How making room in your budget for high-quality photography can make your special day last a lifetime
It’s called by many “the most important day of your life.” Many spend thousands of dollars to create a fantasy, a fairy-tale event that will represent everything that is style and perfection to all who see it.
So why is it that so many soon-to-be brides and grooms don’t take the same care in capturing that day and its moments as they do in creating it? Why would they take a chance on a “friend of a friend” or “someone who will do it for cheap” but who has no experience photographing weddings (as well as no proof their vision matches that of the couple’s)?
While the cost of wedding photography can be daunting, there is no doubt that making it one of your primary expenses will be worth it in the long run.
“Photographs are the only tangible thing you have left of your wedding day,” explains wedding photographer Jessica Wong from Jessica Q Photography. For that reason, Wong recommends setting your wedding budget early on and making adjustments to other aspects of the day.
“I had created my own centerpieces with fake flowers and used the floral budget towards a great team of wedding photography and video coverage,” she says. “Your flowers will die, and all the other stuff only lasts for one day, but photography is forever.”
Jordan Demos, half of the married photography duo that makes up Amy & Jordan Photography, agrees that no matter what your overall budget may be, it’s important to spend more on the photographer and make cuts other places.
“When it’s all over, that’s all you have left,” Jordan explains.
While it may seem obvious to have a photographer suggest that you set a larger percentage of your day’s budget to photography, the moviation behind it is good. Karie Denny of Ace & Whim, a fine art film photography team comprised of her and her husband Field, explains that having seen countless brides get caught up in making it the event of the year, leaving their grooms to feel helpless and flustered.
“Focus on being engaged and in love,” Denny suggests. “Weddings are chaotic and fast-paced. You want someone who has worked under that much pressure before and can take the lead.” So instead of your Aunt Martha with the nice camera or your mom’s neighbor who offered to do it for only $100, it is more than worth the investment to have an experienced photographer who has photographed several weddings and can take the lead to save you some stress.
Another important focus in selecting a photographer for your big day should be your connection to the photographer and their work. Wong suggests meeting with them in person, so you can ensure you have a good vibe and will solidify that both personalities mesh and the experience will be a good one for all involved.
“You’ll be spending more time with the person clicking the shutter than anyone else on the wedding day, so make sure you like them and can picture them as one of the girls or one of the guy,” Wong says.
Denny agrees, elaborating that a connection to the photographer’s style is also important. “There should be a connection to the artist’s work. If there is not and you hire them anyway, you may be disappointed in what you get.”
The value of quality wedding photography on your big day goes beyond a group photo of you and your cousins from New Hampshire that you haven’t seen in seven years. And it’s more than someone taking a photo of the bride in her dress. Demos, Denny and Wong may vary in styles and price points for their services, but they are all passionate when they speak about past couples and share a similar commitment to the importance of the day.
“Our goal is to preserve a couple’s love in its raw, pure, joyous, unfiltered, emotional state for generations to come so that 50 years from now, when our clients are grandparents, they’ll be able to open their wedding album and feel the real, fresh, vibrant emotion come back to life and jump off the page,” says Demos. “Then when their granddaughter gets engaged herself, she can see how much her grandpa truly loved her grandma.”
And let’s face it: party favors, an open bar and five-course meal could never be (and should never be) more important than that.