Occasionally I get these phone-calls from prospective clients who tell me that they want the “Best” candid wedding photography and after giving me a bullet list of events, have only two questions – How much do you charge? and What all is included in this price?
Quite frankly, it sounds like someone buying a washing machine!!
Traditionally wedding photography has only served two purposes - a documentary evidence of the wedding and an attendance register so you know who turned up. The features vs. price mentality serves this mindset.
But if you expect a more personal approach and a story that evokes emotion and makes you relive your big day, then you need to hire an artist. Consider this – photography is one of the very few tangible takeaways from a wedding.
This article will give you a better perspective on how to find the right photographer and some tips to be able to afford them.
Take an example – When you buy clothes for yourself, you don’t ask the salesman for the best dress and you don't buy a dress just because your friend bought it too.
You pick up what suits your taste, matches your sensibilities and is the best FOR YOU. This is exactly how you hire artists.
Ask them the right questions – about their perspective, their priorities, their style and their USP. Only then can you be certain that you’re booking a photographer who’s the right fit for you.
Always remember that the best photographer for one person could easily be the worst choice for someone else.
Assuming you’ve found the photographer you like the most, here are 3 simple ways to be able to afford them -
1. Hire the right photographer, even if it means trimming the list of events
Top artists are expensive because their work is sophisticated, exclusive and highly personalized. However, most of them are quite affordable if you change your perspective and requirements. For e.g. A lot of our clients working with a smaller budget choose to hire us only for the wedding ceremony and are very happy with the final delivery. It all boils down to quality versus quantity and how important photography is for you. Most good photographers will help you figure out the events where their photography is the right fit and would be happy to work with you if you can adjust your requirements accordingly.
You can always have inexpensive traditional photographers or your friends shooting the other events.
2. Ask for referrals
Yes, it’s possible that you still might not be able to afford the photographer you really wanted. However, most photographers know other photographers with a similar shooting style. They also work with second-shooters whom they usually train & guide and every good-hearted photographer would want their second-shooters to start shooting independently.
What you need to do is to simply ask for a referral. Be upfront and let them know your budget so that they only refer someone relevant.
3. Look for an amateur/student/part-time photographer
Ideally I wouldn’t want you here but sometimes there are severe budget/family constraints that might restrict you from choosing the above two options. Photography students, amateurs and part-time photographers may give you a too-good-to-be-true deal but I can point out the possible pitfalls from my own experience. At some point I was a part-time wedding photographer and back then I didn’t have any hardware or processes for back-up and data security. My job got in the way many a times and I had to shift focus from my deliverables as a photographer. To be brutally honest, I wasn’t serious and was making so little money from photography that it just didn’t make sense for me to invest in these things. It was a disaster waiting to happen and I feel that my clients & I were just plain lucky that I didn’t screw up!!
Anyway, if your only option is to hire from this category, then do ask them about their back-up and contingency plans and keep a track of the delivery timelines.
I hope this article has been helpful in putting things in perspective. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. I would be glad to respond.
If you are looking for the right wedding photographer, then here's a video that might help you -