A picture is worth a thousand…dollars?

If you have been following me you know that photography is very important to me. Particularly because it’s my love and my livelihood. When I was deciding on my budget I knew photography was going to be a huge part. As a blogger and wedding fanatic I am constantly surrounded by gorgeous images from ridiculously awesome weddings and photographers and it certainly inspires me to do something fun and ‘me’ for my own wedding! It also makes me hyper aware of what is out there, how much things cost, how gorgeous a wedding can look (even on a budget!), and how amazing some photographers really are.

Bryan in the camera, Kallie holding the mamiya, and my red bowed keds.

As a photographer, I knew that having beautiful images of the day (probably what you will remember the most since a lot of people report that the day was a blur) would be more important to me than some of the other things I could spend money on (extravagant floral arrangements, for example). I know that people have varying opinions on the matter and even my fiance has mentioned that he doesn’t know many people that look at their wedding albums a year after the wedding. That’s true, but I feel like wedding photography is changing into something more aesthetically driven, something beautiful and interesting. I know I would look at the images, and that might be because of who I am and what I do. And who my photographer is.

eliesa and matt from photogen-inc

If you have not already picked a photographer and you are on a budget you are probably trying to figure out how on earth to manage the weight between wanting someone whose work you love and someone affordable. I feel you. I could not have afforded someone in the $6000 and up range without taking out a loan and it never even crossed my mind as an option. I was so lucky to find someone when I moved here whose style I love, is in town,  has ended up becoming a great friend and employer. But before I even talked with her about shooting my wedding I knew I loved her images. I really think finding someone with a style that fits your aesthetic is so important! If your personalities work well together, if you know they are excited about shooting your wedding, and if you are addicted to their blog because you just can’t wait to see what they do for your big day, they are probably a winner.

This one is Lara Casey from Southern Weddings

If you aren’t very familar with photographers you probably have no idea why they charge thousands of dollars. And every photographer probably has a different reason in their head as to why they do. Equipment is expensive and staying up to date on software is as well. The amount of money they put in to run their business (licenses, insurance, equipment, workshops, website, advertising). The amount of time they put in (all day at your wedding, client meetings, prepping gear, downloading, editing, engagement sessions, bridal sessions, vendor meetings, scouting locations, album design, ordering prints, shipping orders). They are artists (you pay a painter for their vision and you pay a photographer for their eye). Anyone can get a great photo from any camera but  you cannot get the range of photographs or the quality that someone with a variety of lenses and a great camera does. I struggle with figuring out pricing as well, and with paying for my wedding photography too. I think it’s helpful to think about the fact that a great photographer is going to take care of you, help your day run smoothly, edit your photos well and (relatively) quickly, and provide you with beautiful products. You’ll be happy and satisfied and have really awesome souvenirs from your day. And boy do I love souvenirs.

Brandon from A Bryan

Why are some photographers cheaper than others? The really cheap photographers are either just starting out and trying to get as many jobs as they can or maybe photography is just a side business for them. If you are hesitant about a photographer, meet them in person and make sure you have a look at their work. Photography students are also cheap, but probably inexperienced at events. Before I had really done any photography on my own two of my friends asked me to shoot their wedding. Since I knew them I was willing to do it but before their wedding I also second shot with a few photographers to make sure I was capable of taking on that responsibility. I recommend not getting too craigslist happy and ask people you know before you hire someone that you can’t vouch for. And as far as cost goes, just because someone is charging $10,000 for a wedding that doesn’t mean they are a great photographer. Don’t be convinced by someone’s prices that they are good or bad.

eliesa, corinna , and amelia

At the A Bryan Photo workshop that Amelia and I attended a few weeks ago, we talked about adding value to your photography services by challenging yourself and really investing in your clients, which I think was great for me to hear as a bride, blogger, and photographer. You want to be treated well by your photographer and you want them to care about your wedding and you as people! I promise that a great relationship with your photographer lends itself to better photographs that capture who you are, not just what you wore and who was there.


So… I am interested in how you made your decision about your photographer. And, of course, if you have any questions for someone on the inside I’d love to hear those as well.

Photo Credit: These photos were all taken by me during the A Bryan workshop. I found it fitting since the workshop has definitely changed the way I think about photography, and the costs as well. Here is a link to Bryan’s post about the workshop, and it contains links to all of the photographers pictured.