I get a lot of questions on our photographers. When a bride books us, we send them our recommended photographer list. This list has all the photographers that we work with on a regular basis...the ones we know that will show up and do the best job possible for our clients. I'm not going to lie, there are photographers around these parts I would NOT want to photographer my daughter's wedding and to me, that is the number one reason they are not on my list. If I wouldn't feel comfortable using them for my own personal use, I'm not going to recommend them to my clients. This does not mean that I force my clients to choose one of the photographers from our list. I would never dictate to a bride who she must or must not use. A photographer is very much like a wedding dress...would you choose a wedding planner who told you what you have to wear to your wedding? Absolutely not. It's a very personal choice.
So when a bride chooses a photographer that is not on our list, I would never say "no, no, no, don't use them!". There are many reasons why I wouldn't step in say this. A few:
- photographers all have their own style. There may be something about that photographers style that appeals to the bride and who am I to say a style is unappealing? My favorite color is green but I don't expect everyone to have the same favorite color.
- budget....a bride may simply want to find the best bang for her buck and many photographers offer better pricing then some on our list
- I can stand to learn something from photographers that I haven't worked with before. They may not be on my list simply because I've never worked with them in the past. You don't get on the list until you've earned a place there.
That doesn't mean I'll always keep my mouth shut. We did have a wedding this past fall where the bride found and booked a photographer I had never heard of on her own. A friend of a friend had recommended them and I told the bride, I'm sorry, I can't offer an opinion on it because I've never heard of her before but if you want to book her, that's no problem with me. And guess what? The photographer didn't show up. I know, right?! I was freaking out for the bride but she took it all in stride and thankfully had her aunt there to capture everything for her (the aunt was a pro back home that the bride wanted to capture candids, she didn't want her aunt to "work" at the wedding but given the circumstances, she was happy to step up to the plate). So if a bride ever told me they were going to hire this particular photographer, you can be sure I'll share this story with her. And even then I wouldn't say "don't use her" but instead "just be cautious". Again, it's YOUR wedding day. I'm not here to dictate how things are to be done.
But as for the actual list...lots of people ask me "what's the difference between the $225 photographer and the $600 photographer?" and here is the answer:
For the photography, there are a few different ways to explain the price difference. The lower priced Simple Island Photography is a team of amateur photographers. This is a great option for someone that wants "a few nice photos but doesn't want to spend a lot". They all have professional quality equipment but many of them do not do photography full time. They are amateurs that enjoy photography as a hobby and can offer less expensive services for a few reasons (they are not fully licensed or insured, they do not have their own website, they do not offer post-wedding services such as album building, adding the photos to a website or heavy editing of your images). Most professional photographers will spend 2 hours editing per every 1 hour of shooting. The lower priced options do very light editing and probably only spend 30 minutes on editing (removing photos where you are blinking or doing a little color correction).
The professional photographers charge a lot more because this is a full time business for them and they carry a lot more overhead than the amateur photographers (they are licensed, they spend money on continuing education, they often have studios, their equipment is more expensive, etc). They offer a lot of post-wedding support and assistance with creating and ordering albums, prints, etc. They will present you with a professionally edited CD of your images where the amateurs just burn the images to a CD from Office Max. They are more versed with their cameras and many have their own style and editing processes unique to themselves.
As you look through the different photographers websites, you'll gain a sense of the difference between each photographers work and craftsmanship. I have clients tell me that the photography is the most important element of their wedding day and that is what they want to put most of their budget toward - I also have clients tell me that they just want a few nice photos and don't want to spend a lot - some even ask if we can just take a few pictures with their own camera and not get a photographer at all (the answer is yes). So we like to offer our clients a wide range of services which includes a wide range of prices & skill sets.
I hope this post helps couples navigate through the waters of wedding photography!
EDIT: There is a comment in the comment section that you can fly your own photographer down as well and YES! That is a great option as well (if it's in your budget to do so). I love working with off island photographers that the bride & groom have brought with them. They offer a fresh perspective on the wedding and I love looking at the pictures afterward. You can often find someone to do your engagement session at home and most of the time, as long as you cover their travel expenses, they'll shoot the wedding for free (NOT always! I just know that's happened a few times in the past).