Post # 1
So I’m wondering… how are you all going about the search for the perfect photographer?
For example: do you Google or Yahoo search for your area and photographer? Or do you look only on places like The Knot or Wedding Wire? Craigslist? Wedding magazines? Word of mouth? Bridal shows?
Which places seemed to have the best information for your local area?
Do you know how much you want to spend before looking, or decide on a budget after comparing photographers you like? Do you have an approximate budget in mind? Specifically, I’d like to know what those of you with the $8-15K budgets think about the photo budget question.
And lastly, what criteria are you using to decide? Do you want the CD plus prints? A Photo book/album? What’s most important to you as far as essential and just a nice extra?
Help! Any advice is greatly appreciated. 😀
Post # 3
I live in MO, but I am getting married in my hometown of KY so I had been searching for a photographer mainly through google. I did searches specifically for "photojournalist style" since that is exactly what I wanted.
Our budget for the entire wedding is around $8000 – we’re hoping to also be able to afford a honeymoon, but that is still up in the air. My photographer website is here: http://www.502photography.com
I also had picked out 2 other photographers that were of the same style. I met with all three, the thing that absolutely sold me on our photographer was that he has no time limit for the day. I found it really dissapointing, knowing with my budget that I would have to pick and choose what we could afford to get photos of. Do I have them take photos preceremony/ceremony and no reception? That was beginning to get to me. Luckily I found this person!
The other thing that sold me was that he can put all high res images on a CD – I’m a graphic designer and honestly don’t want anyone else to be creating my photo albums! So why pay for a package that includes them?
And, my photographer will do a slideshow of the ceremony during the reception which will be a nice touch. I feel like I really lucked out with him. Compared to the other two photogs, his pricing was right in the middle but offered a lot more than the other two. I ended up visiting about 10 different sites and comparing package pricing to see what the median was.
To give you a budget breakdown, our ceremony site is only $220 (includes rehearsal the day before) and our reception site is only $975 (includes setup/teardown, linens, silverware, etc.) So our photog is the most expensive thing in our wedding, but well worth it – we will always have beautiful photos of the day when everything is said and done.
I suggest find photogs sites that you like and comparing the pricing, the style of photos/packages you want/etc – it’ll help you understand what’s a normal price for that style/area and see if it fits into your budget or not. Hope that helps!
Post # 4
I went through the Knot, emailed different photographers that shot in a style I liked. I asked if they were available on my date. A lot of them were, this one woman who wasn’t available gave me a recommendation of a guy she used to work with. Said he does mostly editorial work, but does weddings so beautifully and if she were getting married, she would use him. I emailed him, and got his website, and his stuff was amazing! He is a celebrity photographer, and I had him send me some of his albums (including a proof album). We only wanted the photography and allt he digital files. We will also be printing our own pictures and albums. In comparison, he seems cheap, but was comparable to other photographers I got quotes from. 2 of them for 8 hours for $3000. We kind of decided on a budget after getting quotes from people. He is out of NYC, and the wedding is in Westchester County. Definitely ask to see proofs, so you see an entire day’s worth of shooting and not just the best photos from a bunch of weddings. Anybody can take a few great pictures.
Post # 5
my budget was set before I started looking. I went to a bridal show shortly after becoming engaged, so i checked out all of those websites and quickly discarded most of them (out of price range). i then turned to Google. I google everything.
Lastly, I checked out The Knot…..this was sorta helpful but my budget was a bit lower than many of the brides on my local board. i had more success contacting the vendor thru that search feature The Knot provides. I emailed them my budget and let them know my needs….
In the end, I chose a photographer whose card I picked up at the bridal show. The guy I almost chose was stumbled upon via Google, but he didnt call me back after I requested more reference information.
I was seeking a digital package. This had more to do with my budget than what I actually wanted to get. It was important to me that I owned my prints and could print them out as much and whenever I wanted. For me the cool new album "books" were just a nice extra. I feel confident that I can create something very similiar thru an online service with my digital prints.
I’m in the Southeast too…if that puts anything into perspective.
Post # 6
Finding a photographer was alot easier than my FI and I had thought it would be. From the beginning we knew that we would spare no expense on the photographer. We found our photographer through our wedding venue. We actually picked our venue based on a wedding album that was done by our photographer (if that makes sense! lol).
My FI and I LOVED the style that our photographer had which was really natural.
I would suggest to first get a list of preferred vendors from them and see if you like any of their work. I also found that The Knot was helpful and I also went to a bridal show in my area and met with other photographers. Also, try yelp.com.
My FI and I had a budget in mind before we met with photographers. I knew before hand (just by research) that the median price would be.
Choosing our photographer- I would say 90% of our decision was based on the quality of the photographs, our photographers personality (will we even want to work with this person on the most important day of our lives???), and experience. The last 10% was based on price and what our package came with. We have an AMAZING photographer and she gives us ALL of the high res. photos via CD for free and we get them about a month after our wedding.
My last bit of advice would be to just go with your gut, meet with as many vendors as it takes, these are the memories you will have for life. Also, ask how many photographers they have on staff and ask to meet the ones who will be working with you on that day.
I think thats it. Best of luck!!! :o)
Post # 7
- Wedding: July 2008 - Oceanfront lawn and tent
I used wpja.com. You can search by area and it’s a good way to see what’s out there if you are looking for a photojournalistic style.
We had a much smaller budget than the one you mention, but approxmiate/starting prices are listed on that website so I started with the ones in our budget range.
As for choosing, it was sort of a snap decision for me after falling in love with our photographer’s work. One thing that was important to me was that all of the hi-resolution images are included in the package.
Post # 8
how important is it that the photographer have an assistant with them when they shoot your wedding? I am meeting with photographers this week and most of them are up and coming so i’m not sure that they will have such an infrastructure in place. Was having an assistant an important factor for you all?
Post # 9
All the photographers that I found were through blogs and preferred vendors from my venue. I looked at all their websites to make sure their style matched mine and then I contacted them. I knew how much we were willing to spend before I contacted any of them. Some sent me their packages and others I found out once I met them. I live in NYC and know that it can be very expensive. Photography and videography is very important so I was willing to spend between 9k-12k total for both. My criteria was totally different from my fiance on deciding on who to pick. I knew their pictures would be good. So, I was more focused on how we got along with each other. My fiance kept going back to all the things we could get in the package. What was essential to me in a package was the album and getting the proofs and a parent album. Nice extras would be engagement session and portraits. Hope this helps.
Post # 10
I did some research through The Knot’s website for local vendors. I browsed their message boards as well. I googled for local photographers and also followed the WPJA organization leads.
Browsing Knottie Bios also gave me an idea of the different photographers out there.
My wedding planner was also a good source of vendors but I had already booked my photographer prior to hiring her.
A few things that I required in looking for a photographer were written and signed off copyrights (shared at the least), digital negatives, all proofs unmarked, at least one album, an engagement session, at least 2 photographers and 10 hours of shoot time on the day-of. The other two parents albums we always were going to have done on a place like Blurb or something.
We ended up splurging on our photographer and subsequently our videographer as well. We are in the SF Bay Area and there were just so many photographers to look at and choose from! The decision, in the end, was really easy, though. 🙂
Post # 11
We found our photographer through Craigslist and couldn’t be happier! After looking at the knot and other wedding sites nothing was fitting into our budget. I wanted a big package for a teensy bit.
I really think it was just luck, she recently moved back into the area and wanted to get her name out there. She had been living in Texas and was posted on the knot under her area.
I checked out her website, a few emails back and forth, a meeting at a coffe shop and the rest is history. We took our engagement photos last October and couldn’t have been happier. I cannot wait until the wedding.
We wanted to do the e-pics early, just in case we weren’t happy with something and still had time to change photogs. But I am very happy to say I wouldn’t give her up for anything!!!!
Post # 12
I found a few I liked off of WPJA, told my wedding planner, and she recommended a newbie to the biz who was absolutely fabulous, did exactly what we wanted (digital rights and second shooter without an album) and charged MUCH less than others…so I guess word of mouth!
Post # 13
meelahj: I think having a second photographer is VERY important. My brother is a photographer and he said it’s a must. Having 2 pairs of eyes is always better than one. For us, one can be taking pictures of the girls while the other is with the boys. Then the rest of the day, I didn’t want to chance the main photographer missing something. And it was only 500 bucks for the extra one. So worth it, so if you can afford it, I say go for it. Besides, that’s twice the number of proofs to pick from! I guess to answer your question, it’s not necessarily an assistant. Most photographers at least know of another one that they think is fabulous and then it could give TWO up and coming photographers a chance to take some great pictures!
Post # 14
I found my wedding photographer using myspace. Since I have a very limited budget I wanted a photographer who was just starting out, building their portfolio and whose rates were low. The woman I found takes awesome pictures both modern and vintage. I absolutely love working with her, and can’t wait to see the work she does for us!
Post # 15
I actually found my photographer on MySpace too! I fell in love with his pictures. If I get everything I want, he’s expensive. However, buying what comes in the average "package" from most photogs is actually less expensive with him.
Post # 16
I’m a journalist, so I was lucky to be able to hire a co-worker who does freelance wedding photography on the side. She’s giving me a great package for $300– others I looked into had the same package starting at $1,000.
I suggest giving your local newspaper reporters a call. Or get in contact with the photographer of a newspaper. Much of the time, they do freelance work and can offer you great deals. I’ve never met a photog in my field who wasn’t supplementing his/her income with freelance!