Don’t cheap out on your wedding photographer

With 6 years of industry experience and 2 weddings of my own under my belt (don’t worry I’m finished collecting husbands and having weddings now!!) I thought I’d write a piece today sharing some of my own personal advice to all of our readers.  I know it can be super daunting when you start to plan your special day as for most of us we are entering unchartered territory and it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed.  The budget can be one of the most mind blowing aspects in the whole process by far, particularly when the average wedding in Australia is now currently sitting at slightly over $35,000 – Yowzers!!

Now I completely understand that a huge number of sensible couples are not wanting to come anywhere near that sort of figure for their total wedding costs.  I actually managed to pull off both of my weddings by not hitting the $10,000 mark….. but there were sacrifices that I made to do that, and some of those are sacrifices that I now regret.  Well, one in particular.

As I approach my 5th wedding anniversary, upon looking back at the photos from our professional wedding photographer, as much as I am reminded of the truly wonderful day that I shared with my husband and our nearest and dearest, I am also reminded of the fact that we let our mission of keeping our wedding costs rock bottom be a critical decider in the photographer that we chose.

Now I must add here that when we got married I was very new to the wedding industry and did not have all of the wonderful photographer colleagues that I now have, so there were no “favours to call in” – we were just like every other bride and groom fumbling through the planning process.

I thought we were doing a good job of doing our research when looking for our wedding photographer and thought we found someone with a photography style that appealed to us.  They had some lovely portfolio images and had shot weddings with a style that appealed to us.  I must admit there was an air of awkwardness when we met with the photographer but I just put that down to us being uncertain about the entire process.  I naively thought that the photographer is a professional and it doesn’t matter that we don’t get along with them personally as long as they capture some lovely moments I’ll be happy.

On the day there was still that feeling of awkardness and it then hit me like a tonne of bricks that I should have been looking for more than just someone who does images in a style that we like at a cheaper price, but also look for someone that we click with.  For us it was the price that ended up being the deciding factor as we went with someone who although wasn’t super cheap, was much less expensive than many others out there – and now I know it was rightly so.

The age old saying of “you get what you pay for” is so very true  – I see it on a daily basis with brides stressing over rubbish items purchased at rock bottom prices on ebay.   There really is a reason why some photographers cost more than others – they are not only incredibly talented at what they do, but they are highly professional and make every awkward couple feel like they are part of the family when they are capturing some of the most important moments of their life.

I’m not saying that our photographer was terrible or rubbish or anything like that.  I just can’t help but feel as though they weren’t the best fit for us.  For us, the focus of our budget was on a lovely, high quality meal for us and our 16 guests who joined my husband and I for our reception after a larger ceremony and “champagne and cupcakes” in the afternoon.  The food was indeed delicious and we have some really fond memories of our meal as we didn’t cheap out for that – we got exactly what we wanted.  If only we did that for our photographer.

I think if I had that time again I could justify even going into a little temporary debt just for the photography or perhaps spending a little less somewhere else like the honeymoon.  When the day comes and goes all you have are your memories and those all important photos. Memories fade, but the photos will be there forever so they are such an important investment.  I think I’d also consider having a professional videographer as we just had family filming which of course ends up being nothing special. With all of the incredible videographers creating such moving pieces I do wish that we had one of our own to capture in high definition the special words we said to each other.

So….. if you can possibly manage to adjust your budget a little, don’t sacrifice when it comes to your photography.  Invest in a true professional as the images will speak for themselves.

(I have intentially witheld the name and details of our photographer as they are far from a terrible photographer, just not the best match for us).

~ Mel