Deciding the budget for wedding photography is quite confusing and challenging. This is generally more confusing when we are looking at the options in the mid segment.
If your budget is low or you are at the high end of the budget, the options are generally clearer. The mid segment is the place where you cannot decide whether you should give more priority to budget or quality.
You go through so many wedding portals and wedding photographer websites to get ideas on how this is generally priced. You must have noticed that you tend to get many options no matter what your budget is.
The budget should always be a balance between price and quality. Opting for a high-end wedding photographer, will not guarantee quality. And similarly, if you are smart enough, you can get better quality from the less experienced photographer.
- Identify the quality:
Social media is a great tool to get ideas and find good talent. The ever-growing Instagram has become the favorite hangout place on the internet.
Instagram is a photography centric social media tool. So you will find an endless number of photography related handles. But the problem with Instagram is, caters to your urge for quick and more content in less time. Instagram is all about curated content.
If you are buying fine art, prints awesome single piece of art then it is the best place to buy. But wedding photography or your wedding pictures cannot be a bunch of highly selective or curated set of pictures.
It is easy to shortlist a wedding photographer based on his highly curated feed than from few wedding blog posts.
The wedding blog post will have 80 – 100 images from the same wedding. It will reflect the quality, consistency and the style of his photography.
You can shortlist a few wedding photographers from Instagram. But you should select your wedding photographer only after looking into a few sets of his weddings he has shot.
By following this process, you understand your own likes and dislikes when it comes to wedding photography. The chances of getting distracted by looking at just if you selected pictures on Instagram or any other platform will be less. This gives you the direction you want to move in.
- Identify the market price:
When you shortlist your photographers based on the quality, you will be able to identify the price bracket for the budget they fall in.
You will have the lowest, highest and average price or budget for wedding photography. This will give you a fair amount of an idea what you like and how it is priced.
- Reevaluate your budget:
Yes, this is the time you need to rethink and re-evaluate your budget just to look at some of the possible scenarios. Check if you are ok with the market price of the style of wedding photography you like.
If the price is not matching up with your original budget then you have to make some compromises. On the other hand, if it is within or near your budget, you are good to move ahead to the next step.
Let’s now look at that two possible scenarios.
- Within the budget:
In this scenario, your wedding photography budget will be as per the market price. Now you can further shortlist and select your photographer looking into the quality you are looking for.
I would personally suggest but don’t compromise on the quality specially when the pricing is in and around your budget.
Weddings are once in a lifetime event and wedding photography should be considered as an investment. Do allocate a part of your budget for some secondary services like wedding app, photo booth, merchandise, coffee table books etc.
The secondary services may not look that important but then do add value to your overall wedding photography experience. For example, a wedding coffee table book is an investment of a lifetime. Imagine yourself going to the pictures with your kids. It will be an experience in itself for you as well as kids.
- Lower than your budget:
In this scenario, your wedding photography budget will fall short of the current market price for a certain quality of wedding photography you are looking for. It is time to redefine your budget range. Rethink if you can adjust your budget range for wedding photography.
Do consider it as an investment for future. You are spending power in the future is surely going to increase. In the future, even if you are willing to invest more money, you will never be able to redo your wedding pictures.
Final call to increase a bit of your budget or stick to the same budget lies with you. In both the cases of this scenario, to make some compromises. So make compromises on services which are not closer to your heart.
Allocate maximum funds from your budget to your favourite service. Let me share an example. Indian wedding photography is divided majorly into three services namely candid wedding photography, wedding cinematography and traditional photography / video.
So let’s say, you are a fan of candid photography but you cannot skip the other two services. In this case, I will suggest spending more money on candid wedding photography so that you get comparatively better quality. You can compromise on quality of other two services.
Skipping wedding cinematography can also be an option and it will give you the flexibility of allocating more funds on other two services. You can also skip your wedding album to save cost.
You can come back to your photographer an year later get the album printed. It can be a source of delayed gratification.
4. Local versus Destination Wedding Photographer:
At the end of the day, your overall wedding photography cost will be sum total of cost of services, travel, accommodation, and taxes. If you have a destination wedding photographer, you will have to bear the cost of flights and hotel accommodation of the entire team. It could easily be 10-15% of the entire wedding photographer package. If you have a local photography team, you can easily save this cost.
Budgeting for anything can be tiring as it is a combination of emotional as well as financial aspects. I hope the above four points will help you to decide the budget for wedding photography.