Nearly every request for quotation for wedding photography that I get has the phrase, “how much do you charge for a wedding”, or “what are your package prices”.
While most photographers have fixed packages with their own prices, my approach is to help a couple to customise their wedding photography package to suit their particular needs and then I will quote a price. I believe that this approach is both more personal and gives the best value wedding photography for money.
There are many different elements that go towards making up a wedding day that you may wish to consider which of these you want captured. It may be that you want the whole day covered which means that the photography package is most likely going to be 8 hours or longer.
At the other end, you may only want to have your ceremony covered and a few images afterwards in which case one hour should be sufficient but can usually be extended if you wish. The coverage a couple wants is nearly always based on what they can get that fits within their budget. Remember that wedding photography is not mandatory, it is a luxury and how much you want is up to you. The final quality of the images is up to the photographer and the circumstances that they are working with but the scope of coverage is up to the client. The other thing to remember is that your wedding photos can last more than a lifetime. What great memories they can give as you pass through time and to show your children and grandchildren.
These days, the average coverage for most couples that I photograph seems to be around 5-6 hours and can include some getting ready photos, ceremony, formals, bride and groom photos through to the first part of the reception depending on the timeline of their day. This would be about the minimum time to get a reasonable coverage of your wedding day. From the photographers perspective, the more time, particularly between the ceremony and reception, the better.
The flow of the day is likely to be in the order of the list below.
- Bride, Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids getting ready and preparing for the big day. In practice, depending on the number of bridesmaids, this is likely to be one of the longest parts of the day. It includes hair, makeup, getting into the wedding dress and often a champagne or two. It will usually involve the bride’s parents and any children such as flower girls.
- Groom, Best Man and Groomsmen getting ready. The guys are normally pretty relaxed and really don’t take long to get ready. Depending on the timing and location, covering the boys getting ready often involves a second photographer and is definitely worth the extra expense.
- Girls leaving for ceremony. This will usually cover final preparations through to leaving in the wedding car. This is also the part where the wedding photographer needs to get ahead and make it to the ceremony venue before the Bride. Finding a place to park for the photographer is nearly always the biggest problem. The photographer will most likely need to attend to his equipment too such as new memory cards, batteries, change of lenses which takes a few minutes also.
- The ceremony, whether a church wedding or one given by a civil celebrant or minister is the most important part of the day. This is where the couple exchange vowels and declare their love for each other. The ceremony can last from 10 minutes to over an hour and can seem to go so fast. Two photographers are a big advantage here to get the best coverage. Your photos will be a great way to relive this wonderful time.
- Post ceremony congratulations with the Bride and Groom greeting their guests and receiving congratulations.
- Group photo. I like to get a photo of the all the guests and participants at the ceremony which is a great way to remember every one who came to your wedding.
- Formal family and friends photos including all the different groups and different combinations of family and friends.
- Bridal party group and individual photos of the Bride and Groom, Maid of Honour, Bridesmaids, Best Man and Groomsmen and including Flower girls and Ring bearers.
- Bride and groom portraits are usually with the couple alone at a pre-arranged location of their choice. This is where we can get those all important personal portraits in a nice quiet environment. You should allow about of 30 to 60 minutes, plus any travelling time.
- Arriving at the reception venue, the Bride and Groom may wish to freshen up before making their entrance.
- Entrance at reception, Bride and Groom arriving at the reception, greeting any guests and being seated at the Bridal table.
- Speeches and toasts
- Cutting of the wedding cake.
- First dance, Bride and Father, Groom and Mother and guests dancing.
- Bouquet toss and departure.
- Bride and Groom leaving and driving away.
Which of the above would you like captured on your wedding day?