Hiring a photographer is usually on top of my and many of my clients' lists. It is, in addition to videography, the only way to capture the moment as it is happening and, more so, to preserve it for the generations to come.
That’s why the choice of a photographer is very crucial and should be your next decision after choosing the venue, before your wedding funds slowly disappear.
There are many New Jersey-based wedding photographers in many price ranges. As with anything, you should never let the price dictate your choice. Look at your budget, find a comfortable price range and go from there.
Here are a few facts and guidelines regarding photography services:
- There are different styles of shooting: photojournalistic or documentary-with very little intervention of the photographer; traditional-where a lot of the pictures are staged and posed; and artistic-where the photographer’s style and artistic approach is the major factor. In reality, many wedding photographers mix all of the mentioned styles and a balanced mix of all three is the most desirable.
- Wedding photographers services come in a very broad range of pricing. You can find photographers starting at $1,500, $3,500 and $6,500. Pricing usually will reflect the level of experience and the desirability status (e.i.hot and happening wedding photographers will cost you extra and you will need to book them over a year in advance).
- Know the difference between studio photographers versus individual photographers-there are many wedding photography services that operate as studios that employ many different photographers. Make sure you know exactly which photographer will be working on your wedding. The photographer-couple relationship is very personal and you definitely need to hire based on how you and the photographer “mesh,” so you won’t feel uneasy and stressed on your wedding day.
- Make your initial selections based on your approximate budget, then on styles and portfolios of the photographers (the Knot is a good starting point, as well as a general google search on different styles photographers.) Also, talk to your recently married friends, wedding planners and other vendors and ask for recommendations. Various wedding blogs and editorials in bridal magazines are also great, since they show the most recent work of many talented photographers and are unsolicited.
- Once you narrow down your choices, make sure you meet with the photographer and “feel” the chemistry. You want someone that makes you feel at ease and calms you down. Anybody that is hasty, rude and pushy will make you feel that way on your wedding day.
- Make sure your price quote includes two photographers. Just like I never work solo, a wedding photographer shouldn’t either. Weddings by nature are predisposed to many things happening at the same time and you will need the proper coverage.
- Once you narrow down your search to one photographer, do splurge and request an engagement photo session. In addition to being a beautiful documentation of your pre-wedded bliss, it will also serve as a true test of the photographers’ understanding of your style, preferences and needs.
It is no coincidence that videography trails as second in this blog. Even though it is a typical everyday choice of how we receive our daily portion of information, when it comes to weddings, it truly is a stepchild. I think that many brides, due to budgetary stress, are forced to choose between photo and video and not double spend on similar media. However, almost every single one of my clients that chose not to pay for professional videography, ended up regretting it after the wedding.
I always suggest to go with the lowest-priced videography package (raw, unedited footage) from a reputable videographer and upgrade to an edited version after the wedding, when funds are replenished, or do the editing yourself. At least there won’t be any regrets.
In my next blog, let’s talk about wedding fashion. In the meantime -- happy wedding planning!