The Budget-Savvy Bride: 4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Booking a Photographer
By Lydia Martin

10 June 2015

So you’ve decided on your wedding date, booked the venue, chosen a theme and are now ready to take the next step – it’s time to book your photographer (and we think this is one of the most exciting parts!). There are so many amazing wedding photographers in New Zealand and more than one to suit any budget, however big or small. But the key is to find a photographer who not only suits your budget but also fits in with your wedding dreams. To help you find the perfect match, the team at Robinson Creative have put together 4 questions you must ask yourself before you choose a wedding photographer.

Step 1.  How important are wedding photos too me?

The first step is to weigh up what is most important to you on your wedding day (apart from the fact that you’re marrying the love of your life!). To get an idea of your priorities, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are we both keen for a photoshoot at two or three different locations? Or do we just want to document the day as it naturally happens with minimal fuss?
  • How much time do we want to spend with our guests versus on a photoshoot with just our wedding party?
  • Do we want an established, well-known photographer with excellent reviews? Or are we happy to try out someone new and less-experienced?
  • What’s more important to us: More guests at our amazing (but expensive) reception or picture-perfect photos? A band for the reception or professional coverage? (We recommend weighing up all the items on your budget list against wedding photography).

Deciding how far up or down on your priority list wedding photos are is the first step towards budgeting for wedding photography. If you want a 2-3 hour photoshoot after the ceremony by a well-known photographer along with reception coverage in the evening, you'll need to be prepared to pay a lot more than say if you only want a few photos after the ceremony at a near-by location.

Step 2.  What style of images do I want?

You may have your heart set on re-creating beautiful award-winning images you saw in a bridal magazine. But like almost everything in life, you get what you pay for!  Before asking a photographer if they can shoot a particular style (because they’ll no doubt say that they can!), view a selection of their images to get a feel for their overall style. While you may have to reassess your budget if grand vistas and breath-taking lighting are what you’re after, you may be pleasantly surprised by the price – especially if the photographer isn’t yet established in the market. However, the key is to thoroughly check a wedding photographer’s whole portfolio before you book, especially if the price seems too good to be true.

Step 3. How much of the day do I want to capture in pictures?

Almost every wedding photographer has different package options they offer. If your budget is on the lower side, you could choose half-day coverage (the ceremony and photoshoot) with one photographer. So make sure you check the different options before dismissing your favourite photographer just because their 2-photographer, 12 hour package is too expensive.

At Robinson Creative we always advise our brides & grooms that if you’re tossing up between fancy wedding cars or a magnificent cake and extending the reception coverage right up to your first dance, ALWAYS go for the coverage. You can never do your day again, and we promise you that you’ll enjoy the photos much more than the cake in hindsight!

Step 4. How do I want to receive my wedding photos after the big day?

Do you want to first see your wedding photos in a Queensbury album or are you happy browsing through them on your laptop? Do you want huge canvases and fine prints prepared by your photographer or just files on a disk? Most photographers have great deals which include albums and prints at a much cheaper price than trying to do them yourself. But if your budget doesn’t stretch to include the Queensbury straight away, opt for the disk and save up to treat yourself to the dream album at later date.

Final Advice

Remember - your wedding photos are going to be around long after the dress has been worn, the cake eaten and the honeymoon enjoyed. Don’t regret cutting costs by choosing the first cheap photography deal you see.

Take the time to discuss these questions with your fiancé so you can work out just how important the wedding photos are to you both. Do your research to discover the style you love and don’t be afraid to chat with photographers about the different packages and options they offer. By following these 4 simple steps, you’ll be able to find the right photographer for you who also suits your budget!