Wedding photography is a key part of the wedding planning process. There are a few things you should consider when choosing a wedding photographer.
Price is often the first consideration for many brides and grooms when choosing a photographer. After wedding reception expenses like food and venue, photography is often the next expensive item in the wedding budget. Many couples splurge so that they are guaranteed that they will have beautiful memories in years to come. Consequently, many luxury photographers can cost up to $10,000. These photographers are there with you from getting ready until the bitter end of the ceremony. They can have multiple assistants and may offer multiple shoot locations, including a special session between the ceremony and reception. Some upscale photographers also include engagement sessions in their packages so that the photographer and the couple can become comfortable with each other before the wedding day.
This does not mean that if you are a budget bride, you are stuck with bad pictures. There are a few options you can consider. Photographers who are trying to build a reputation or are still students in college will often be cheaper than their more established counterparts. Do not be afraid to haggle. If your wedding is small, you don’t need a photographer and an assistant. You may also not need or want candid photos far into the night. Perhaps you don’t need a professional photo of Uncle Bob doing the chicken dance at ten p.m., long after the party has started winding down. Limited hours can make a photography package cheaper. Finally, even brides with big budgets will leave disposable cameras on the reception tables since no hired photographer can capture every silly, funny or touching moment. Having your guests become amateur photographers can give you pictures that you may never have anticipated.
Before you sign anything, make sure to contact the local Better Business Bureau in your area. It will allow you to see if there are any complaints against that photographer. Visit wedding chat boards or local ratings websites to see if there are any skeletons in the closet that your photographer is trying to hide.
Whoever you go with, make sure that you have a contract that spells out everything you want in the package. Make sure it includes the hours the photographer will cover on your wedding day, any add-ons you have discussed, and who owns the copyrights to the photographs. Some photographers will grant a copyright release so that you can have copies of your wedding photos recreated anywhere; some do not. Some wedding photography contracts include a release so that the photographer can use the photos on their website as advertisement. If you value your privacy, you might want to negotiate a clause that they cannot put your photos on the internet, but may use prints to show to clients in person. For extra insurance, have them include who will cover for them if they have an emergency on the day of the wedding.
Whatever you end up doing, be it going big or small, remember to smile on your big day!