Hindsight is 20/20
by Ivan Apfel
When I was a teen I had a car accident that was due to simple bad decision making on my part. After the accident, my grandfather only said one sentence to me, "Hindsight is a wonderfully useless thing."
As I got older, his statement finally made sense to me. Even though hindsight may allow us to learn from our mistakes, it still doesn't make what happened any better. Hindsight is something that is happening more and more these days to couples when it comes to their wedding photography experiences. This is sad because it is almost always after the wedding that couples realize how important the photographs are to them. After the wedding is over it is too late to make the right choice in photographers.
There are many things a couple should look at when deciding on a photographer. Below is some helpful guidance to assist you with your photographer hunt:
- "What should my budget be?" This is ultimately up to you, however, keep in mind, you tend to get what you pay for. No matter where you are in the country, the average wedding package for an experienced and quality wedding photographer will range from $2500.00 to $4000.00.
- "What is the average package?" Generally the average package will include up to 7 hours of wedding coverage with one photographer, an engagement session, unlimited (but usually 150 to 300) final images on a disc, 4x6 or 4x4 proof prints and a 10x10 ten side flush mount wedding album. There are packages that will include time and files only and others that include parent books, second photographers, etc.
- "Why is experience as a wedding photographer so important?" Weddings are very unpredictable. Even though a photographer might have years of experience and may be a very good photographer, direct wedding photography experience will best allow for one to adjust to changing conditions and insure the best images possible.
- "Is the package price due only to experience level?" No. It does play a factor, however one of the other key factors is the cost of the final product. A professional photographer will not be doing your prints at a one hour printer. They send your images out to a professional printing house. If you hold the same image printed from each, you will see a definite difference. In addition, there are inexpensive wedding book makers and there are professional level wedding book makers. Commercial printers and top level wedding album makers are expensive. Again, you get what you pay for.
- "Are the images on the photographer's website a true representation of their work?" They should be but are not always. The images you see on any photographer's website are a representation of some of their favorite and best images taken. If the images on the website have a considerable amount of retouching via PhotoShop or such programs, please keep in mind that this takes time to do and will not be done to every image from your wedding. In addition, in some cases, excessive retouching may be done to cover up a poorly taken image.
- "How do I get a feel for what the real pictures taken will look like?" Believe it or not, you can just ask to see one of the current client's proofing sites. These will have all the final images from the wedding and will often times have little to no retouching done. Every reputable photographer I have asked has stated they have no problem letting potential clients see their unretouched proofs. So if you ask and they give you an excuse as to why they can not, it may be best to move on.
I hope these give you some good insight into what to consider when searching for your wedding photographer. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
- Ivan Apfel is with Apfel Photography in Miami, FL, and has been a WedPlan Member since May 2006.