Wedding photography packages – Making sense of it all!


Something I'm often asked by my wedding planning clients is, "How do I choose a photographer?” I often hear, “They all seem to offer different combinations of packages and services and it’s confusing."

Because photography is such an essential part of the wedding, and also a large part of the stress in initial planning, I wanted offer a quick rundown of my method for comparing apples to apples in the photography world.

I’m not going to cover artistic styles in this post. It’s of first importance to choose a photographer with whom you feel a connection, and one with whom you’ll be comfortable under their gaze the entire wedding day. But let’s assume you’ve found several photographers whose shooting style, artistic eye, and personality you really like. Now it’s time to select.

In my opinion, there are three “must-haves” to a photography package:

1.  Coverage time and personnel.

Most photographers offer packages ranging from six hours to unlimited time.  Some will add or include the rehearsal dinner and other events surrounding the wedding. You need to look at your schedule of the day to decide what exactly you want the photographer to cover.  I find that a minimum of eight hours works for many of our clients, and allows them to have the photographer from the end of getting ready time through to the toasts, cake cutting, and the first part of dancing. However, if you want more getting ready coverage, have multiple events such as related ceremonies or rituals (such as a morning Chinese tea ceremony before a afternoon Western wedding), or want to have formal photos taken at several locations, eight hours may not be enough.  Definitely look closely at your needs and timeline.

Photographers also offer additional photography staff ("second shooters").  This is different from a photographer's assistant, who carries and sets up equipment for the photographer, takes lightmeter readings, and performs other tasks, but who may not actually be taking photos. Do ask what the role of any additional staff will be. For many of our clients with elaborate events or multiple locations, a second shooter is essential in order to get the detail shots, as well as alternate angles and takes on the key moments.

Photo: Portland Wedding Photographer, Evrim Icoz

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The Portland Wedding Coordinator Blog is owned and authored by EJP Events, an event planning firm in Portland, Oregon.

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Let’s toast to Cinco de Mayo! (with a Margarita and Mexican Martini recipe)

Even though Cinco de Mayo is a minor regional holiday in Mexico proper, its significance in the US isMargarita-pdphoto that of a major cultural celebration similar to St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, or Chinese Lunar New Year1. Don’t confuse Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, with Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16th), however.  The 5th of May marks the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, where Mexican forces defeated French invaders seeking to install a French emperor of Mexico.

What does any of this have to do with Portland weddings? I just want to acknowledge the all-important Mexican-American contribution to the summer wedding menu: the Margarita. No matter what food is on the menu, a freshly-squeezed, hand-shaken Margarita lends an easy festivity to any wedding.

In honor of the holiday this week, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite Margarita recipes from Texas, as well as one of my favorite variants, the Mexican Martini. For both recipes, all your juices should be fresh-squeezed, and the tequila should be light or Silver. (I recommend Herradura or Patron.)

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What is a “kick-off consult”? {Wedding Planning Definitions}

I find that many brides and grooms are naturally entering the wedding planning process with not a lot of experience in these types of large-scale, complex events, and so many of the terms that are bounced around can be confusing.

In our {Wedding Planning Definitions} series, I'll examine some different terms and products that come up often in discussions of the wedding planning process.

Today's feature is

"kick-off consult".

This is a program for clients who would like assistance from a wedding planner in the early stages of their engagement, but perhaps have not committed fully to using a planner for full services. The "kick-off consult" usually includes a design component, where the planner talks with you about your overall vision for the wedding in everything from colors and sounds to the food and drink, all the way to what the attendants will be wearing.  You can ask questions about the pros and cons of different sites, and also get ideas for sites you may not have thought of on your own.  Budget will be discussed, and vendor matches will be suggested.

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