Determining Your Photography Budget with emilie inc, Part Two

Cairn Events is so excited to welcome Emilie of emilie inc as a guest blogger for a three part blog series featuring tips on selecting your wedding photographer! Emilie’s second┬ápost (below) discusses budgeting for your wedding photographer, and how to make sure you know what you’re getting, and getting what you pay for!

Once engaged, the first thing most couples do is dig into a wedding planning website or magazine. One of their more popular features is a cost worksheet, where rates for everything from wedding gowns to catering to flowers to photography is plotted out for you once you enter your overall wedding budget. I can’t speak for the other categories, but photography is always overwhelmingly off base.

Let’s take a closer look!

It is enormously cliche to say that your wedding photos are the only thing you will have left after your wedding day. But, well, it’s true. So with that thought in mind, we encourage our couples to prioritize their wedding day expenses and then divvy up their budget accordingly. If, say, photography and live music are of paramount importance, you may want to research and book those vendors before you splurge on that show-stopping $10,000 wedding dress.

In addition to the varying styles of wedding photography, there is a range of price points, too. Most entry-level photographers have been in the business for less than three years and may not have the most top-of-the-line photography equipment. You can expect to pay up to $2500 for 8 hours of coverage. Photographers who have been in business 3-7 years in our area often charge from $2800-4800 and have photographed more than a hundred weddings. Photographers who have been in business for more than 7 years will always be your most expensive, but most experienced option, starting at $5000. Their equipment, technical skills, product offerings and overall customer experience will be professional and polished.

A few tips:

Access to the digital files, albums or a second photographer may be additional costs. Be sure to read the fine print to know what is, or isn’t, included.

Make sure there aren’t any hidden fees (ie: some photographers will offer a complimentary engagement session, but charge you to access the files after the fact).

You will be SO excited to see your images after the wedding. Ask what the turnaround time is (ours is 3 weeks; some studios are 3-6 months).

Champagne taste and a shoestring budget? Add photography as part of your wedding registry. Wait until after the wedding (or even your anniversary) to purchase an album. Ask your photographer for a payment plan. Above all, communicate what it is your looking for and often photographers can customize a package that suits your needs best.


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