There are three things you should know about me. One, I'm getting married. Two, I love pictures. Three, I'm the obsessive bride who wants everything perfect till nth detail. I'm also that friend of yours who irritates you for not arranging things in a particular order however unimportant they might be. Hence, the first thing I did when I started planning my wedding was to create a to-do list and then another list and then another and then...I am sure you get the idea! Therefore, you can very well imagine what I (an over-particular bride) went through when I was trying to find a photographer for my wedding.
So, just like everyone, I started my search on Google—the genius, and oh boy, there were thousands of write-ups on the subject. Articles on hiring a photographer ranged from slightly irritating to hair pulling ones. The more I read, the more puzzled I felt after reading the half-baked information on every website because I couldn't even find a single page that provided ALL the information!!! Great work, people. Thanks for adding to the pleasurable torture that I was already going through wedding planning *slow claps*
And this is precisely why I decided to put EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HIRING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER in this blog for the obsessive brides (like me).
Hey, no need for a round of applause. Just bookmark this, that's it. Advice: Bookmark this now!
To start with, firstly you should decide,
Candid Photography - Candid shots are more spontaneous and less posey. While shots can be planned, they tend to capture the people and emotions in much more realistic way. Such shots require more skill, experience, planning, technical skills and thus, are hard to shoot. As a result, it tends to cost a tad bit more.
Traditional Photography- These shots are generally staged (posey) and mostly taken when the photographer says, "look here, smile please", also they costs less. The idea here is to document/capture a large part of wedding. Moreover, this ensures that no moment or person is missed.
Cinematic Videography- The idea is similar to candid photography. A good videography captures the wedding, it's star cast (you and important people around you) and surrounding emotions in 20-40 minute video. Some of the work looks better than Bollywood movies with great cinematography, setup, editing, music, story (not sure about that in Bollywood :-P). They require specific equipments (cameras & drones) and technical knowhow which makes it costlier. Here's how Cinematic Videography looks like.
Traditional Videography- This is one of the oldest styles that we would have seen in our parent's wedding videos too. The entire wedding function is filmed for at least 2-3 hours. This is documenting a large part of the wedding in a video form.
Usually, couples spend 5-10% of the total budget on wedding photography. Wedding photography has evolved a lot from just a way to capture turn by turn poses to capture emotions and fun moments during the wedding, all that which is also reflected in the pricing.
Wedding photography is now a priced as a combination of art and simple service where prices are not necessarily directly proportional to efforts. The prices range from 50k to 20 lakhs and vary a lot from photographer to photographer.
A general rule of thumb I came up with is that, if you have a two-day event and you want all 4 services (candid photography, cinematic videography, traditional photography and traditional videography) then your photographer would charge 20% of total photography budget for one- day of candid photography.
However, I would personally advice allocate more budget to photography and make a cut somewhere else. The smile on your face when you look at those pictures would be worth it, and if not, those likes on Facebook and Instagram would definitely be!
You need a budget (explained above), event dates, guest list, and location. Clarity on these things will help you find the photographer well. Another important thing to keep in mind is whether you're booking the photographer from groom's side and bride's side separately or both the sides together.
Pro Tip: Hire the same team of photographers for both the sides (grooms as well as brides). This will also help in cutting down the budget.
Generally, couples opt all 4 service for all for the functions. But if you're on a tight budget:
Skip the candid photography and cinematic videography on functions other than the wedding. If further need be, skip the cinematic videography altogether.
But ensure you have a good candid photographer to capture your wedding day.
Before you start approaching photographer for quotes, below is the format to assemble all the information in a single place. You can add/edit the format as per your requirement.
The first thing to do when you're on a lookout for a wedding photographer is to shortlist at least 3-5 of them. And that you can go through:
1) Online wedding planning portals such as ShaadiSaga.com
2) Your newly-wed friends and family members
3) Social media recommendations
Pro Tip: An attention-grabbing website of the photographer doesn't mean that the work would be good too. Meet him in person. And if you can't meet the photographer, it's also advisable to discuss over a video call.
1) Availability of dates
2) Communicate all your functions (even the smallest events like haldi, chooda etc). If you're planning to surprise your guests with a special performance, don't surprise your photographer. Make sure he knows beforehand about the pre-planned activities so that he's able to capture!
3) Avoid telling your exact budget so that it helps you negotiating the prices. Get their quotes by sharing your requirements. Although, many photographers work on fixed pricing.
4) Exact deliverables and package inclusion (Number of edited pictures and raw pictures, delivery time, photo album or not)
5) How many photographers with what area of expertise would be coming on what event and day
6) Timing flexibility
7) Payment policies including policy on taxes + Cancellation and refund policy
8) Travel and accommodation logistics and clarity on who would bear the charges (especially in case of destination wedding)
9) Cost of extra services (drone, photobooths, LED screens)
11) Timing of deliverable + Policy in case of deliverables are delayed
12) Discuss about the venue location and lighting
In the end, it's best to go with the one you're most comfortable with. Think about how he/she will be friendly and easy with your guests too!
1) Sign a written contract 2) Whatever agreement/understanding you have, ensure to keep a record of it. This would help you in case of any misunderstanding/dispute 3) Confirm the timings with the photographer of your day/night functions 4) Share the must-have shots that you want with your photographer in advance. For example, jewellery shots, getting ready shots, lehenga shots, bridesmaids pictures etc. 5) Hand out a list with the names of the most important people to be clicked. Pro Tip: Hand out passport size photos too, to avoid any last minute confusion. And this will make it easier for the photographer to recognize them as he/she wouldn't know your 'Chandigarh wali massi'! :-P
Well, congratulations! Now that you're also an expert at hiring a wedding photographer, all you need to do is, take a deep breath. Relax. And trust your wedding photographer.
Happy planning! ❤
xoxo, The Obsessive Bride
PS: I hate to do this but courtesy my OCD behavior of wanting everything to be oh-so-perfect, it makes me plan for those things that can still go wrong despite putting so much effort in planning. So, here are some things that can go wide of the mark, but you should totally AVOID:
1) Booking a photographer too late. Your favorite one might be already booked by then!
2) Changing the event schedule at the last moment
3) Picking a photographer whose style of working does not match with you or your loved ones
4) Not setting your expectation clearly or in advance and missing some shots that you wanted clearly
5) Trying to make things 'too perfect'
6) AVOID agreeing to any verbal commitment. Get it in written.
Don't forget to check with your photographer 10 days before your wedding about the schedule. And also, post-wedding, be prompt with all the communication so that you get the deliverables soon. Okay, now you're all set!