When you go shopping for a wedding photographer, you’ll find three price brackets, and you’ll find us in the middle one. I’m obviously making some big generalisations about our competitors, but on average you’ll find them to be true. The categories are:
Budget ($0 – $2500):
This could be anything from your mate who has a nice camera through to somebody with a day-job who shoots weddings on the weekends. Honestly, I understand that having the wedding photographed just isn’t a huge priority for some people, in which case it’s smarter to pick somebody in this budget category than not to have any photos at all. If this is you, I’m not going to try to convince you to book us, but I will point out a few good questions to ask before the wedding so that you clearly understand what you’re paying for and what you can expect for that price.
The price is lower primarily because the photographer is either relatively new to weddings or is doing it part-time and doesn’t feel confident charging professional-level prices yet in case something goes wrong.
A lot of photographers in this category have good equipment, but many haven’t yet invested in backup equipment. As an example, we bring approximately $7000 worth of backup gear (not including the main kit). We’ve seen even the best equipment have tantrums from time to time, and we know that our couples are paying enough to expect us to have backup plans to minimise those risks. It’s probably not fair to expect a budget photographer to do the same, but it’s worth asking about this, especially near the top end of this price bracket.
If their photography isn’t their main source of income, it’s reasonable to ask what the other source of income is so that you can be confident that your wedding will be their top priority when the time comes – if they have erratic rosters, work travel or emergency on-call obligations, you deserve to know about it and you should have a really clear understanding of the backup plan. Who will fill in if they’re not available? How will you be notified and how much notice will you receive before the wedding day?
Make sure there is a contract – it doesn’t have to be a lengthy, complicated document, just as long as there’s something written down and agreed to by both you and the photographer so that everything’s clear. At a minimum, it should outline:
- The date and time of the wedding
- What will be delivered by the photographer
- When payments are expected
- Anything else you’re expected to provide the photographer with
- What happens if the photographer is unavailable due to illness etc
Lastly, I’d recommend asking to see examples of pictures taken in difficult conditions (e.g., low light levels, rain, fast-paced moments etc) so that you can be confident of their skills if things get a bit tricky on the day.
Experienced, full-time professionals ($2500 – $7000):
This is where you’ll find us. In this price category, you can expect your photographer to:
- have the experience, skill and equipment in getting great images even in difficult conditions,
- be able to give you good advice on how to help you plan for photography to slot into your wedding day and strike the right balance between getting beautiful photographs and spending time with your loved ones,
- be the calm person amongst the chaos if things get a bit stressful on the wedding day,
- know where to be (and where not to be) during important moments in the ceremony,
- be able to help you through a “bridezilla moment” if you need one!
- have quality backup gear to be able to quickly keep shooting if a piece of equipment fails,
- have backup processes to minimise any risks to your images after the wedding,
- be able to start editing your images on the Monday after the wedding,
- have the necessary skills in editing, design and album production to be able to hand you an album you’ll love at the end of the process
Beyond those things, it really comes down to finding somebody who’s images you love and who you’ll be happy spending your wedding day with. I’m really trying not to make this FAQ into a sales pitch, so I’m not going to try to convince you to love our images – you can decide that for yourself :)
Celebrity/rockstar photographers ($15000+):
Like all industries, we have our rockstars. They photograph the rich and famous and become minor celebrities in their own right. At this level you should expect everything an experienced, full-time professional can do for you, but you’re also paying a premium to essentially be a famous artist’s muse for a day.