hello Jen, Jen
Originally, we did not have a large budget for a photographer either. After looking for someone with professional experience for quite a while I realized to a certain degree you get what you pay for.
I wanted great pictures because I love pictures and it is true that the pictures are the only real keepsake that you will cherish as reminders of the memories of your great day.
For someone who is somewhat experienced, has backup equipment, properly takes care of your images ( keeping them secure and processing them correctly), has a good mannerism, can deal with inevitable problems that occur during your event, can manage multiple personalities of guests in varying states, will be on time , let alone show up, etc. etc. etc…. I haven’t seen anything less than $850 for a single photographer, and that is only for coverage for between five and eight hours, and may or may not include the digital negatives. a good deal on a great single photographer could be about $1000.
Someone such as this is good and sought-after and usually booked a year in advance for most of their dates.
most photographers only work so many weddings a year in southern Ontario, most offseasons start at the end of October or early November and go through to sometime in April or May and exclude the big holidays.
many people agree that you can never go back and retake photos…, So make sure there taken properly, you can always get albums done later, when your finances permit.
consider that you might remain married for the rest of your life, add $350-$500 to your photography budget, divide that amount of the number of years you will either love your photos, or despise the memory of the frustration of the experience of having them taken in an aggravating way were turning out terrible….so for $20 a year for the next 25 years. Only you can decide whether it’s worth it to you.
Except for the photography, my wedding day was the most enjoyable, fun filled experience I have had… All my family and friends were thereto celebrate with me, everyone was dressed nice and we truly looked our best. for most, this is the one and only time they hired a professional photographer and look that good! is usually the best photos of their life!
again, unfortunately not for me…
We asked / hired a family friend was a good camera and supposedly a lot of experience… We gave them $500 to cover all day and give us a disk of images. We also asked a number of family and friends to bring their cameras and take random photos.
In my case this was a recipe for disaster, that is a statement coming from a laid-back easy-going person. I’ll do my best to recount some of the things that happened to me so that you might be able to avoid or manage them. But first I have to tell you that I was terribly upset when I received my pictures – and it cost me over $600 plus tax to have a professional fix most of the problems…problems that most likely would’ve been avoided by professional….and the pictures would have been better in the end…. And for the same total cost…, But without the frustration and aggravation, both on my wedding day and dealing with this family friend afterward.
Some of the major points include in no particular order:
- a family friend, I requested do my photos was from out of town and arrived to the preceremony late (, but only by a few minutes – just enough to worry me).
- the photographer did not have a wide enough angled lens (. They had a standard lens and a telephoto lens – … Have since learned digital cameras increase the zoom of standard lenses…we could not accomplish any small group photos inside my modest house.
- The photographer had trouble dealing with the sun… Our backyard was beautifully decorated on one side, but at the preceremony time the sun was behind us and he had trouble dealing with Sun, in the lens, and causing the camera to take dark pictures of our faces. this we later learned is not that fixable – especially when someone does not shoot in what is called raw format.
- the photographer did not use raw format… we have since learned that while it is more work to use raw format, it is safer to experience photographer do postproduction, then to allow the camera to try to do it – inevitably making some wrong decisions and losing information in the process, never to be regained, thus compromising the quality of your images.
- Relatives with cameras chased the flower girl around incessantly until she was so frustrated she would not pose for any pictures at the important times, and it was difficult to get her to walk down the aisle.
- If I ever renew my vows. I will put streamers along the aisle… My loving relatives stood in front of me as I walked down the aisle with their point-and-shoot cameras waiting for the flash go off as there are cheap cameras tried to take my picture. I actually had to stop walking and smile while waiting for advanced camera to go off so that she would get out of my way. I was not prepared to handle this.
- In a weird way that previous horrific experience was forgivable as these were my only real ceremony shots: while I was walking down the aisle. My photographer left the church! . I had no idea why. my Photographer returned towards the end of the ceremony… I found out later, his camera body stopped functioning, he did not have a backup camera so he raced off to “future store” and bought the next closest thing. I think this rattled him a bit too… During the formals, it appeared as though he was trying to learn the camera while missing things like the grooms bowtie being crooked throughout the entire formal session, my favorite picture of us as a couple and one of the few has a huge lamppost sticking it out of my head for the flowerpot resting on my husbands ( from behind)
- the photographer did not know enough to tell me or my other guests who followed us. After the ceremony, that in all my formal group photos everyone is looking in 10 different directions all the time and it looks really weird. It turns out everyone was looking at different cameras as my relatives tried to help – many of the photographers shots also have people blinking probably from other people’s flashes and a few times. My photographer caught pictures with other people’s flashes going off at the same time… With all this confusion, the formals seemed to drag out as a photographer tried to retake the photo again and again.
- We did not look happy in our pictures and I do not remember enjoying my family and bridal parties company during that time…we all just wanted it to be over with.
- I won’t hold this one to the photographer – we are shy people as a couple, a lot of my family and friends are pretty reserved… Not having done engagement shoot or a previous photography experience with our family friend / photographer…. It was hard to communicate and come up with ideas for photos…
- The photographer at our wedding was experienced with animals and landscapes, their pictures were amazing…I’ve since learned people are not animals, usually and landscapes with people in it is not the same as just taking pictures of landscapes
- I don’t have a double chin, but because my photographer was shorter than meand shooting up that my chin all the time, it somewhat appears so… I have being told that even a shorter photographer can avoid this by simply pointing the camera level as opposed angling it up…you’ll have to check this.
- We did not get pictures from our photographer for many months, even as proofs…. Undoubtedly, he was worried we would be upset with the result…. He was right. He also did not have experience doing post production or making prints and albums etc…al he had to do was hand us a disc.
- What can you do when someone without a contract tries to do a favor for you and screws it up…, Especially when it is likely you will see that person again and again.
- Many professionals require the reputation in order to stay in business, I think this puts an added level of concern and vested interest in the photographer being ultra-prepared and doing very well…. Hobbyists and part-timers and newbies can choose to take a new direction in life much more easily if they fail with your wedding.
this is not a complete list, as I realize now is much longer than I have time to write… I hope this helps…
It is not that I do not believe that you cannot find a great student or part-timer who can do a good job
The probability dictates that it is more likely that someone who has done 30 to 50 weddings a year for the last five or 10 years is more likely to be consistent throughout your entire wedding day and be able to manage and avoid a lot of these problems… Again, in the end, they cost me just as much money to end up with lots of great photos and I realize that sometimes you can’t afford not to.
But if pictures are not incredibly important, and you cannot spot the difference between a cheap snapshot in a professional photo ( and I couldn’t until it was shown them, then I really realize the difference) . And if you don’t mind a gamble of maybe not getting as many great photos consistently through the day and you can overlook the ‘minor’ frustrations that I experience and be happy with a couple really good shots that may result, then you might try the cheaper route.
I think there must be photographers who get booked and their assitants are not needed for a smaller wedding and I would look to hiring the assistant on a discounted rate because at least they have had wedding experience and with an established photographer who has taught them full time what is expected of them and they have seen how to handle certain situations…
Then i would try finding an all star senior photography student recommended by their teachers or at least marks
most of all be comfortable with their portfolio and their mannerisms….
they will be around you most of your wedding day and probably have a great influence on it.
it doensn’t hurt to have an engagemnt shoot to practice and see how they do as welll…but at $500 for the whole deal…well i do not know an engagement shoot will be included and if it is…
all i can say is good luck to all…there is always deals to be had…just make sure you are making a value based decision