the national average, the wedding photographer would cost you closer to $4000 if you get married in places like New York of San Francisco. Engagement shoots cost a bit less, but notably not included in the aforementioned price.
Compromising costs can sometimes compromise quality.
How you want your wedding to be captured plays a huge role on how much you should spend. Are you considering a highly regarded photographer? Those have rates that start at $6000 at the very least.
Having said that, it’s also important to be careful with the photographer that you choose. Look at their portfolios and packages closely. Just because their services are expensive, it might not necessarily mean that they’re good for the price. There are up and coming photographers everywhere that do great work for less. Ask around for recommendations. Make sure you take a really close look at those samples and portfolios. See if their style fits what you need. It’s just a matter of responsibly looking for your options.
What do I really want captured?
Lastly, deciding how much of your wedding you want to be documented is extremely important. This is something you should stand firm on before you even approach any photographers. Do you want just digital copies of photos? Maybe “Same-Day Edit” Video would be good. Do you need photo albums and prints?
When you’ve established your “minimums” and distinguish them from your “nice to haves”, your search for the perfect wedding photographer becomes so much easier. Whether or not you’re on a budget, every bride truly deserves to have her perfect day perfectly documented.