the Big Question
So, you're planning your wedding day and trying to make sense of everything that you need or want for the big day. You've chosen venue of your dreams, found your dress, and picked your colour scheme. You can't help think that there is one thing you're missing...your photographer!
You might be thinking, do I really need a photographer? In this post, I will be covering the most popular reasons that people consider NOT having a wedding photographer, and provide my answer as to why that consideration shouldn't stop you booking a professional photographer to capture one of the most important moments of your life.
Wedding photography isn’t just another expense, it’s an investment. After your wedding day has finished, the cake has been eaten, the dress put into storage or sold and the flowers have all died, you still have one thing to look forward to. The wedding photographs. You can then share them with family and friends, show them to your children and their children, reminiscing about the amazing day you had and the life you've shared together since. You haven’t just paid for some pictures on a memory card, you’ve invested in lifelong memories that are there forever, even when your own memories start to fade away.
With that said, let’s talk about the biggest concern most couples have when choosing their wedding photographer, the cost.
There are what I consider 3 tiers of wedding photographers depending on the area you live. The first tier are the newbies and the inexperienced, commonly found offering to capture your big day for £200 - £400 to gain the experience. The second tier are those with experience and quality, but might not feel they can charge the same as those in the third tier for a variety of reasons, offering full day packages between £700 - £1500. The third tier are those charging upwards of £1600 to capture your wedding photographs, these are usually the best of the best, with an award winning portfolio of wedding photographs. Of course there are those that sit outside of these brackets, but my research suggest these are the most common.
You need to treat each one like buying a car. Do you want a cheaper car that doesn’t have modern safety feature or reliability, a moderately priced family car that will get you from A-B whilst keeping your comfortable, safe and still look good, or can you justify spending a lot more money for a top of the range vehicle with all the bells and whistles? The only way you can answer that is by asking yourself honestly how much your wedding photographs mean to you.
Once you’ve answered that question, you then look for photographers in your preferred value range and in turn treat them like choosing an ice cream. Do you want to add a flake? How about sprinkles or sauce? Each photographer will offer different packages with different “toppings”; wedding albums, memory boxes, prints, engagement shoots.
It’s also worth speaking to the photographer you really like, they might be able to create a custom package for your wedding to bring the cost down depending on the a variety of things, whether that's the date or even removing things from their packages. Of course it isn’t guaranteed they will do this as it’s their business, but if their public packages don't match your requirements, there is no harm in asking the question.
Does this seem like a lot of effort for pictures? It shouldn't do, this is a very important decision you're making and choosing the right photographer should feel effortless in the end.
My Friend the Photographer
Most of us have a friend or relative that has a camera and takes great photos, so it’s completely normal to consider asking them to capture your big day if they haven’t asked you to do so already. Does this mean it’s the right option? Well, that depends. If it was me? I would opt not to. There is a difference between choosing a professional wedding photographer or someone who takes great photographs to capture your wedding. Their experience.
A wedding photographer will have their own way of approaching your big day, knowing where to be at the right time and the etiquette to follow when photographing a wedding. They will have liability insurance, a file backup process to ensure that none of the images are accidentally lost, as well as using professional camera equipment that is fit for the job. It’s highly likely that your friend/relative will not have these things, and feel like a fish out of water when capturing your big day. They might miss important photographs or worse, cause a disruption.
Another detail people don’t often consider is that there is a chance of ruining a friendship with the friend who captures your day if they don’t deliver the images they promised, or if the pictures they capture are not up to the quality you expected. Of course if your friend happens to be a professional wedding photographer and they have said they will capture your day, it’s worth considering, especially if their style matches your own.
More People to Organise
You might be concerned that with everything else going on, you don't want to organise yet another person.
A great wedding photographer won't need someone else to organise them, their job is to capture photographs and be as unobtrusive as possible. They will ask you for the order of the day, any “must capture” images, as well as all other important details before your wedding day to make sure they are as prepared as can be. Most wedding photographers will offer to have a meeting before your big day to go over these details, but you can always ask them about their process for your wedding day during your initial conversations.
When it comes to food, every photographer is different. Some may have a clause in their contracts stating you need to feed them, although most won't have this. Again, this is something that your photographer should make you aware of during your initial conversations, especially if it going to increase the costs of your catering package.
Everyone has their preferences and making sure the day is perfect for them is the most important thing. Not everyone wants to have a huge wedding with friends and family they haven't seen in years attending, instead preferring an intimate ceremony with you, your partner and the registrar. Does this mean that you shouldn't have a professional capture your big day? Absolutely not.
With more time to spend with just the two of you, your photographer will come away with lots of beautiful photographs for you that you will keep forever, and share with your family and friends, or even enjoy just to yourselves.
So, going back to our first question, do you need a professional wedding photographer? The answer is always YES! Whether it's just the two of you and your registrar, or you've got 150 guests, you'll regret not having a professional there to capture the most important day of your life. There are so many moments that happen during your wedding day that you will miss, those unspoken words that you share with your eyes, captured by the camera forever.
With all of that said, thank you so much for reading this blog. Hopefully I've helped persuade you to book the photographer of your dreams (and budget) to capture one of the most magical days of your life.