When shopping for wedding photography, many brides and photographers miss the mark in communicating value. So here’s the question everyone wants to know when looking for their wedding photographer: What makes an $800 photographer different from a $5000-plus wedding photographer?
“ Price is what you pay but value is what you get.” - Warren Buffet
1. Your prospective Photographer should ensure their clients that they are adequately prepared and have the right equipment. Ask if they use full frame gear (even if they will be renting gear for your wedding, this is okay). Ask about their knowledge of lighting. The use of film points to a professional Photographer who invests in the care and upkeep of their equipment. Beware though, the fanciest camera and bag full of lenses does not equal talent. A Photographer is as good as their own eye, so be sure to ask to see real, full wedding galleries. Seeing how the wedding Photographer handles harsh sunlight for a midday ceremony, as well as dark or moody atmospheres that is typical during the toasts, dancing, and send-off will give you a better idea of what to expect for your own wedding. It is unfair to you as the bride, as well as the Photographer, to expect the same perfect lighting/mood throughout your wedding day. If you’ve seen a full wedding gallery, and you like the full range of images your higher-end Photographer is able to capture, you will feel better about investing in their knowledge and talents to handle anything that will happen on your wedding day.
2. Their clients usually walk away with more than just a flash drive. Having your wedding photography to hold in-hand after your wedding day is unusual for a lower cost Photographer to be able to offer and still have a bottom line. However, it is important to value a Photographer who believes in their art and confidently brings it into print. Some Photographers build this print cost into their packages or as an add-on to their creative services. This is a good sign that your higher cost Photographer is the real deal and will provide marvelous value in prints for you and your family to cherish for years.
3. A higher cost wedding Photographer usually relates to experience and as a service provider that understands the costs of doing business. It should be no surprise that a Photographer has normal costs of doing business such as taxes, insurance, marketing, continuing education, etc. A wedding Photographer should know their cost of doing business, be making a profit to live, support their family, and be investing for their future. Paying a little more for a wedding Photographer who takes less work seasonally for a smarter work-life balance, should be an easy choice. Usually, these Photographers are excellent at glossing over a tighter budget.
4. Not all wedding Photographers have a background in only wedding or family portrait photography. Many of the best wedding Photographers have editorial, commercial, and strong personal portfolio experience, and they are consistently submitting work to be published. These Photographers are a great fit for a bride looking for a higher end investment in her dear memories. When interviewing your Photographer, ask about their other projects and if they work outside of the wedding industry.
When you’re getting married, there are a million details to decide and many moments you don’t want to hear that your photographer missed. Skimping on photography could mean a missed moment of when your dad stands to give his blessing and wisdom but takes a moment to compose himself to not let anyone know that he’s a little sad but so hopeful because his child is starting their life and trusting that their care and their future is now in the hands of someone else. It takes him a few breaths, but he lets the single drop of moisture slide and the words form in his proud voice flow. Or the moment your future spouse clasps their hands on their heart when they see you in your wedding attire for the first time, “It feels so real now” you can feel them think, and they have to close their eyes in overwhelm because they can’t contain what they see before them. A Photographer’s worth is the trust you put in them. Their experience, professionalism, and value is what you pay for. Choose your Photographer wisely, Dear Bride, and one last tip: always ask for to see at least one full wedding gallery when you interview your potential Photographer. It is important to fall in love with your Wedding Photographer’s style and trust that they are passionate about their work.
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