So You’re Looking for a Wedding Photographer? Part 3
Average Pricing for a Professional Wedding Photographer
This is without a doubt one of the most frequently asked questions, if not the most frequent, and deservedly so. Money talks! Many try to answer this question in magazine articles, blogs and video posts on YouTube. It is a shame that getting realistic numbers is so difficult. There are way too many variables that can affect the cost of a shoot.
I can tell you that no true pro in North America, Europe or Australia will shoot your wedding for the equivalent of CDN$100.00 or less (yes, this has been asked of me) unless they’re a really, really, really close friend or relative. Pro wedding photography is expensive; no ifs ands or buts. How expensive depends on what photography package you’re interested in. Here are the MOF packages.
The best way to get a feel for what you’ll need to budget for is to consult 2-5 photographers that are within 40km (25mi) of where you live (that’s usually substantial), obtain price quotations on packages you are interested in and don’t commit to anything until the price is right.
Ask if the photographer’s consultation and quotes are free. Most are but occasionally you come across some that aren’t. I don’t charge for consultations or quotes, and I’m willing to re-quote until the cows come home. Bear in mind, however, that no photographer can devote an exorbitant amount of time re-quoting for a potential client when there are the needs of paying customers to be met. So, as with answering the “when to search and book” question, don’t waste time in your decision process.
Obtaining references can be good. Some clients, although they’re satisfied with their photographer’s services, don’t want to be contacted by strangers looking for verification that a particular shooter is a worthy candidate or not, so if a photographer can’t provide any references, don’t be alarmed. You may be better off just seeing examples of their work online or in person at your home, in their home, studio, at arts and crafts fairs, etc.
To make it easier, I do recommend that you voluntarily provide your photographer a written testimonial; with your name, after all services have been rendered and you are satisfied with the outcomes (the photography and the service). Do it on paper, e-mail, the photographer’s online interactive reference page or even on their blog; no, it’s not tacky.
Do you have to budget for feeding your photographer? It’s wonderful if you do but no, you are not obligated to. I have shot weddings in which there was no soup for me. Today, most shooters are aware that if they’re going to spend hours recording someone’s nuptial events, they should be prepared to tough out not eating for hours, or take something with them with hopes to find opportunities to discreetly nourish themselves. This is especially true for photographers who are diabetics or don’t want to become diabetics. In my experience, most wedding couples don’t feed their photographers.