Now, you're lead to believe that you should never choose the "cheap" photographer...
But what is "cheap"?
Should you really discount the photographer that's pricing isn't a good $2k for 4 hours?
I've been doing weddings for 3 years now, and to be completely honest, the horror stories I've heard have been from photographers that boast ten years plus experience.
Ultimately, the first and foremost thing you NEED to do when looking at photographers, is MEET THEM!
Meeting your potential candidates is the single most important thing you can do when choosing a photographer.
You want someone around you on the day who is going to help you feel comfortable. Is going to help you forget the camera. Certain personalities will resonate with you more than others, so it pays to pick the person with a personality you get along with!
Meeting them also provides the perfect opportunity to ask any questions about planning or photography that you can think of. Sometimes these questions are hard to think of at the time, so a good photographer should be able to answer any questions you have even after the consult.
I've heard too many stories of people being jilted or stuffed over by photographers they hired.. but never met before the day! Do more than just a zoom call... get them in the flesh!
Something else you need to consider is what kind of photographer you want. What style you want to apply to your wedding. What do you want to remember the most.
There's lots of different styles and methods to wedding photography, but the current trend is the "autumn tones". A lot of photographers are adding the orange tones to their images to give it a warm and loving feel... but is the trend what you want?
Ask yourself, how do you truly want to remember from your wedding?
The candid moments?
The traditional images?
Romantic images of you and your other half?
Different photographers are great at capturing different things. Everyone has an eye for something different.
Pricing and your budget is a massive consideration.
But in reality, is that photographer going to give you what you want?
Are you actually paying for what you want?
Cheaper photographers do have their downsides. Chances are, you won't get those amazing artistic images you see in high profile magazines. But, cheaper photographers are generally starting out in the industry and/or don't feel confident enough charging full time photographer rates.
There's a lot that goes into photography that the client doesn't always see. It's the hour meetings and more with clients, the weeks preparation for the actual wedding day, the investments on good and better gear, the full wedding, the weeks editing and sorting images afterwards, then the final give over.
I'm a fairly quick worker, and a 10 hour wedding could easily end up being 60-80 hours of work. I'm not full time though, and can easily live off smaller "by hour" rates doing weddings part time. But do you really think two weeks pay at $800.00 is enough for a full time 'tog? Imagine trying to live on a weekly wage that is less than your weeks rent? That's why full time photographers charge so much more. A good proportion of the time, it's a reflection of the work they put in. I don't do a lot of editing, but I know some photographers that can take at least 4 weeks going over a weddings images.
Think about the effort you've put into planning your own wedding... chances are, we've done even the same amount of preparation.
Now that we've gone over the big three and had a wee discussion about those... Now I want to show you a list of thoughts and considerations.
- Your budget
- Whether you want someone "kid-friendly"
- Certain personalities
- Their work and their style
- Meet them and see what they are like in person! Do you get on well with them?
- Location - are they local or are you wanting them to travel?
- What do they include in their packages? What products would you want/not want?
- Look over their wedding contract and have a careful read.
- Book an engagement shoot with a potential candidate!
- Ask their availability!
P.S Not in order of importance.
All that being said, if you are having a traditional/proper wedding.... get the wedding venue first!
This will give you a date to work with, so that you can organize this with an available photographer you want to work with. With an elopement this is slightly more flexible.