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A little surprised!!!

So I just started planning my own wedding, and joined The Knot. I plugged in my budget, and was really shocked to see how little they suggested paying the wedding photographer!!

I'm a wedding photographer myself, and it was really upsetting to see that for a 25k budget, only 1500 is suggested for the photographer. I mean, the photos are the one thing that live on for years and years after the wedding, and I spend most of my days helping brides get through their special day as best as I can. 

It's got me wondering though- did you take the recommendation of the knot's budget planning sheet, or did you set your own budget? I'd love to get some feedback! 

Thanks everyone!

Re: A little surprised!!!

  • edited December 2011
    That surprised us too....  but I agree - pictures are THE important part of your /our wedding!  {Minus being married and such!}  We too have a $25k budget - but we always knew we'd be spending at LEAST $3k for a photog.  We do want the best!!
  • edited December 2011
    I honestly find that a bit on the low side myself. I personally did not use a budget planning sheet where it worked off percentages like 1% for cake, 2% for floral, ect. I did a lot of comparison shopping by looking into a few different vendors for each facet of the wedding and comparing what we got for what they were charging. So our budget formed off of the going rates for those services in our area.
    "If wine is getting in the way of your work, get rid of the work."
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  • edited December 2011
    Wow that's all they suggest!!  We spent $2900 on our photographers!  I could of gotten some one else way cheaper, $1700 but decided their quality wasn't that good.  I'm lucky though that my FI left the photographer hiring to me.....I'm a photographer too so I'm super picky....I talked to at least a dozen photographers before I signed a contract with anyone.  The people I decided to go with are a bit more expensive that what my FI wanted to spend but their stuff is soooooooo good and you are paying for their talent and time and most of all QUALITY!
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  • fallbride1109fallbride1109 member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    We picked the photographer we wanted and worked it into our budget.  That being said, there are some great photographers in Dallas whose packages start at right around $1500, although that is definitely on the low end for sure here.

    Like the PP said, we concentrated more on choosing the right vendors than what percentage of our budget we spent on this or that.
  • lana2007lana2007 member
    edited December 2011
    I think "great" photographers start around 2,800. So, its all up to you on how much you value the photography over other things. You can also make up for it by doing some of the other things by yourself or have friends/family help. For example, have a relative make the cake? Create your own center pieces? Find a local garden to buy your flowers from?

    I would charge 2,800 for a wedding in the US, which is cheap, becuase I am more interested in going back to the US for weddings than shooting here in Chile, even though the US would be a "destination" wedding for me.

    Good luck!

    With love from Chile... I blog. Check it out here: www.lanarenee.com
  • PeacefieldPeacefield member
    edited December 2011
    I'm a photographer, too (though amateur and certainly not weddings) so I knew pictures were going to be important to me.  We had a budget, but we didn't work off of any formulas or Knot recommendations.  We just went out, saw what was available, gathered prices and made individual decisions.  I don't need an exoctic dress and we think we're going to dispense with limos so we'll save some money there.  We think we want a band instead of a DJ and we know photography is important to us so we spent more there.

    In my area, $1500 gets you a CraigsList photographer and probably no albums.  So I guess that number is achievable, but it comes with risk and concessions.
  • edited December 2011
    Wow....We spent 3K on our photographer but I know it will be worth every penny! 
  • drphotodrphoto member
    edited December 2011
    Warning: massive generalizations follow, your mileage will vary. 

    In the Phoenix market, under $1,000 you'll find mom's with cameras, inadequate experience, no backup equipment, consumer lenses and consumer cameras.  Photos will likely be delivered on disk without substantive retouching.  Unless the alternative is no photos at all, let these people learn at someone else's wedding. 

    From $1,000 - $1,500 you'll start to find people that are weekend warriors  - They are earning money to support their photography habit, line the kids college account or break into the industry.  Check that they have photographed at least 20 weddings as a primary (verify it on their blog).  Make sure they have professional lenses and camera's plus professional backup equipment.  You might get an album, though you can't expect much in the way of quality.  Don't expect high levels of service or professionalism.

    From $1,500 to $2,000 you'll start to see people that might be scraping by at making a living from photography.  Start asking if the photographer carries liability insurance.  Expect someone that has a good, but, developing eye, probably has limited experience and some back up equipment.  They should have a contract and sample albums. 

    Around $2,500 you can start to expect multiple albums to be included.  Just as a reference, photographer's cost on a really high quality album can easily exceed $2,000, not including the photographers time to make the album or any profit.  Leather, lay flat pages, better bindings, acrylic covers and what not push the costs up VERY quickly.  Expect the album photos to be properly retouched and the "extra" photos to be color balanced and look pretty good. 

    In the $3,000 - $5,000 range you can expect a professional photographer, complete backup equipment, second shooters, assistants, good albums and great images. 

    In the $5,000 - $8,000 range you can expect some of the better photographers in the country.  They may not be Marcus, Yervant or Kupperberg, but, they will have a distinctive, well developed, consistent style and be professional in every respect. 

    I hate generalizations like this but it should give you an idea of what to expect.  As a ball park a professional photographer will bring $20,000 - $30,000 of delicate equipment to your wedding.  It's impossible to pay for that equipment and eat on $1,500 weddings.  Nothing wrong with finding a bargain, but, don't expect caviar on a beer budget.

    Corey Schwartz
    Desert Ridge Photography
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