The Good Kind of Dorky


Monday, July 30, 2007

Take a Picture, It'll Last Longer

If you've never "shopped" for a wedding photograher, you may consider yourself officially forewarned. After a few weeks straight of researching and comparing photography styles, comparing prices and ruling out the way out of budget ones, I've been left with one or two options. One of those options was actually the first one I was serious about. I met her in person too. There is also a studio that I am going to call tomorrow to check on their prices. If their prices are good, they are in the running. If their prices are too high, I think I am going to go with my first option and call it a day. Then again, I have few alternative options that are in the running, but they are my third and fourth choices. I'm not exaggerating--literally hours and hours have been spent on this process. I'm ready to make a decision already. I even had a dream last night about wedding photographers that left me tossing and turning.

If you've never researched photographers' prices, I advise you to do so before you actually need one so that you don't faint from the sticker shock alone. I'm not looking for bells and whistles here folks. I'm looking for a decent photographer who will give me a CD with all of the pictures in the end. I'll figure out an album later. For the photographer's time and a CD, we're talking right around $1,900-$2,500. There are some for much more, but this is the range for the ones I've narrowed it down to. There are also a handful for less, but for me to spend that kind of money, they must be able to take better pictures than I can. I mean, seriously.

I read that the biggest wedding regret is not spending enough on a wedding photographer (or is this just the man talking?) I don't want to make that mistake, but there is also no way I am spending $3,000+ even if it is one of the most important days of my life. What do you guys think?

Like I said, you've been forewarned.


  • At 2:47 AM, Anonymous Maya said…

    I have to say, the photography/er is the ONE place I do encourage people to spend, go a bit over their budget in, etc. Why?

    BECAUSE THE PICTURES ARE ALL YOU WILL REALLY HAVE LEFT, in the end. It all depends on a) what type of coverage you'd like (how many hours, a single shooter or two, what style) b) how willing you are to take pictures beforehand, etc. c) also your area will have a range of photographers that are different prices.

    However...there are many of them that will travel readily - just for fun, go check out:
    ....she travels!

    (Actually the beautiful black pregnant lady on the front page is one of my ex-brides)

  • At 8:19 AM, Blogger L Sass said…

    I'm all for the splurging on the photos, too... just like maya said. I do think that photo sessions have gotten out of control (multiple locations, oodles of poses, etc...) now that everyone shoots digital.

    If you're happy with your first choice $1,900-$2,5000 photog, go with her. If you're not 100%, this is somewhere it might be worth spending more money.

  • At 8:24 AM, Blogger Lauren said…

    I agree with Maya.
    I think you should try to pick the photographer you like and the style you like, in your price range. If you do go over budget, it will be money well spent, you will have the pictures forever, not like flowers that die a week later.

  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger Mrs. Higrens said…

    We used the same photographer who did our engagement picture (great parent/grandparent/older family gifts) as I was comfortable with his work from having some other pictures taken over the years.

    As for the wedding pictures, we looked at the album a few times during the first year and since then, maybe I've pulled it out once. So for us, one photog. with a list of shots / group pictures we wanted him to get was perfect. We were sent some candid shots by people who attended as well, so that worked out well.

    The one thing I wish we had done was hire a professional videographer. We set up our camcorder just off the front of the church so we have the ceremony (which has it's funny moments) but nothing from the reception. Which is bad because for the most part it is a total blur and I'd like to see people having fun at it since I'm still hearing what a good time it was.

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger The "Mind" said…

    I'd be more inclined to spend that much on photography than I would on the dress.

    I've got mine all picked out, not that I'm probably ever getting married again, but still. He's a former teacher of mine (band instructor, actually) and he quit to do photography full-time and open his own studio. I drove 50 miles to have him take Doodlebug's baby pictures and am seriously contemplating driving that again to have him do a family portrait of me, DT, Doodlebug and Da Dog.

    Oh, I've gotten off track...but yeah, basically photography would be my big splurge.

  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger Erika said…

    Yes, it's true, if there is no pictures to show off all the money you spent on everything else, then what was the point really? Other than getting married but shit you can do that at the JOP.

    I got married in that horrible time between film and digital. Our photog used both, and you can tell a difference in the digital photos (not in a good way, the color/print is oddly flat). Also, asking for the photos on CD or web-ready was very high-maintenance and snooty-falooty so we didn't get that. I think it's very prudent to pay for the rights to hi-res files on CD and then you can do what you want with them on kodak gallery or whatever ($20 for a 16x20!!) Not all photogs will do that so if you find one that will you are saving yourself a ton of $$.

    I second the one but you will probably ever watch it but even only 4 years later it's funny to see how much everyone has changed, and it captured the atmosphere of our reception. (we did not hire a professional, a friend did it informally, i wish we had paid someone)

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Carrie said…

    The more and more I read your blog, I get where I don't want to do a wedding. I had no idea it costs that much for a photographer. Yikes!

    Are you doing this all on your own? I mean planning? Or is mom or maid of honor helping? I think I would have been locked up if I was doing that alone. Good luck!

  • At 12:42 PM, Blogger Chiada said…

    My wedding pictures went like this:

    Our entire wedding budget was twice the amount that your photographer is charging. So, we couldn't spend half our budget on photos.

    We ended up having my aunt take pictures. She is a hobby photographer. Some of the shots turned out really well. Others just look like normal snapshots. We also had a disposable camera on each of the tables that the guests could use to take pictures of.

    In the end, we have about 4 albums chock full of photos. Most of them are snapshot quality, but there's nothing wrong with them. It's great to have so many to look through. There were even some artsy people who took some very odd/interesting pictures with the disposables.

    The only regret I have is that we don't have about 5 or 6 really nice studio quality shots. But, considering the amount of photos we have in our albums, I'm not complaining too much.

    As for the cost, they were expensive enough, just in development costs since things weren't digital back in 1999.

    My sister just got married and she was able to use a professional photog from our church. He only charged $150/hr, plus the cost of whatever photos they order, which was reeeeally nice. Do you know anybody that could help out like that?

  • At 2:20 PM, Anonymous audrey said…

    We decided to splurge on the photographer and the location (since the location is big part of what makes the photos look good), but we still only spent about what you're spending on your photographer. We saw an amazing photographer at a bridal show, but as soon as we saw that her packages STARTED at 4 grand, we said hell no! (We did end up winning a drawing for a complimentary engagement photo shoot with her, though, so that was awesome!)

    After spending a reasonable amount on our photos, getting a CD of all of them, and making the wedding album myself, I think we did really well. Our photographer was a MAJOR pain in the ass to deal with after the wedding (and a little bit during the wedding -- he tried to get us to tell our friends to go home early from the reception so he wouldn't have to stay all night. Um, hello? Asshole? We want to party with our friends. It's only our WEDDING, but, you know, it's kinda important to us.), but we eventually talked him into following the terms of the contract that we both signed (what a novel idea!) and ended up with beautiful photos. Because of how awful he was to deal with, I would never recommend him, but at least we got gorgeous photos!

  • At 2:26 PM, Anonymous audrey said…

    I also want to second everyone's recommendations to get a videographer. I think we paid $900 for ours, and our video is amazing. It's fun to watch -- especially the reception footage -- on our anniversary or whenever else. Worth every penny, absolutely.

    Oh, and we did the disposables on the tables at the reception, and I'm glad we did. We only got a handful of good pictures out of them (most people didn't realize they had to turn on the flash!) but the few we got are really great. The ones taken by little kids offered a very unique perspective on the event for sure!

  • At 2:33 PM, Blogger Julie said…

    I'm on the site of the photographer that Maya linked to, and I am blown away.

    I would spend a lot on a photographer because I love having/taking photos.

    But you're right, it needs to be better quality than something that you can do yourself.

  • At 6:07 PM, Blogger janet said…

    ugh. just ugh.

    I will say I think it's very good that you are placing a high value on getting the rights to all the images and all the files on a disc in the end. A lot of photogs suck you dry charging $7 for a freaking 4x6.

  • At 9:28 PM, Blogger Amanda said…

    Here via Trina at The Turning Page. We spent a lot on our photos, more than on anything else., and they are certainly beautiful. But we never did anything with them. If I had it to do over I would have pent a little less, saved money for wonderful frames and a weekend getaway...we spent more than you list as your limit. Good luck.

  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger Aimee said…

    I agree with everyone else. I'm big on pictures. But I like the idea of using the disposables on the table (candid is all I really want from the reception really). I'd go with a small package (shorter time frame, etc.) from an awesome (read; more expensive) photog. And try to stay within budget. But yeah, they are spendy, for sure.

    I have a friend who takes awesome photos that said she'd do some too, so that helps.

  • At 12:31 AM, Anonymous alyndabear said…

    Yikes. That's expensive. EXPENSIVE! But since I have no idea about all these wedding related things, I'll go with the majority. Sounds like splurging is the way to go?


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