Are You My Photographer? Part II: Apples to Oranges (to albums to assistants)

My photographer saga continues, as the photographer we liked-and-emailed-back-quickly turned out to be booked for our date already (the nerve!).

My spreadsheet was hovering around 40 or so entries (thank you people who give general pricing info on their website!) and I was ready to get more info on the couple we were extra-interested in.

Megan-and-Joel1c8

(Yet another photographer who won’t be ours, because he never replied) Photo by Adam Novak

And (annoying though it is), I’m starting to get why people don’t put pricing info on their website. It was very helpful to know that someone “starts at $3500” because that’s out of our budget. But when (only a few) people put “Packages begin at $1800” because you could have 4 hours of photography, it messes it up for everyone else. So just knowing a price doesn’t mean a whole lot when you don’t have a good idea of the options. Some photographers pricing is pretty comprehensive, so when they say the cost, its probably the cost for what an average wedding would require. Others give you the barest-bones (why? I’ll figure it out eventually.) and then add on all the bits and pieces. And many packages (quite reasonably) include just one or two things of the main options I found.

Here’s what I found the main options were:

  • Hours of coverage: 8 is pretty normal, some offer “unlimited”, 9 or 10. Anything less seems skimpy.
  • Second Shooter: Some people include one, others don’t. You may be able to get a price break by not having one, and pretty much everyone will allow you to add one on (a common cost seemed to be $800 to add one on)
  • Album: Again, sometimes its included, sometimes not. Cost for an album ranged from $200 to $400 for a fairly basic album but can get much pricier if you want glass covers and lay flat pages (we aren’t that classy)
  • Engagement Shoot: If it isn’t included, $350 was a common price to add it on. This is one of the few things Shamrock is pretty adamant about, so its non-negotiable.
  • Print Package: This was less common, but a few people (ones that did not include albums) included a print package instead (most have a service you can purchase prints through regardless)

So someone who costs $2800 might be a better deal than someone who starts at $2000, because the $2000 is 6 hours of coverage ONLY, whereas the $2800 photographer includes 10 hours, a second shooter, an engagement shoot and an album–and the same options on the “cheaper” photographer would probably run your bill up to $3000. And knowing the add-on prices can be tricky.

Our requirements were at least 8 hours of coverage, an engagement shoot and an album (someone has to lay that sucker out, and we’d rather it not be us). So a second shooter didn’t matter, although I sometimes asked just for comparisons sake.

What was important to you in a photography package? Anything I’m missing?

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2 thoughts on “Are You My Photographer? Part II: Apples to Oranges (to albums to assistants)

  1. Pingback: Are you my photographer? Part III: What to ask | Mary Marry Mike

  2. Pingback: Budget ESP | Mary Marry Mike

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