March 17, 2009

Wedding Photographers - or, Another Means of Impoverishing a Bride

There are details of the whole wedding planning shennanigan that I really thought I could avoid.  Like photographers.  And centerpieces.  And DJs.  And all of that other fluff that just adds up and ends up contributing to the fact that the average cost of a U.S. wedding is $29k.  Which makes me want to vomit in disgust.

However, the more I start to sink into the process, the more I realize that sometimes its just easier to hire a professional, rather than try and worry about all of the details yourself.  

Much of my day today - amidst coughing up a phlegmy lung, blowing my nose every two seconds, and generally scaring off all coworkers within a 100 foot radius - was spent pondering what a professional wedding photographer could bring to The Big Day.  
My conclusion:  quite a lot.  

Then I started looking at pricing, and my already muddled brain verged on an implosion of catastrophic proportions.  

The cheapity cheapy cheapest wedding package I found was $899.  The average?  Probably between $3k-5k.  Well.  That throws a wrench in my plans.

Pros:  You don't have to worry about whether your guests are too tipsy to hold a camera straight and get a decent photo.  You don't have to worry about whether you're going to look back and which you had someone there who could capture that stolen kiss at the perfect moment at the reception.  You're assured (hopefully) of excellent quality photos.  And a whole slew to choose from.

Cons:  Everyone has a camera nowadays.  A lot of people have really NICE cameras nowadays.  Do you really want a creepy stalker photographer getting up in everyone's grill and snap snap snapping away on your special day?  Are a few high quality photos worth more than an extra week (or two!) of honeymooning?  

I'd love to hear your thoughts:  

Hiring a professional wedding photographer - yay or nay?

And, if your answer is yay, any recommendations for the New Jersey area?

{Photo by Our Labor of Love via their blog}


Anonymous said...

yay. hire the photog. But also get pics from friends. We put disposables on each table and definitely got everyone that way. I put a photo of each guest/couple from that batch in their thank you notes. People loved that!

A good friend of mine had an amazing photographer for her wedding. I'll get the name and send to you.

So exciting!!

Karen Lisa said...

I know I'm a wedding photographer, so I'm pretty biased, but as a fairly recent in the past few years bride, I'll give you my take on the whole thing.

Yes. Get a wedding photographer. Whoever you choose, make sure you get along great with him or her. Someone who shoots with a photojournalistic style will not be up in your guests' face acting stalkerish!

As far as whether a few high quality photos are worth more than an extra week of honeymooning... yes. Your wedding day is going to be the one day of your life where you will never look more beautiful than you are on that day. I wish I had not allowed my parents to cheap out on photography because I only have one decent portrait of myself and my husband on our wedding day, and that makes me terribly sad.

Friends with "nice cameras" do not have the experience or know how to create captivating images of your special day, no matter how nice their camera is. Please find a professional, somewhere, who will create images of you being your beautiful selves on one of the most amazing day of your lives. You don't want to look back on that day and regret not doing so.

James A Woods said...

My wife and I made our own decorations for our wedding, and a friend of ours handled the responsibilities of wedding planner. But when it came to photography, we hired a pro.

The benefit of having a professional wedding photog was that one person was dedicated to getting all the necessary pics of the day. Nothing was missed and no family or friends were put out by having to take pics instead of being completely in the moment.

Rebecca said...

Absolutely. Find one you like and feel comfortable with. The photos are incredibly important. I definitely wouldn't skimp in this area... I'm not married though nor am I planning on being married anytime soon, so take my advice with a grain of salt :)


TexasRed said...

I got married last year and getting a photographer was one of the important professionals for me. I loved mine (they work in the Chicago and KC area, but I can give you the name if you're interested.)

From a $ and headache-saving perspective, I'd say get a professional photographer, but make sure you get equal copyrights to the photos.

That way, you can order books from snapfish or My Publisher or whatever once the day's over and aren't locked into only having the photographer print the photos for you.

Christina Gressianu said...

Hi there - I'd happy to shoot your wedding. I'm living in Colorado, but call New Jersey home. So I wouldn't even charge for travel, and I'll come in between cheapitty-cheap and the New York Metro area average. Check out my work, send me an email, and let's talk.

Shell said...

It was definitely worth it to me to have a professional do it. I went with one that charged $1000, and it was awesome. None of my friends or family had to stress about capturing everything, and they were great!

monica said...

You may want to check out this contest for a free wedding photo/video package (worth $4,900). I have no idea if the company is any good, but you can't beat free!
Bella Pictures

Sheila said...

I think if you have a friend who takes nice pictures, ask her to do it. If not, hire a photographer. We don't take our kids to a professional studio for pics anymore...we just do them ourselves and they're just as nice. Maybe nicer, because we don't have to drag the kids out of the house and drag out the process for them.

Trina said...

My take; hire a pro, but not one that is so expensive that you have to comprimise the honeymoon... after 25 years, we dont look at our wedding pics, but we often talk fondly of our honeymoon escapades.

Stacey Snacks said...

How nice that lightheartphotography is! what a nice offer.

Make sure you hire someone artistic and professional please, but ask your mother if she remembers our wedding photographer?

He was so drunk, he forgot to put film in the camera at our ceremony and we had to reenact our walk down the aisle!!!! no lie.

The Lil Bee said...

Get a professional photographer. Just do it. I 100% understand your not wanting to throw crazy money at all the details, but if you don't have someone to capture the moment--someone who is experienced in this area--all your personalization is for nothing because it isn't captured. And you want to be able to show something to your kids and grandkids.

I used Craig Paulson and loved him. He's based in NYC so I'm sure he'll travel to Jersey. Go to for examples. I'm excited to see your wedding come together!!