29 September 2010

Finding the Right Wedding Photographer within your Budget

Finding the right wedding photographer for your big day is an important and lasting decision. It's an investment, much like buying a car. Here are some ways to get started.

First, you and your fiance should make a list of all the vendors you'll need for your day. You would then each rate your top 3 in order of importance. These may, and very likely will, vary. The bride may rate her dress as the utmost important and the groom may tend to rate the band much higher. It's ok! Don't worry- but remember the first rule of marriage (or is it the third?) COMPROMISE! You'll be doing a lot of this over the coming years, so let's start practicing!

Once you've got an overall budget in mind and a list of vendors in order of their importance, attach a percentage to each vendor. The list might look something like this and this is a good place to start:
(As taken from "Getting Married" by Andrea Rotondo Hospidor)

                                          Total Budget £20,000
Category                                % of Budget                   Amount
Food and Beverage                       30%                         £6,000
Attire                                             10%                         £2,000
Site Fees                                        10%                         £2,000
Photography and Video                 10%                         £2,000
Flowers and Decor                         10%                         £2,000
Music & Entertainment                   10%                        £2,000
Transportation                                 8%                          £1,600
Miscellaneous                                  5%                          £1,000
Gifts and Favors                              5%                          £1,000
Stationary                                        2%                          £400

Now you can move some things around and make adjustments. Does your Uncle have a cool car and he'll drive you for free? Then splash that money in to another category. Is your best friend a florist and wants to give you half price on your bouquet? Then pop more money on the dress. You get the idea.

Now you have a budget for your photographer. You've got a little flexibility because you decided to go with a DJ instead of a band and have a little extra room in the budget. Visit some local wedding fairs to see what the choices are and bop around on the internet. Wedding fairs are a great resource and happen primarily in the spring and the fall. You can look over many different vendors and photographers will have samples of their albums, products and price lists. You can chat one on one to see what they have to offer and ask any questions that are specific or general to your requirements. If you see a photographer that you particularly like, book a consultation to chat further about your day.

When you're looking at a photographer's work, see if they offer a variety of albums and products. Do you like the albums on offer? Do the images in the albums represent how you'd like your lasting memories? There are many different styles of photography and it's important to choose a photographer that will capture your memories in a way that pleases you.

Now the part where I remind you that investing in your wedding photography is like buying a car. Let's face it- the kind of car we drive says a lot about us. Some people live in smaller homes just so they can drive a nicer car. They'd rather get a heap of a car, then pimp it out so it's all good inside, even if the paint job screams! Some people like a mid budget car with all the add ons- nice stereo, sunroof, tinted windows. Maybe they need a car that fits all their kids, so they go for the 4 door SUV instead of the 2 door convertible. Others prefer a nicer car with just the basics. Some want quality over quantity. Some just want to look cool. The thing is, you likely have a starting budget to buy a car. You might end up with something a little over budget that doesn't have the right stereo, but you can get that stereo later. Maybe you go for something a little less than what you wanted, but you get the sunroof of your dreams! What matters is, you get some of what you want and you budget the rest for a later date.

Here's how I figure it, at the risk of being hounded by Top Gear fans!
Ford Escort- affordable, good gas mileage, small, gets you to work
Mercedes C Class- more pricey, very reliable, mid size, nice to go to France on holiday in
Porshe- pricey, affluent and says it all!

Now relate your kind of car to the type of photography you're after for your wedding. Perhaps you really just want the basics, the Ford Escort- coverage of your  ceremony, some group shots and some lovely images of you and your fiance. You can always add on the stereo later- ie- album and prints Are you budgeting for those upgrades in the long run?

Maybe you'd rather have the Mercedes. You want more coverage, an album included from the start and an engagement session to get the jist of it all before the once in a lifetime day.

Or maybe you've got the budget to do it all from the get go. "Let's invest in the Porshe, honey." Get a full days coverage, a main album, albums for the parents, an engagement session with a unique Guest Book, a videographer and 2 photographers for more angles and coverage.

Here at Faith Stone Photography, we offer Escort, Mercedes and Porshe packages. What we don't offer is used cars. Your wedding memories are considered by me to be the most precious images you will ever have and I take this very seriously. I've been in business for over a decade, have won numerous awards, am a member of SWPP, and fully insured. Once I've captured your images, I post process them, perfect them, design your album, give you a few for your Facebook profile, put them in a web gallery, process your proof book and fulfill any further orders you may have. I offer excellent customer service, as my clients testify to. The work it takes a wedding photographer to make the images that you see at the wedding fairs may take hours, days or weeks. You'll be able to tell the Escort from the Porshe in this  instance. Could your Auntie take the same pictures? Could your sister make that album?

Finally, I leave you with this thought: If you're house was on fire, what would you grab first?
You'll grab what means the most to you.
Then you'll put it all in your car....

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