Before I share a fellow bride's story I wanted to tell you a few things first. I think the most common question that brides want to know during the planning process is, "how much?" How much should a DJ cost, a wedding cake, your officiant, and especially the wedding photographer.
This is when we typically ask our best friend Google and hope to find the answers to our questions. However sometimes Google can let you down. Stay away from searches that ask for "cheap photographer" or "wedding photographer for $900" or less. You will attract some businesses that you will not want to work with. You will see in a minute so stay with me here!!
As you are knee deep in your planning you most likely have a set budget in mind. We ALL have one.
You know what you can spend and if you can save a few dollars along the way then that's great, but there are certain things you will and won't want to do "on the cheap."
The truth is we ALL want to save some $$$ and there is nothing wrong with saving a few hundred dollars here and there.
However, my dad has always quoted this old saying, "If it seems to good to be true it probably is."
Did your dad tell you that too?
Why are our parents always so damn wise?
So if you see things like this deal I just took a quick screen shot of...
----------> RUN AWAY!
I mean this as your friend, do NOT book a wedding photographer that offers you a crazy low price. If it's that cheap the work may not be the best quality or worse they maybe inexperienced which can result in bad wedding photos or they could even lose them after the event (I have heard some horror stories).
It's too scary to even think about!!!
Your wedding happens for one day and there is no do-over so when people tell you that your photos are an investment for a lifetime, it's not just some crazy sales tactic, it is the truth.
You took the time to buy the perfect dress, have your hair and makeup done, dressed your girls and groomsmen up, paid for a nice venue but if it is not captured correctly I guarantee you will feel so disappointed and upset.
We don't want that!
I am not going to say where this deal from, but I decided to give this photographer the benefit of the doubt and just check out their website after I viewed their deal.
Here is what you can expect for $599.
This image was on the main page on their wedding portfolio section, but this image wasn't what really concerned me the most although my jaw did drop a tad.
THIS was the most concerning.
See the photographer?
That is not the same photographer as on the website. It appears that a guest took this image from the sidelines and posted it to their website.
Why they would feature this photo you are pondering, I am not sure honestly.
They had 9 or so similar images and that was their entire wedding portfolio, another warning!
So my point is that $599 may seem like an amazing deal in the moment, it will cost you more in the end.
This is more of an obvious example, but I also found a few other sites through google made up of completely stolen images from from other photographers for low cost coverage. I just couldn't believe it!
Here is one bride's story about her experience hiring a "cheap" wedding photographer from the awesome blog Every Last Detail, Insight for Brides.
I hired a cheap wedding photographer.
The fact is, when I was planning my wedding, I had no clue about anything. I didn’t know what to expect costs to be, what to look for, or how to even know figure out what I liked. The only resources I used were large, popular wedding sites because that’s all I knew about and quite frankly, all that I could find back then.
When I used the budget recommendations of these sites and magazines, the recommended photography percentage was way below what I was realistically seeing for photographer pricing. I didn’t have anyone to tell me what the “normal” pricing was for a good photographer, or even how to know what would be considered “good”. I was counting on the resources I used to help me, and they sadly didn’t.
To make a long story short, this is one of the reasons why I set out to provide realistic information to brides about weddings, and so here I am today! (Note: go here to find out what to expect wedding professionals to cost!)
I’m certainly in no way a photographer, but since I don’t want you to make the same mistake that I did, I thought it would be helpful to pass along some tidbits that I wish I had known when it came to wedding photographers…
1. COST EXPECTATION
One of the first things that would be crucial to know is the normal cost for decent photography, because I myself had no idea. According to my survey of wedding professionals, you can expect to see pricing around $3500 for a professional photographer. This of course will vary depending on location, as well as with the photographers and their experience.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO QUALITY
Oh my goodness- I definitely wish I had known more about what to look for when it came to quality! I met with 4 photographers, but I got so fixated on price that I forgot to also look at quality. It can be quite difficult to compare just based on price, because often times photographers’ pricing structures are different- not to mention that their experience and quality is going to be different too! So please, I beg of you- pay more attention to the quality than to the cost!
3. IT’S NOT JUST A DAY’S WORK
Keep in mind that photographers are not just taking photos of you for 8 hours on your wedding day. They also have to edit the photos (which can take up to 30 hours), design the album, answer your emails and phone calls, and carry out all of the other administrative duties that owning a business entails. (There is so much more, but I’ll leave that to the photographers to explain!) Sure, it’s easy to say that a photographer is making $3500 for a day’s work, but all of the work done before and after the wedding ends up being way more than just one day.
Needless to say, I’m still pretty heartbroken about my lack of knowledge when it came to choosing my photographer. Now that I look at amazing work from photographers every day, I know that my photos could have been so much better. But you live and you learn, right? Just know this...
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
Your photos, just like every other awesome part of your wedding, are an investment that will reward you for years to come.
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