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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