Investing in your wedding photography

The constant dialogue about how much wedding photography ‘should’ cost will be forever floating around the wedding world. 

My honest answer? How long is a piece of string. 

Not entirely helpful I know, but there are so many moving components when it comes to deciding what to pay for a wedding photographer and ultimately my job is to educate you with all of the information I have and allow you make your own decision. Wedding photography is SO subjective you cannot place a ball-part figure on how you value your memories.

Their skill-set, their expertise, where they are based, how in demand they are all comes into play.  Not to mention their overheads, their kit and how much they simply charge of their time. It is not an exact science.

There will always be photographers that are more expensive and will always be photographers that are cheaper. What I would encourage you to do is use this article to help you make a decision based on values that resonate with you beyond the budget. Do your research, look deeper, value a service for what it’s worth and make your decision from there.

I invited Nu Bride Ambassador and sought after photographer John Nassari to help untangle this little web we weave and make it a little more transparent for you.

Over to John!

How do you educate people on how to value their wedding day memories? 

There is a common assumption in the industry that your wedding photography should cost 10% of your overall wedding budget. But this isn’t the case.

There are so many components to consider when choosing how much to invest in your wedding photography, or any wedding service for that matter.

What I would say is invest in the element of your wedding that you value the most.

Whilst at times, there may be some room to negotiate, its worth also remembering, sometimes the price is the price.

There are many photographers in the industry, so it’s not uncommon for photographers to be asked to compete, or match lower rates, however, photographers shouldn’t be “played off” against each other in an attempt to lower their rates for you If you are asking a photographer to consider matching a price you need to be aware of what they are offering and be transparent with the services you are asking them to match and ensure you are comparing like-for-like services.

Consider their credibility

Do they have a degree in photography? How many years experience do they have? Are they a full time photographer? How many hours will they be shooting at your wedding for? Are you getting albums? What quality are the albums? Are you getting high resolution images (e.g: some photographers charge extra  for high res images) Are you offered exclusivity are weddings capped each year?

Nu Bride: Yup – I bet our head is spinning right now, stay with us…

To help you better understand how much you choose to invest, you have to understand what it is you are getting for your money. So research first and ask questions.

When comparing, compare properly

Just because photographers may be around the same price, doesn’t mean they are the same quality. As before, take into consideration their experience,  their skill set, no two photographers can ever be the same.

Is the style of photography similar? Is it the same quality? What is included in the package?

Quality photographers get booked for more work, as such, they are in more demand and with high-end work comes more pressure, the stakes are higher and fee’s are higher for that purpose. If there is a bigger investment in a photographers time, this also commands a higher fee and this is reflected in the input and output you receive from your photographer, pre, during and post wedding.

Do you get an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) with the photos? I have increasingly been working at a level where my clients are wealthy private people, that don’t want their photos online and posted. There is a cost for me to not be able to show the pictures or even mention the clients name, so my packages reflect that where appropriate.

When I work with a couple its more than just capturing their day, its about the experience, capturing a life event for them. Its about looking after my couples and treating them as people rather than just clients and investing in long term relationships.

Are they an Expert

Have they had their own exhibition? Do they work outside of the wedding industry. If so this can often mean it improves their portfolio and adaptability, expands how they work and allows you to measure their reputation too. Photographers have diverse portfolios, wedding photographers don’t. 

Understand the market

What type of wedding photography do you like, does it come at a premium?

Different types of photography most commonly referred to as reportage /  (documentary –  unposed) photography, fine art photography, contemporary photography, traditional ( think royal wedding) photography. Each photographer has a different style. They all have different feels, start to notice what style you gravitate towards and look for photographers with that expertise.

How do you value wedding photography

Photography is so subjective. You just know if you like it, or not!

When looking through a photographers portfolio you should get a ‘liveliness’ from it,  an energy, or a positive feeling from the images.

 Shortlist wedding photographers on instinct…. always go with your gut.

Remember a photographers website only shows highlights. You need to get a feel for how a photographer shoots a full wedding, so once you have shortlisted, always arrange to meet with them and request to see a full wedding album or gallery of images via a USB. Professional photographers will always be happy to assist with this request.

Spend some times researching lots of different examples of photographers an styles. it takes time but it will help you make an informed decision. Of course take advantage of wedding bloggers and their knowledge and recommendations too.

Last and most important is do you feel relaxed around them? Respect them, trust them. Do you want them at your wedding? Connection is as important as the work itself; I would say even more important. There is no point having great work from somebody you don’t get on with.

Cost aside, choosing your wedding photographer is personal, take your time and consider what values are important to you when investing in your wedding photographer. Your images will last forever.

Fabulous John, Some really useful and important advice. 

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