Perhaps I’m biased, but choosing a photographer is one of the most important vendor choices for your wedding day. After the champagne is poured, the meals are eaten, the dance floor scuffed the remaining memories live in two places: your mind’s eye and in photo albums. So once you’ve finally found the perfect photographer, one who shares your aesthetic, attitude and general disposition, then comes the hard decision of exactly how much photography coverage you want, how much you need, and how much room there is in your budget.
My husband and I were married on quite the tight budget. The ceremony was held in a public park, we traded working time at the venue for the use of the space, rolled out the grill and had the help of many of our friends and family in cooking, decorating and cleaning the space. Granted, we only had 50 or so guests at a very casual pot luck (and karaoke!) party, but it was extremely important to me that we had adequate photography coverage at the wedding. Additionally, we knew that some family and friends who are particularly good photographers would be there for the night, so we figured we only needed coverage for the portraits of our family, ourselves, and some professional shots of the ceremony and reception space, a total of about two hours of photography coverage.
Arriving at your own formula can be just as simple as figuring out your own personal needs. If you are having a small wedding with a short ceremony and casual reception it is probably safe to hire a photographer only to cover the things you consider important: ceremony, posed portraits of family and bridal party and perhaps some pictures of the attendees as they wait for you to come down the aisle.
A medium sized wedding (anything between 50 and 100 guests) might require a little more coverage, because you may have a larger bridal party, more family may be attending and traveling from farther distances and you definitely don’t want to miss an opportunity for pictures of all of you together! In cases of a medium sized wedding it’s usually best to get coverage for the full day, starting during your pre-ceremony preparations (hair and make up shots are always so gorgeous, and really special to share) and ending in to the wee hours of the night with the dancing and fun that your guests will be having.
If you are brave, then you might be making plans for your large wedding (more than 100 guests) and if so, kudos to you! Venues for large weddings will, sensibly, be larger and may require a lead photographer who has hired a well-trained assistant or second shooter to cover shots that one person could not get alone. For example, the lead photographer will join the bride and her bridesmaids for their preparations before the ceremony while the assistant will get shots of the groom and his groomsmen before the ceremony. Multiple angles can be covered during the ceremony for the best possible shots of important moments like the vows, the rings and the kiss. During the party the lead photographer will photograph important moments like the first dance, cake cutting and toasts while the second shooter will visit all the tables and grab group shots of all of your guests. While the price tag on photography coverage like this is higher it’s a good plan in the long run because you will be sure to have coverage of all the amazing things you’ve planned for the day.
Little Eye Photo offers wedding packages for all of the above, starting at $600 for the very basic coverage and up to $1800 for weddings that require full day coverage as well as an experienced and professional second shooter. For destination weddings, I will be writing an entry in the future covering this topic so please check back regularly!