Making the Most of Your Wedding Photography Part 1: The Art of the Deal

So you've found the perfect wedding photographer (after all, you're on this website), but is it at the perfect price?

The bill for the average wedding in New England comes out around $24,000. From the invitations to the venue, all of the thousand little pieces that make up your special day can really add up and you want to make sure that you get the most out of every dollar. Wedding photography, which can be one of the largest line items on a wedding's budget, is one area where brides try to scrimp and save.

Over the years brides have approached us from a lot of different angles, some have been effective others have been a little insulting. We think that you'll love our packages and our prices without the hassle of haggling but if you want to ask about special pricing then you might want to follow these guidelines.

Don't:

  • Promise referrals: I shot one of my first weddings for free because the bride promised a stream of referrals if I could only photograph her wedding. My portfolio was thin, my skills weren't that sharp but I was hoping to get a foot in the door. Four years later I can't trace any business back to that wedding because the bride was more excited about the deal than she was about the pictures. I learned that the best referrals come from happy clients (and discount shoppers come from discount clients).
  • Offer to help my portfolio: Every wedding is made up of hundreds of beautiful moments and beautiful memories and every bride is in love with their wedding (or at least most of them). My job is to find those moments and capture them, like lightning in a bottle and if I've done it right even the simplest wedding will yield stunning images.
  • Plead Poverty: It doesn't matter if you're getting married at the Ritz or in your cousin's backyard, all of our clients receive the same level of service and dedication from Ryan Richardson Photography.
  • Pretend it's a vacation: If you are throwing a destination wedding, do not try and convince your photographer you are sending them on vacation. My vacations mostly involve sitting around with a book and hitting on pretty girls I don't have a shot with. Unless that's what you want me to do at your wedding then I'm working.

Do:

  • Understand Supply and Demand: Wedding season in New England runs from the late Spring through the early Autumn, with most brides looking for June dates or quirky numbers (9/10/11 for example) that fall on weekends. If you're looking to negotiate, you'll be in a stronger position if you're marrying in a slow season. Also, the closer a date is the less likely it wil be booked, so if you're willing to play chicken with your wedding you might wait until only one or two months ahead and see if anyone is available. Though if everyone is booked for your special day, you might just be out of luck.
  • Compromise: If you have a limited budget it doesn't mean you have to sacrifice great photography, it just means you might have to cut down any extras. Brides shopping for photography like to see options for albums, digital files, second photographers and photobooths but taking away even one of these can result in a lot of savings. For many clients, we actually recommend forgoing an album with your wedding package and instead thinking about it for an anniversary gift.
  • Flatter: Brides can hit a wall in negotiations when it appears that they value the price over the product. Photography is an art before its a business and letting the photographer you know that you value their work will set the right tone for a discussion.

 With these tools in hand, you can go into a consultation armed with a little bit of firepower to ensure that your photography is fit for your event and your budget.