December 10, 2013

Seven Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Photographer | Saratoga Photographer

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

This time of year, lots of people get engaged and start planning their weddings. And many of them get completely overwhelmed by the planning process.  Choosing a Wedding Photographer can be one of the most important decisions an engaged couple makes.

What Do You Consider When Choosing a Wedding Photographer?

However, choosing a Wedding Photographer can be one of those areas that quickly overwhelms people. I think that is because while everyone knows that the photographs are important, they don’t necessarily understand what really is involved for a photographer to produce great wedding photos. Here are some simple things to consider when choosing a Wedding Photographer:

Awesome rustic wedding in the Keane Valley and Lake Placid.

What Does Wedding Photography Cost?

1. Why can Wedding Photography be sooooo expensive? Most people only see the wedding photographer show up for the day to photograph the wedding. That leads them to believe that Wedding Photography is only an eight hour job.

In reality, there are many hours that go into producing top notch wedding photographs. In addition to planning the Timeline with the Bride and photographing an Engagement Session and the Wedding Day, good photographers spend many hours editing the images and designing the finished albums.

A typical full service wedding package equates to approximately 40 hours of a photographer’s time–one full work week. Add to that the general costs of doing business such as Insurance, Advertising, Equipment Costs, etc., and you get a pretty good idea of why good photography costs so much–as well it should. Would you like to work for a week and make significantly less than minimum wage? Of course not–why would Wedding Photographers be any different?

Hall of Springs Wedding Photo Saratoga Springs NY
The brilliant foliage makes Fall in Upstate NY our most popular season for weddings. This was photographed near the Hall of Springs in Saratoga NY.

When Should We Book a Wedding Photographer?

2. How far in advance should we book our photographer? Most good photographers book out a year in advance for the busier seasons. In our area (Upstate NY) Fall is the busiest time of year because of the beautiful foliage. Those weekends are premium weekends and book up extremely quickly. So if there is a particular photographer you want, keep in mind that you should not wait until three months before the wedding to contact them.

Saratoga Winery Wedding Photos
Candid photos can have just as much impact, if not more, than posed photos.

Post Processing

3. Photoshop is magical–it can fix anything, right? Ummm. . . not really. While Photoshop is a great tool, it is always best for your Wedding Photographer to get things right in the camera and not rely heavily on “fixing” in Photoshop. Proper exposure and good posing should be paramount. These take years of study and practice to learn and perfect. And most photographers charge extra for things such as headswaps, extensive retouching, removing objects, etc. because it is so time consuming and laborious.

Franklin Plaza Wedding Photos
The Franklin Plaza makes an awesome backdrop for wedding photos.

What is the difference between “Shoot and Burn” vs Edited Images?

4. What is the difference between someone who “shoots and burns” vs. someone who actually edits the photos? Shoot and burn photographers basically download their images and burn a disk of unculled, unedited images. They do not get rid of any of the “bad” images. They do not color correct or exposure correct; nor do they do any kind of Photoshop work whatsoever. Sure they are cheaper up front. But ask yourself–if they give you bad files that you then need to have “fixed” by a lab or another photographer, are you really saving money? Not really, and in many cases it will cost you more in the end. Be sure to ask whether the digital files you will be receiving will have been edited. You don’t want to be surprised. Sometimes paying a bit more up front for your photographer will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy a stress free wedding day.

Inn at Erlowest Wedding Photo 01

Digital Files of Our Wedding Photos

5. All the bridal guides tell me I need the digital files–what do I do with them? Digital files are great to have for archival purposes. Keep a copy on your hard drive, but also keep an copy at another location for back up. But if you take only one thing away from this post, let it be this: please print some of your pictures. Have your Wedding Photographer make an album or some wall portraits through a professional lab. That way you can enjoy looking at them whenever the mood strikes. And your children and grandchildren will enjoy the very first family heirloom you and your spouse create together.

Birch Hill Wedding Photos

Do We Need a Wedding Day Timeline?

6. Why is a Timeline so important? On the wedding day, there are so many things going on and there is only so much time in which to accomplish things. You need to work with all of your vendors ahead of time so the day flows easily and without stress for you. If pictures are important to you, you need to make sure you have enough time allotted to get the number and type of images you really want. For example, if you want to do sunset shots, you need to know ahead of time what time the sun will set on your wedding day and how it fits in with the catering timetable, etc. All the professionals at your wedding need to know and respect the Timeline in order for you to have a stress free day.

State Room Wedding Photos

Considerations for Wedding Albums When Choosing a Wedding Photographer

7. Photographer X has an album for $800 and Photographer Y has the same size album for twice the price–an album is just an album, right? There are many different albums out there, with many different options. Some albums are much higher quality than others. That is why we encourage potential clients to actually meet with different photographers so they can see and feel the differences in the products. A simple press printed book will never be as expensive as a leather bound, hand stitched album printed on photographic papers. It would be like comparing apples to oranges. There are albums out there for all budgets. But if you purchase something that does not last, have you really saved money in the end? If your photos are important to you, choose something that will stand the test of time.

Inn at Erlowest Wedding Photo
Relax and enjoy your day!

Hopefully this has been helpful in giving you a starting point in looking for a Wedding Photographer. For more information on choosing a wedding photographer, you can read What Is A Reasonable Price for Wedding Photography. Your wedding photos will be the only tangible product remaining after your wedding. Make sure you choose a photographer who you think will help you tell the story of your wedding day in a way you want to remember it.

We hope you enjoyed this Wedding Photography Blogpost by Saratoga Wedding Photographer Susan Blackburn. To see more Saratoga Wedding Photos, please view the Wedding Photography Portfolio. Please call 518.584.4237 to schedule a consultation today.