One of the things you’ll quickly discover when searching for your perfect wedding photographer is that different photographers have very different packages on offer. Some will shoot all day, others for a certain number of hours, some will offer albums, some will offer engagement shoots, some may even include travel and accommodation costs. So with so many variations on these packages and the associated prices how do you go about working out what the best value package is for you and what do you need to look out for?
Number of Photographs – Wedding photographers will often take thousands of photographs on the day but are highly unlikely to include every single image in what they provide to you, and quite frankly you wouldn’t want them all anyway. Many of these are duplicates (for example 5 or 6 shots of the same group taken in the hope that people will all have their eyes open in at least one of them) and sometimes photographers try a shot that simply doesn’t work and therefore hasn’t been included for very good reasons! The number of photographs included in the package varies greatly between photographers and there may be a variety of factors affecting this, but however many it is make sure you’re comfortable with the number of photographs you will receive before signing the booking form.
Albums – Having an album included is, for some people, very important and these days it’s certainly not something that every photographer necessarily includes in their packages. Whilst most photographers will certainly have albums available to purchase, often these are so expensive (often well over £500 even at trade prices) that they become more of an optional extra rather than forcing an increase in the overall cost of the package. Where they are extra many photographers will allow you to purchase an album separately well after the wedding itself so that you have a chance to save up for it after all of the expense of the wedding day is over. If an album is included then the package will generally be higher in order to cover the photographer’s costs but they may be looking to make a smaller profit margin on the albums so it can sometimes end up cheaper depending on the individual photographer. If an album is really important to you then it’s important to weigh up the options to see which way represents the best value for you.
Engagement Shoots – Some photographers consider an engagement shoot absolutely essential in order to get to know you and make sure you feel comfortable on the day and will therefore generally include it in their packages. For others an engagement shoot is purely an optional added photo shoot just to get some nice pictures for you, and for some it’s simply not something they offer at all. This is mostly just to do with the photographer’s own style and whether they feel engagement shoots help them to get the best out of the couple on the wedding day. There’s no right or wrong choice on engagement shoots, but if it’s something that’s important to you then it’s worth speaking to the photographer and seeing whether it can be included in your package or not.
Trash the Dress – Another additional shoot that some photographers occasionally include in their packages is a Trash The Dress shoot. This is a shoot that takes place after the wedding day itself and is basically a chance to give your dress a bit of a send-off by letting it get a little bit messy during a fashion-style photo shoot. Trash the dress shoots were particularly on-trend a couple of years ago and at the moment this isn’t often included in the packages but again is something you can ask about or perhaps even trade an engagement shoot for if it really appeals to you.
USB / DVD / Downloads – Different photographers have different ways of presenting the final images to you with some offering physical products like DVD’s or USB sticks and others offering download only. For some having that physical product is really important – a nice keepsake from your day, for others though it’s all about the convenience of just downloading the images or keeping them in “the cloud” so that they remain accessible as the technology changes over the years – again it’s entirely up to you but if it’s important to you make sure it’s something that’s included in the package.
Print License – Unless specifically agreed beforehand then copyright for your wedding photographs generally resides with the photographer, meaning that you are not allowed to alter the image or use it in any publications etc. without the express permission of the photographer. Most (although by no means all) will however include a print license within the package so that you can print out the images yourself without having to ask the photographer each time or paying an additional fee for them to print the images for you. For many Wedding photographers the copyright is only important so that they can share their images with potential clients and are usually fairly happy for you to use the images as you wish, but this isn’t always the case so do make sure you’re able to use the images in the way you would like to before signing the contract.
Travel – Make sure that if your photographer is travelling a long distance or even staying locally overnight that you have discussed travel costs before going ahead with the booking. Sometimes these costs will already be included in the initially quoted price but often there may be an extra charge depending on the distance travelled.
These are just some of the most commonly offered services but photographers may offer all kinds of additional services to make their packages more attractive. The photographs themselves are of course the most important thing but understanding these packages fully is another step on the road to finding the perfect wedding photographer for you.