HOW TO DECIDE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY BUDGET
Deciding photography budget is very crucial and one should plan it very carefully based on the services required and quality expectations. Based on our experience very few clients understand their needs where to start from. More often than not they have no idea where to start when it comes to finding the photographer best suited to their wedding or how much it should cost. These services are mainly categorized into two things
In India people normally categorize Photography mainly into two Sub categories: Candid Photography (some also called these as photojournalism, documentary, reportage style photography) and Traditional Photography (normally old school photographers who do more staged shoots and often directs a wedding with each and every important event with multiple retakes and breaks). However in my experience I have seen many photographers who might call themselves candid but often show the traits of the Traditional photographer and have even worked with many experienced Traditional Photographers who have reinvented themselves with time and do far better work than many “Candid” Photographers. And therefore I have simply categorized in my flow chart above as “Professional Photography” and “Non Professional Photography”.
In real life we might find a photographer who might be somewhere in between and may show little of both characteristics. And it is these factors (and many others) that decide their market worth. A good professional photographer with many years of experience will be costlier than someone who is just starting out. And on the surface level their work might look similar but the difference comes when they face challenging situations.
Wedding photography is a once in a lifetime purchase. It’s an investment in capturing memories that will last you a lifetime. Wedding photography today is available at all price points and you can pick and choose what works for you. But remember this: cheap or bargain deal doesn’t necessarily mean “Value for Money”. The ideal scenario is hiring a photographer or team who’s style you like, is a reputed professional and whose charges fall in your budget.
Based on characteristics (shown in above flow chart) you can decide what is important to you and what you can compromise with; secondly decide the right team size. If you expect to have important ceremonies/event running in parallel than you need to have that many teams ready to capture them instead of one team hopping from one to another as this result in last minute rush and might cost you few important shots being missed.
Remember wedding pictures (and video) are the only way you and your loved ones will remember this day. Even your children and grand children will see it through these pictures and understand & experience the emotions, traditions of your wedding day.
So many efforts go in choose and create different things and when everything put together they create your special day even more special. However often during the busy schedules of the wedding day we often miss to appreciate those details for which we have put in so much effort.
The budget should always be a balance between price and quality
Identify the acceptable quality: Quality is perceived differently by different people. Some people appreciate the artistic unique images where as the other person would want more mainstream/trendy images. For some it’s more about the overall experience or image quality or having everyone covered. Social media is a great tool to get ideas and find good talent. Instagram/facebook is all about curated content where photographer post only select few images from the event. But your wedding pictures cannot be a bunch of highly selective or curated set of pictures. Therefore it is always recommended to reach out to your shortlisted photographer and demand to see entire set for few weddings. It will reflect the quality, consistency and the style of his photography. And please do not decide after seeing images on your mobile phones; try to see them in biggest possible high quality screen to see the quality. If possible visit their office/studio and see their setup. A good photographer will be having large color corrected monitors with color calibration devices .
Identify your budget range: Our recommendation for setting a budget for wedding photography is this: 10-15% of your total wedding expenditure. It’s not about how much you can afford but, rather, how much you want to allocate. If the Decor/Venue is more important to you than the wedding photography, for example, then you’ll know to set your budget as less than 10%. You’ll be able to find a good photographer in that budget as well. Or, conversely, if wedding photos are a super-high priority and you have a photographer in mind whose work you adore but who is outside your budget, then stretching beyond the 15% and scrimping on something else is also a good solution.
But if you don’t have a budget in mind, how will you be able to take these decisions? When you shortlist your photographers based on the quality, you will be able to identify the price bracket for the budget they fall in. Ideally one should hire the photographer they can proudly brag about based on the images they create for you. Those images is the only way people (and even you) will remember the day, Venue, dresses etc. So if you have hired a talented photographer he can show even a modest venue in the best possible way.
Decision time: Now you need to re-evaluate your budget and see where do you want to compromise based upon your preference. Photographers are available in every price bracket and with little extra effort you will be able to find the one who is a right fit for you. A photographer who will not only make great pictures but will add more fun to the wedding with his friendliness. His professional approach should allow you to relax and have one less thing t worry about.
And it is important to remember that a wise decision is to hire a wedding photographer not just because of his photographic style, but also for the style of his personality. Your style and personality should match, so that you know you are getting a genuine style which resonate with your personality.