Let’s face it weddings are expensive and stressful. As of 2019 the average cost of a wedding in the United States was $33,900, and the average cost in Maryland was only slightly lower at $32, 637. It’s easy for the costs to add up between venues, catering, florals, and the dress, but skimping on a professional photographer could cost you more than money.
Why Hire a Professional Photographer
Things to Consider
Photography should be a priority in your budgeting for a number of reasons. There are brides out there that hire cheap photographers, or even go without relying on their friends to take lots of cell phone photos who clearly do not prioritize photography very highly. But when you think about it photography should be one of the top priorities. Yes, flowers, cake, décor, and even the dress are certainly important elements to many brides, but if they aren’t captured professionally throughout the day details are often missed and quickly forgotten.
Finding someone with a style you like is important. Another downfall of hiring someone who “has a camera” or is “cheap” is often that their work doesn’t fit your style. Make sure you are looking at their portfolios of work and seeing if it works for you. Many photographers are able to capture both “light and airy” photos as well as “dark and moody,” whereas others specialize in one or the other. Know what you like, know how you want the day remembered when you look back on the photos, and communicate with your potential photographer about this.
Like priority budgeting, photography should be high on your booking list. Most popular photographers book a year, sometimes two in advance. Waiting until the last minute could cost you finding the right photographer for you.
Capturing the Moments You Missed
There’s a lot happening at a wedding, and you are going to be busy! You may be busy actually getting a few bites of your cake while Aunt Sally is on the other side of the dance floor making history, and you’d never know it without someone with a keen eye for finding the action. Many photographers have a network of other photographers who second shoot with them to ensure that someone is able to capture the whole story throughout the day. This allows one photographer to be with the couple shooting after ceremony portraits, while the other is at cocktail hour getting candids and details of the reception before everyone is in there. Those getting ready photos? They aren’t just for the bride, the guys have things going on too, and being able to go back and forth, or having two photographers in place helps to capture all the moments you weren’t there for – and don’t you want to see his reaction when he reads that beautiful card or letter you exchanged before the ceremony?
Telling the Story
Hiring a professional photographer for all day coverage, from getting ready through the reception, ensures that they are able to not only capture stunning photos of you and your fiancé, but the story of the day – which is really a part of the story of you as a couple.
Weddings are emotional, and it goes by in a flash, but an eagle eyed photographer with experience shooting weddings will know what to look for throughout the day. Sometimes it’s mom crying quiet, joyful tears watching a bride dance with dad, sometimes it’s old friends sharing a genuine laugh. You are likely to miss these moments or forget about them quickly in the rush of the day, but you will want to relive them later through your album and files.
What are you Paying For
First and foremost, photography is not about the day, it’s about you and your story. That means are primary focus is to capture the things that are most important to you, those moments you never knew happened, the emotions, and your love.
Insurance & Legal Fees
A professional wedding photographer should hold a registered business standing, liability and equipment insurance as well as a contract. This is to ensure safety measures are in place for anything that may go wrong during the day, including broken equipment, accidents on site and delivery of product. Many venues may ask you to verify your vendors credentials.
In addition to insurance and professional photographer will carry and extra camera, extra memory cards, and in some cases a second photographer will be on hand.
The Family/Friend Trap
Whether it be your friend or family member with a new camera, remember photography is more than a camera, especially at a wedding. It’s about telling the story, having the knowledge, skills and experience to capture all that goes on at a wedding to ensure that you have lasting memories to look back on years to come.
Taking Stress Out of the Day
A good wedding photographer has a lot of experience and will be able to get the best images in a simple, easy way so that you can get on and enjoy your big day. This is another reason we encourage a face to face, Skype, or phone meeting or engagement session with your photographer before the wedding to make sure that you click with one another. Your photographer will be with your throughout the wedding day.