The NUMBER ONE rule for any wedding is… DO NOT let a friend take the pictures. As appealing and economical as this might seem, it is NOT a good idea.
As a former professional photographer, the one thing I would not do EVER was to photograph a wedding. I will admit that when I got married, I was a borderline Bridezilla and I would not want to work with someone like me. More than that, however, is the fact that a wedding will happen once. If you mess up the pictures, then those are moments that cannot be recaptured.
Now, as I said last week, the photography was my number one priority so I had to do a lot of interviews to find the perfect photographer. That is a good thing. You should plan to do lots of interviews too.
What I learned from my experience is that there are several ways to book a photographer for your wedding. Some of these include:
- Pay by the hour and then purchase a package or sheets individually.
- Pay a retainer and then purchase a wedding package of portraits in predetermined sizes and quantities. There will be a limited number of hours the photographer will spend with you.
- Pay a retainer and pay a set price for a package that allows your choice of sizes and quantities priced per sheet. There may or may not be a limit to the number of hours the photographer will spend with you.
- Pay a flat rate to a photographer and purchase a CD of your pictures.
I have to give a plug to our wonderful wedding photographer (and the photographer of many family moments since then), George Davis of Jubilee Photography. I am not sure how he prices his weddings now but when we were married (almost) eight years ago, we paid a retainer fee to hold the date, paid a flat fee for the portraits and sizes of our choosing, and received a discounted rate priced per sheet for additional photographs. He did everything I asked and had no limits on the time he spent with us. (We got married on a Friday night.) Then, when we had children, we received a discounted rate on the baby packages since I was one of his brides. I love George!
Now, how can you save?
1) One way that I chose to save money was to skip the Bridal session. I did not want pictures of myself in my wedding gown, have the expense of getting all dressed up, and have to buy additional pictures. For what? Just to have my picture in the newspaper the Sunday after the wedding? NOPE. I chose to wait and select a picture of me and Bill to go into the newspaper a couple of weeks after the wedding. Our photographer was even so nice as to have that one processed first so it came in sooner.
2) Next, purchase a basic package where you get your formal sittings and those priceless moments at the reception.
3) Send out the word that you would be eternally grateful for copies of any photos taken at your wedding. Have them emailed to you so you can pick and choose which to develop.
4) Put out disposable cameras on all the tables. (Stay away from specialty bridal stores and watch for sales to stock up!) If you are hoping for particular photos, leave a “scavenger hunt” with the camera. Make sure you also have instructions on where to leave the camera so you get it back or have an attendant collect the cameras after you and your spouse depart.
5) Have all of your additional photographs developed before you go to see your proofs with the professional photographer. Make a list of what you are missing that you would like to have for your wedding album and take that with you to view the proofs.
6) Make your own wedding album. Do not fall prey to the lovely assortment of albums the professional photographer will have out to woo you.
Video can be approached much the same way. We actually hired a friend who dabbled in professional videography to video our wedding and he shadowed George. The video was excellent but we had to wait for MONTHS to get it. That is just part of hiring a friend.
If you have some tips to share, please put them in the comments. We would love to hear your ideas!
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