Co-written by wedding planner Ciera Freson. Thanks for the great questions Ciera, I am looking forward to working with you again this summer.
As a bride I found wedding photography shopping the most overwhelming of all items on my to-do list, hands down. I began the search process from scratch three times. Three times. That’s a lot of wasted time. I talk with plenty of brides who are searching for a photographer but just aren’t sure what it is they are ‘shopping’ for. Lucky Penny Event Planning has got you covered; I’ve teamed up with Rebecca Ofstedahl, Owner and Lead Photographer of Third Eye Photography in Crested Butte, Colorado, to give you the inside scoop on the wedding photography world and answer your photography questions.
Why are photographers worth the amount they charge, and why are prices so across the board?
Go ahead, ask a photographer why they are worth the amount they charge. They would love to tell you and, they have a lot to tell you.
A small photography studio (one lead shooter) may tell you they charge a higher price because they take on a limited number of clients each year. Many studios, like Third Eye Photography, may only take on 10-15 weddings a year. This allows photographers like Rebecca and her assistants to take the time to create relationships with her clients and give them the attention they deserve. By creating a relationship with the couple they can relax and feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Everyone looks better when they are relaxed.
There is plenty of work that goes on top of just taking photos during the wedding. Another item that adds to the final package cost is photo editing. A photographer takes an average of 2000-3000 photos a wedding. If you have a full-day contract, that’s a lot of photos the lead photographer needs to pick through in order to edit the top images. Rebecca says she spends an average of 6-8 hours editing each full-day wedding she photographs. A question to ask a potential photographer is their turn-around time. Third Eye Photography prides themselves in a 24-hour turnaround so clients can view their images in the studio as soon as 5pm the following day.
Many Collections at Third Eye Photography include high-end albums and digital FlashDrives, providing the clients with the ability to print their own prints for family and friends as well as create their first family heirloom in a beautiful, long-lasting album. Collections may also include a 2-hour Engagement or Portrait session.This allows the clients to have a variety or professional images taken over the course of their engagement year, for example, some client chose to have their engagement photos taken during the winter if their wedding is in the summer. Engagement or portrait sessions are also a great way for bride and grooms to get to know and feel comfortable with their photographer.
Of course reputation, experience and the number of publications a photographer is credited in plays a role in the price tag. The number of publications does not make a photographer better, however it provides credibility. Photographers who have been working in the wedding industry for several years come with knowledge that is priceless and can not be taught. This includes experience leading up to the big day such as discussions about timeline and locations. Photographers who are just breaking into the business often charge less because of their documented experience level.
Why do many photographers not list prices on their website?
As you begin looking for wedding photographers, you will notice many do not publish package prices. As a bride I found this frustrating at first. I was wanting to be a stealth ‘shopper’ and see if they were in my price point. I recommend foregoing that line of thinking right off the bat. You’re going to have to reach out to at least a couple of photographers to explore your options. And don’t feel bad about reaching out to multiple photographers; ask if they are available on your date, confirm if they land in your price point and determine if it’s someone you can build a relationship with. However, when you make your photographer selection, the other photographers will appreciate a simple note letting them know you have gone in a different direction.
Photographers want to build a relationship with you and get to know you as they craft a package that is exactly what you are looking for; afterall, you are entrusting them with documenting your important day. The relationship with your photographer is more than just the price of the package. It is important to feel comfortable with your photographer and that means having a phone or in-studio meeting before discussing package prices. If you and your finance don’t get along with your photographer you will not get good images on your wedding day and it may leave you feeling super stressed- and no one wants that!
When shopping for a photographer try to picture yourself in the images they provide in their portfolio. If you look at their images and say ‘I want to be that bride’ then their style is a good fit. Ask to see images from an entire day, maybe even in the locations you have chosen. Then judge their personality and make mental notes of how you feel when talking with them. Once you have found someone who’s portfolio you love and who you get along with well, discuss pricing. And don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Visit Third Eye Photography’s portfolio for more images!