Sunday, April 29, 2007

Setting a Photography Budget

Most brides and grooms spend at least $1,000 on their wedding photos and many spend $4,000 and upwards. Again, this isn't an area in which to go the discount bargain route. While wedding photos may seem pricey, don't forget that we're talking priceless artifacts here. To make things even more confusing, photographers charge in different ways for their services.

When interviewing a photographer, discuss the number of pictures he takes, the cost of each print, the style and cost of the albums he offers, and whether there are travel costs or extra fees included. Photographers' fee can vary tremendously. Use the forms included in the back of this section to make accurate comparisons.

Most photographers that do a number of weddings offer a package, which is a predetermined number of pictures in various sizes for a set fee that includes the prints and the album. Generally, pictures are less expensive when ordered this way. Check to see if packages are available for parent' albums.

Flat Fee - Care Minimum

Here you pay a single amount for the photographer's time, film, and expenses. This amount is usually based on an estimate of the number of shots expected. You will get proofs and negatives, but printing the photos and any cropping or retouching will be done on your own nickel. Most often, in these cases, you'll take possession of the negatives. Be aware that this can become a big project, turning these proofs into professional quality photo albums.

In other instances, the flat fee will include the photographer supplying a photo album and handling the printing of the photographers for you. Usually, they'll then retain ownership (and possession) of the negatives, although they may sell you the negatives more cheaply later.

Photo Packages

Most photo packages specify a limited amount of time, usually from two to eight hours, with the price going up accordingly. After that, hourly overtime rates would apply, which can range from $85 to $250/hour. These packages may also include a set number of prints of various sizes, say twenty-five 5x7s and ten 8x10s in a particular type of photo album. You might consider asking them is removing the album from your package will allow you to receive an additional discount. It's very likely that you'll receive one as a wedding gift or, at the very least, find one more to your own liking.

Hourly Fee

Here, photographers charge a flat hourly fee, which may or may not include film and expenses. It's important to find out what the additional charges will be for getting proofs and ordering the photos.

Location Charges

Some photographers charge more for changes of location. Others offer no location limit and are willing to shoot in as many locations as you've selected. If you're dressing where the ceremony will be held, and the ceremony and reception will be at the same location, then this won't be an issue. If however, there's no dressing room at the ceremony site, or your ceremony and reception will be held at different places, you might have as many as three locations for the photographer to travel to, so you'll need to discuss this with him.