Since my own wedding, seems like my inbox has filled up with inquiries and questions about how I made the decisions I did pertaining to my wedding. One thing that keeps coming up is, “how do you decide on your budget for your photographer?” Well of course that isn’t an easy topic for me because it goes both ways. I see it from a photographer’s perspective and from a client’s perspective.
So I thought I would share some feed back with you about what I think about the photography budget, why I did some things I did, and what I realised and was glad about after the fact. I also brought on a guest blogger to share her thoughts about her upcoming big day. A very different side than mine, so makes you think about things a bit
Introducing Amy Hindman (soon to be Amy Rees) and her side of why she went with a lower budget on her wedding photography.
I have always felt that there is too much emphasis on the “big day” and not enough emphasis on the big meaning and every day after. It’s those feelings that lead me and my future husband to our wedding style. It is to be a small, short, fun gathering in my parent’s backyard; A garden ceremony followed by a cocktail reception and barefooted dancing in the grass. A small gathering means a small budget. We want to have a fun night to remember, a celebration of our love and what our lives are all about, therefore, we wanted to take our tiny budget and use it on décor, food and all the small intimate touches that make our wedding a reflection of us and how we share our lives together. Even being a budding photographer myself, photography wasn’t a top priority. We are going to trust that the moments captured by family and friends will bring back a wonderful flood of the feeling from that day even if they aren’t professionally done. Now everyone does want some special picture perfect photos to frame and share. That is what leads us to having a few hours of formal photos taken by NC Photography the following day. The one tradition that we wanted to adhere to was the Groom not seeing the Bride on the day of the wedding so that eliminated having formals taken earlier in the day so the following day made sense for us. We are really looking forward to not having the pressure of that day on us or the knowledge that all of our guests are waiting for us while we are getting our formal photo’s taken. We feel that this is going to make it even easier for Nicole to capture magically moments between the two of us and it will also be a special little recap for us, the newly weds to play in our dress up clothes as man and wife. So many Brides say that the day just whirled by and that they wished they would have not have such a crammed schedule, this way we eliminated a portion of that as well as get to take pause, look back at our “big day” together and have those happy memories reflected in our smiles and hidden glances in our formal photos.
Amy is a good friend of mine, my employee, and a second shooter for me. We have a huge amount in common, but this is one area we do not see eye to eye. However, reading her version of why she decided what she did, made me think of true love at its finest. It’s about the small things.
My feelings on a budgeting for a photographer, are however, a bit different. I looked through hundreds and hundreds of photographers. Some were crazy expensive and others were just right. But I knew that whomever I choose, I had to love. I had to know that they were worth every penny (no matter what that penny was worth) But I will say this, and I completely stand by it, you get what you pay for. I had the most fabulous wedding photographers I could’ve asked for. I think they could’ve charged me a million dollars and I still would’ve booked them. I loved their photos that much. Photos are one of the most important (tangible) things in my life. But one thing that I didn’t know until it was all over was how much you miss being a bride (vs being the photographer). I have shot a ton of weddings and get to see all of the glamorous things. All of the details and all of the guests. I don’t miss a moment. But being the bride, I woke up the following day, not really remembering a thing. When I got my photos in the mail, my new husband and I sat close together on the couch and went through every single photo. I don’t even know how many times I said, “Oh ya!” or, “I forgot about that, that was so great!” If I didn’t have those fabulous photographers, my feeling of not remembering much of the day would still be there. But because I made it a must-have for my wedding I now have these unforgettable moments, something I will cherish forever. Something that will be on my walls, and in an album. Those photos will be in my heart and in my life for the rest of it, and I am so happy to have them. You will make a lot of decisions, and a lot of cuts to stay in the budget. A photographer was never going to be included in one of those cuts for me!
So, moral of the story; do what is best for you. But think about the end result; think about what you want out of that big important day. It is one day, and only one day. You can’t get it back; you can’t remake those memories, so why not capture them!