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Hi guys,

 

I'm not sure if there's an existing thread about this already, and I apologize if I'm repeating the topic. We're starting to look into photography for our wedding, but not really sure what things to look for when booking one. Sounds silly, I know, but having good pictures to remember our wedding day is really important to me.

 

I obviously know the basics: package, coverage, price, etc. Are there other things I should be asking or taking into consideration while we're looking around? How much on average do people spend on pictures after the wedding if their package includes photography services only? We are open to booking photographers both locally or one to bring down with us. Thanks for your help in advance!

 

Row

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Originally Posted by bride2010 View Post
Hi guys,

I'm not sure if there's an existing thread about this already, and I apologize if I'm repeating the topic. We're starting to look into photography for our wedding, but not really sure what things to look for when booking one. Sounds silly, I know, but having good pictures to remember our wedding day is really important to me.

I obviously know the basics: package, coverage, price, etc. Are there other things I should be asking or taking into consideration while we're looking around? How much on average do people spend on pictures after the wedding if their package includes photography services only? We are open to booking photographers both locally or one to bring down with us. Thanks for your help in advance!

Row
Can't say on the after-package average, but the average couple in the US spends about $2500 on photography, +/- $500 depending on who you talk to. This includes both the couples who spend $500 on the Craigslist budget-type photographer and the couples who spend $10,000+ on Joe Buissink.

Here are some questions that aren't on many brides' radars that I think can be useful:

1. If the photographer offers digital files, ask for specificity on what form they will arrive in. "Digital Files" can mean edited or unedited files, RAW files out of the camera or downsized JPG's that won't look good past a 4x6 print. Ask about what reprint rights you will be granted.

2. If the studio you are considering is pushing "two photographers" as a competitive advantage or upsale item, you should be seeing two portfolios. Many photographers use untrained spouses or photo-students working for free/peanuts as second shooters, and these seconds are sometimes nearly worthless. You should be able to judge for yourself the quality of the second's work and decide based on that whether they represent real value.

3. Ask if any of the portfolio work on their site was shot as a second for another photographer. Many wedding shooters get their start working under someone else. This is normal and good. However, you deserve to know if your photographer has actually experienced the hot-seat with all of the responsibility and additional concerns of being the primary. This is not to say you shouldn't consider an experienced second, but you should be aware that you are taking a calculated risk and the services should be priced accordingly.

4. Ask if any of the portfolio work on the site was created in a workshop or "model shoot." Many of the images on photographer's sites now are created in workshops led by top shooters in the field. These workshops often feature professional models, who are placed and posed by the workshop leader. Often times, the participants in these workshops are able to obtain images that they would not have the skill to create on their own. Professional development is great, but you should be sure that the images you are seeing are comparable to those you can expect under "real world" conditions.

5. You should see at LEAST one complete wedding album, and preferably more than one. Even a monkey, given a typewriter and enough time, will write Hamlet. You should see both excellent individual shots AND a high sustained level of quality throughout the day.

Hope this helps!

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In addition to what's already been listed above, I think you should make sure that you pay attention to things like professionalism and customer service. Does the photographer return your emails or phone calls in a timely manner? If not, that's usually a good sign that they probably aren't the right photographer for you. Is the photographer an active member of professional organizations such as WPJA, PPA, WPPI, etc.? These organizations encourage professional development and growth via conferences, seminars, competitions, etc.

 

Do you like the style of work that you see displayed on their site? Can you see yourself in their images? If so, then that's a good sign that at least in that area they are a good fit for what you're looking for.

 

Best wishes,

Tod

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Originally Posted by Evan Baines View Post
Can't say on the after-package average, but the average couple in the US spends about $2500 on photography, +/- $500 depending on who you talk to. This includes both the couples who spend $500 on the Craigslist budget-type photographer and the couples who spend $10,000+ on Joe Buissink.
It is the cost of the prints that will really kill your budget in the end. Make sure you get the digital files so that you can print your own. For example a 4x6 would cost you less than a $1 to print but buying them, depending on the photog, will cost about $25-$40 each!

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Originally Posted by adias.angel View Post
It is the cost of the prints that will really kill your budget in the end. Make sure you get the digital files so that you can print your own. For example a 4x6 would cost you less than a $1 to print but buying them, depending on the photog, will cost about $25-$40 each!
In my opinion, $25-40 for a 4x6 is exorbitant. I know a lot of wedding photographers, and I would say that most photographers don't charge that much for a 4x6. I don't think I know of any wedding photographers currently working who are charging that much for a 4x6. I would say the average price for a 4x6 would average in the $10-$15 range. Some would be less, and I'm sure there are some that would charge more. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that enlargements that are ordered from the photographer will usually have more work done to the file before printing. For example, your photographer may just do basic color correction on the files you get on DVD, but for the ones that you order as enlargements/reprints, as well as for the album images, he will more than likely do more than basic color correction. He will adjust the color, contrast, density, he may crop the image, etc. And, that is why he will charge for his time, talent and expertise.

Hope this helps.

Tod

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Originally Posted by O'Driscoll Photography View Post
In my opinion, $25-40 for a 4x6 is exorbitant. I know a lot of wedding photographers, and I would say that most photographers don't charge that much for a 4x6. I don't think I know of any wedding photographers currently working who are charging that much for a 4x6. I would say the average price for a 4x6 would average in the $10-$15 range.
Maybe it is different for weddings but when my niece, nephew and FSIL did their senior pictures and that is how much 4x6 were. They went to different photographers so I gave the ranges between the three different photographers. I wish they had only been $10-$15 because then our house would be covered in their pictures. blush2.gif

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Quote:
Originally Posted by adias.angel View Post
Maybe it is different for weddings but when my niece, nephew and FSIL did their senior pictures and that is how much 4x6 were. They went to different photographers so I gave the ranges between the three different photographers. I wish they had only been $10-$15 because then our house would be covered in their pictures. blush2.gif
Yes, it is different for weddings. With portraits, the photographer collects a small sitting fee which only covers his time and overhead for the session. His profit comes from selling the prints. Wedding photographers, on the other hand, charge a fee upfront which allows them to not only cover their time and overhead costs, but for most photographers they are getting at least some profit from that fee. So, that is why the prints from a wedding photographer will usually be less than those from a family or senior portrait session.

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Ha! So, on the topic of extremely high prices... my sister won a free photography session from a photographer with a free 11x14. Lucky her.

Now... if she wanted to buy ADDITIONAL prints the cost was $75 for 5x7 and get this... $500 for the 11x 14!!! OUCH.

 

So, yes, make sure that you at least know the price of pictures before you sign any contracts with a photographer.

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