What to expect…
Without a doubt, this is one of the most important aspects of a wedding and one of the most expensive as well. You don’t want just anyone taking pictures and even as a guy, I recognize that this is a super important thing. Having a good relationship with your photographer is important but so is trusting them to know what they are doing. If you feel like you must micromanage your photographer then there is something wrong either with your trust in them, their ability or lack thereof or perhaps you and your fiancé are control freaks. Really do you your homework here. Different photographers have different packages but like anything else you will get what you pay for. We got an amazing deal on ours and we are supremely happy with how they turned out but I know many people who didn’t have such good luck. Our photographer took so many amazing pictures that we can’t decide which ones we like best (that’s normal I think). What’s better is that we had a great working relationship with her and she took the time to get to know us as a couple and family ahead of time.
Once you look around at photographers you get an idea of the range of pricing. If you find someone who is offering bargain basement deals on wedding packages there is a reason why and it’s not usually the economy. Perhaps they are new. Perhaps they aren’t very good yet since they are new. Perhaps they are just plain bad and are trying to compensate in pricing. Or, perhaps you might as well have one of your friends just take pictures with their cell phone or camera their mom got them for Christmas. It’s just like any other professional service; you get what you pay for.
Let’s be real here guys and gals (GUYS!). Photography is an ART and a business or should be in this aspect. Professional photographers put (or should) put a lot of time not just into their equipment but also their art and progressing their style as an artist. If they don’t then there is no difference between them and your aunt who insists she takes good pictures with her Walmart special. Guys, what I am about to say might sound girly buts it’s true: your photos from your wedding day will last far longer than your memories and might be the only proof you have 20 years from now that your wife loved you at one point.
Basically, don’t go cheap but don’t over pay either. You have a budget so see how different photographers can accommodate you to stay at or below budget without losing quality. Facebook is full of “photographers” and most of us know at least a few people who say they are one. Remember anyone can take a picture, Instagram proves that but only talented photographers can make art and truly capture the magic and special moments of your wedding day AND engagement pictures. When shopping, look at their work and how long they have been doing it and don’t be afraid to ask for references. ANY photographer worth their salt will have no issue with any of these. Also, see if they have a Facebook Page for their business AND a website, business card etc. If you are going to trust your special day to someone while doling out upwards of $1,000 or more then for god sakes make sure they act like a professional.
For our wedding, this is something that I wish we would have paid more attention to and is by far my biggest and perhaps only regret but having a professional videographer was way out of our budget. Looking back though there are things I wish we had that we don’t and that we can never get back. Again, this might sound girlie but you spend months and months hearing about your bride’s dress and then the day comes, you see her in it and then it is over and done before you know it. Stacey looked like a dream come true, my princess but the day progressed so fast I don’t feel like I got enough time to see her in the dress. It’s quite sad. Your wedding day happens shockingly fast when it finally comes. As Ferris Bueller said:
Stacey and I don’t have a video of our first dance as husband and wife, we don’t have a video of her dancing with our son, I don’t have a video of me dancing with my mom or Stacey’s surrogate moms since her mom passed away earlier in the year. She doesn’t have a video of her and her dad dancing. So, all those special dances and songs are alive only in my (our) memories and in still photos. It sucks and it really breaks my heart. I wish we had them for my son to see someday since he was there for our wedding or even just for Stacey and myself to watch on occasion.
IF you can swing a videographer do it. Many photographers offer this service. The ones who don’t usually know of a few videographers they can work with. I would not pay a lot for this service but I would pay for it if I could. All you really want is someone recording some of the special moments of the day.
If you can’t afford a professional then find a friend you trust with a GOOD cell phone camera (iPhone, higher end LG or Samsung) who is willing to record at least the dances and some of the fun from the reception. Toss them $50.00 for the trouble. I don’t think a videographer at a wedding ceremony is necessary since pictures do that part of the day justice.