Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wedding Photography’s Hidden Costs

I am still busy putting together the I Do Rendezvous so Sr. Event Architect Adel Domingo will be sharing some tips on making smart decisions when it comes making decisions on selecting a photographer. Special thanks to Misha Media for the photos they provided to us...

Excuse the pun but I am about to “expose” the hidden costs of wedding photography. When I say “expose,” I don’t mean to sound mysterious, just to make you aware of the extra costs that brides and grooms should inquire about with their photographer.

Your wedding photos should capture the beauty of the big day. It’s not a big surprise that wedding photography is one of the top expenses an engaged couple is willing to add to their budget. The cost is worth it when you see the guests’ smiling faces and, of course, the joyful expressions of the newlyweds!

You should expect your photographer has:
Artistic skills
Experience dealing with a full day of wedding activities
Ability to prioritize the family shots
Grace to handle the family’s demands that the he or she be in two places at once
Pre and post meetings set-up with you

A photographer’s time and skill have a price, like any business. They produce a personal product that will cost you, because you are paying for their professional skills. If you want to save thousands of dollars, just ask a couple of your friends to bring their cameras, or ask everybody for digital copies from your guests. The quality, or even the content, may be questionable, especially after a few cocktails.

It’s not easy to find a good photographer, so when you do, and you find out he or she is available, you are ecstatic! But stop, slow down, inhale, and follow these three assignments to get all of the information you need to make an educated choice.

Your first assignment in finding the hidden costs is to read the large and fine print of your contract. Do you understand the contract?

The second assignment is to ask questions.
• Are your engagement photos included?
• Does your package include the album? (Some packages cost more than others because the album is included.)
• If the album is included, how many pages does it include? How much are the additional pages?
• How many photographers does your package include? Given the size of your wedding, how many does the photographer recommend? (If you have a big bridal party and a huge reception, the photographer may need a second or even third photographer. The extra photographer(s) may cost you extra.)

One very important question:
• How much does it cost to have a photographer stay later than their contracted time?
Imagine, you are running a little behind on your wedding day. Your contract states that your photographer stays until 10:00pm but now you need him to stay an hour later That extra hour might be an extra charge. The photographer may forget to tell you because he is too busy taking photos for that extra hour. And you signed the contract. He will bill you later. So ask, don’t assume!

Finally, your third assignment is to weigh the cost not in dollars but in quality and skill. Do you need to spend an equal amount on your first home and your wedding photographer to have beautiful photos? No. However, I would be leery of any price from a photographer (or any vendor for that matter) that is too good to be true. Ask for recommendations or references from your friends or family. Interview photographers and ask them to show you their own portfolio. Is it worth it to save a few dollars but end up looking at your photos and finding out your photographer forgot to take a photo of your grandmother, that one you specifically asked for?

Are all hidden costs bad? I say no.

For instance, I recommend the extra album cost because, time flies and next thing you know it’s your 10th anniversary and you still have not done your wedding album. Is that extra hour worth the cost of your photographer staying to take more photos? Yes, if he took those priceless, funny photos of everybody dancing to your favorite song of the night. Is that third photographer worth it if you have a large wedding party? Yes, if you can have the best photographer to yourself while the assistant photographers can accommodate your guests.

Most photographers will explain all the costs to you, but with all the excitement, it never hurts to know, and I can’t repeat this enough, to ASK.

Best of luck to you in finding the perfect photographer.

More next week about the big I Do Rendezvous

BBFN (Bridal Bliss For Now),


1 comment: