Don’t cheap out on your wedding photographer

I thought I’d write a piece today sharing some of my advice to all 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 sitting at slightly over $35,000 – Yowzers!! 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!!)

Now I completely understand that many sensible couples do not want to come anywhere near that sort of figure for their total wedding costs. I 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 researching 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 as long as they capture some lovely moments, I’ll be happy.
On the day, there was still that feeling of awkwardness, 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 liked at a cheaper price also look for someone that we click with. For us, the price ended up being the deciding factor as we went with someone who wasn’t super cheap and 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 very true – I see it daily with brides stressing over rubbish items purchased at rock bottom prices on eBay. There 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 can’t help but feel they weren’t the best fit for us. For us, our budget focused on a lovely, high-quality meal for us and our 16 guests who joined my husband and me for our reception after a larger ceremony and “champagne and cupcakes” in the afternoon. The food was indeed delicious, and we have some 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.

If I had that time again, I think I could justify 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 important photos. Memories fade, but the photos will be there forever, so they are important investments. I think I’d also consider having a professional videographer as we just had family filming, which ends up being nothing special. With all of the incredible videographers creating such moving pieces, I wish that we had one of our own to capture the special words we said to each other in high definition.

So….. if you can 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 intentionally withheld the name and details of our photographer as they are far from a terrible photographer, just not the best match for us).
~ Mel