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How much are your wedding photographs worth?

Selecting the correct photographer for your individual needs will be one of the most important decisions in the preparation of your wedding. There are many considerations to be dealt with, in addition to cost.

Of course, one needs to work within a budget. So, let's start out by saying that it's difficult to pay too much for something you really like. Yet, the initial price is usually the one obstacle that prevents many couples from selecting a photographer that would undoubtedly give them the best value for their money.

Quite often the difference between the price of the photographer you really like and one who you feel is "within your budget" is miscalculated. Understandably, of course! When wedding plans come down to dollars and cents, it's hard to keep spending "a little more here…and a little more there." Somewhere along the line, you may feel, you have to give a little. There's only so much money available.

One can and should expect to get an estimate for the cost of wedding pictures on the telephone. At the same time, you should not expect to be given details about sizes and numbers before sitting down with a photographer face to face.

So, then how much money should pictures cost? Prices can be as different as the time, talent and technique of the photographers being considered. Certainly, among competent photographers in highly competitive areas, or among photographers in their formative years, you can expect to begin around two thousand five hundred dollars. Spending less than that would be a high-risk gamble…and not worth the "savings!"

Other photographers may begin somewhere around three thousand dollars and go upwards from there. A true specialist, one who has a reputation for consistently delivering the best might begin at two or three times that amount and go upwards to six thousand or more…and may be your best investment.

Making Your Choice

When considering the cost of a photographer, you really want to know the "final" price, more than the "asking" price. It may be good to ask a photographer's opinion as to how much it would cost for complete wedding coverage that would please you and, at the same time, make it worthwhile for the photographer to put forth a total effort.

There are other serious considerations when selecting a wedding photographer. Your primary focus should be on the photographer's ability and/or desire to be flexible. In particular:

  • Does the photographer have a philosophy and "game plan" for what he or she would like to accomplish on your wedding day?
  • Can the photographer adapt his or her approach to include well-executed formal portraiture (as much or as little as you prefer) that doesn't appear to be stiff and/or unnatural?
  • Is the photographer willing to include candid and photojournalistic images as a part of the wedding coverage?
  • If you are interested in black and white or hand-colored images, is the photographer qualified and willing to provide these services?
  • Without causing stress, will the photographer be able to work sufficiently well enough within the time parameters set up by you and/or your bridal coordinator as to when the photographs will be taken? Does the photographer have suggestions as to how the timing can be best planned?
  • Can the photographer be creative, even when the bride and groom don't want to be photographed until after the ceremony?
  • What is the photographer's policy for change of dates and/or unforeseen cancellations?
  • What is the photographer's policy for the selection of the finished photographs?
  • Is the photographer willing to provide references from satisfied customers?
  • Is the photographer a member of the Professional Photographers of America?

If after meeting with your photographer you feel that this would be a sound investment in your future happiness with the photographic memories of your wedding day, you should expect to make a commitment. At this time, you should also ask to have all of the details on the method of payment, expecting to leave a deposit to hold the date.

Once a competent photographer's service is secured for your wedding date, rest assured that this is undoubtedly one of the best and most intelligent decisions that you could make in the planning of the wedding.

Remember, you're going to be concerned with the price only one time…when you buy. But, you're going to be concerned with the quality of the photographs for the rest of your life.

-Monte Zucker


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