How to figure out what you need from your photographer
You find a photographer who’s website looks amazing. You immediately fill out their contact form and eagerly await the reply… Then you get a lovely six page pricing guide (very informative with more gorgeous photos to swoon over) and now you have to figure out, among the 4 or 5 packages and the long a-la-cart price list how to make it work for what you need.
Do you need the package with 8 hours coverage and 2 photographers with the smaller album and the engagement session? Or do you need 10 hours? But that package has a larger album, and do you really need that big of an album? But mom wants a bridal session, but you only need 8 hours instead of the package with 10 (which comes with the bridal session). Why is this so hard? What do you really need?
Here is the photographers perspective on their pricing guide:
We put together our packages because we have seen what previous brides really needed. We want to serve you well, so we craft the perfect combination of services you will want.
I want to break down the different things you might see in a pricing guide and what you would actually want…
Wedding days are shockingly LONG. Think about how long the average workday is, which is 8 hours. You could potentially be at your wedding or doing wedding things for 12 hours! BUUTTT Do you really need your photographer there for every second of that? From a photographers perspective: The answer is NO. The most important, photo-worthy things can be captured in 8 hours. Photographers are really no use after 10 hours of work, standing on their feet, thinking constantly about 20 different things at once, not eating normal meals AND carrying heavy equipment. Base amount for a traditional wedding is 8 hours. The most you should push to is 10.
The second photographer
I have this as a part of EVERY package. I will only work with a second professional photographer if you book a traditional wedding package (non-traditional being a small party or elopement). This is for my safety and yours. If something where to happen to me, the second photographer would take over.
The engagement session
This is a big subject because I have strong opinions about this one. Be serious about the engagement session. It is NOT just about getting cute photos of you both so you have a great profile pic for facebook. This is about working with your photographer, and learning how to be inferno of the camera BEFORE the wedding day. It’s about the photographer learning to capture who you are and getting to know you so she is not a stranger on your wedding day. It’s also about celebrating a short time in your relationship.
I believe in heirlooms and family history. I cared about what my grandmother and her mother wore on their wedding day. Albums make sure that one day, your children will see your day. We don’t know what technology will bring, but a well made book filled with the story of your day will last longer than you will. My albums are leather or linen, with a seamless henge that allows for the entire spread to be used. The pages are thick, like a board with rounded edges to avoid being crushed or damaged. It feels good. It SMELLS good. It will last.
The Bridal Session
Bridal sessions use to be a normal thing. Recently I had a bride ask me what is was, and that was my cue that the bridal session is no longer valued. BUT, I value them, so I will keep them as an item on my pricing guide. There are a lot of reason (other than pictures of yourself in the full gear) to do a bridal session.
- You get your hair and makeup trial and make sure you like it.
- You get to see yourself in pictures BEFORE the big day to make sure you like the whole look.
- You get to work with your vendors before and make sure there won’t be any surprises.
- You get to enjoy your flowers! Extra bonus!
- It’s another opportunity to work with your photographer!
- You get to try on the dress and make sure it fits AND how to walk in it.
See what I mean? There is so much value to a bridal session!
Extra add-on USB
When you see a photographer who has added a USB it’s most likely for the parent or grandparent who wants to hold something. These days it is best to receive your images by online gallery, but some struggle with technology or just can’t handle a big purchase and the end result just being online. The online gallery is the safest, easiest way to receive your wedding images. If you house burns down or your computer dies, you will still have your photos. But it helps to have a lovely item to hold that you know contains the contents of your most precious day.
Here are some examples of engagement sessions and bridal sessions:
Blog highlight: Here is a post devoted to the WHY of the engagement session. There might be more there than you thought! Read here.