Let’s talk about the following phrases:
“Im looking for an affordable wedding photographer.”
“I’m looking for a reasonably priced wedding photographer.”
What. Does. That. Mean?
Cheap and expensive are subjective terms. We need to start putting numbers to them. If what you mean is that you are looking for an average priced wedding photographer for your geographical area, do you know what that price is? And are you talking about professional photographers, or amateur photographers? Full time or part time photographers? Photographers who are just starting out, or photographers have been in the business for a while?
See? It’s not that simple.
So, what is the best way to find a photographer that fits into your budget? Well, you have to have a budget first. A wedding planner can help you create one, or there are a ton of online resources (google that sh!t). The benefits of having a wedding planner are that they will know specific vendors in your area and around what they charge. It just makes life easier because you don’t have to be doing all of the research.
You don’t have to be extravagant with your spending in order to have a beautiful wedding day, and it’s up to you how to prioritize your money. Some people prioritize food or the venue or a one of a kind wedding dress. Some people prioritize photography. That is a decision that has to be made by the couple. I read somewhere that wedding photography should be at least 25% of the wedding budget, but nothing about wedding planning is one-size-fits all because every couple is unique.
I’ve said it before, and I think I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but there are three things that last from your wedding day:
So, when you were budgeting, if you are looking at the numbers and feeling overwhelmed, what can go? What if you did two statement floral arrangements instead of 20 tiny ones? What if you had food trucks instead of a plated meal? What if you had an outdoor ceremony instead of renting a giant ballroom? If you invited 10 less guests, would the photographer of your dreams be affordable?
I shoot most of my weddings within 150 miles of Kalamazoo, Michigan. In my geographic area, the median price out of ALL of the amateurs and professionals is somewhere around $1500. BUT that number is skewed low by all of the people who use amateur gear, aren’t running legitimate businesses, and don’t know how to get a decent picture on a not so sunny day. You would not believe the horror stories I have heard. Just join the “Michigan Displeased Brides” group on Facebook. Literally. Go now. It’s pretty entertaining if it isn’t happening to you. Sad, but definitely entertaining.
The best way to find out how much you should be paying for wedding photography is to ask a wedding planner or do the research yourself. Find 3-5 wedding photographers who you LOVE and then ask them for pricing. Make sure to look at full wedding galleries (indoor and outdoor) and reviews. If there are no reviews… RUN. Compare the prices, and then you’ll know about what is average for your taste.
I understand that wedding photography is a luxury. But so is catering. So is a $1000 wedding dress. “Affordable,” is a relative term just like everything else.
Consider the cost of NOT having a professional and then let’s define “reasonably priced.”
My name is Rachel Whitehurst, thank you for coming to my Ted talk.