Ask The Expert: Photographer Queries

International photojournalist Ian MacMichael is giving our brides direct access to expert opinions on all questions about wedding photography! In the last of the series, The Wedding Vine are honoured to have learnt so much from the best of the best.

Anne-Marie asks: How long typically does the photographer stay at a wedding? Is it worth paying extra for them to stay later?

This is a good question and should be discussed with your photographer when you meet up. There are almost as many ways of pricing a wedding as there are photographers! Some offer packages, some offer a menu of different choices, some charge hourly etc.

Broadly speaking, most photographers will offer a choice that will have defined start and end points. For example, most of our brides have coverage from bridal preparations through to the first dance. We do not have specific packages, preferring rather to give each couple a bespoke quote quotation depending on their specific requirements. This gives couple flexibility with what they choose rather than just being able to select from a list of only a few options. We recently had an experience that illustrates this well.  

We met up with a couple who really loved our portfolio of work. They understood the philosophy of our approach and we got on very well indeed when we met. We were discussing pricing options when they asked would we stay until 1am! I said we would and would provide a quote for up to the first dance and also a quote for the extra coverage till 1am. This was fine. They told me they had narrowed their choice to 2 photographers and we were one. I sent the quotes over and waited for their response. A few days later we received a lovely email saying they loved our work, felt we got on very well and were convinced we could offer what they needed, but they were going to book the other photographer because they had offered to stay from the first dance until 1 am for free. So we lost the booking because we wouldn't give away around 3 hours or so of time, plus the extra time that would be required on post-production. While we were disappointed to lose the booking, it did highlight an issue in the industry. That is that a lot of couples will make a decision almost solely on price rather than on the quality of the product. In my experience, this happens more to photographers than any other supplier in the wedding industry. What does it say about a business that is willing to just give away so much time at such a time? It may seem like a bargain at the time, but in the long term, may end up being anything but.

So check out the options your photographer offers and see what's included and if you need extra, then ask! The first dance and dancing is an important part of the day, especially as a lot of brides will do a second dance with their father.  As well as this, everyone is relaxed and just enjoying themselves and letting their hair down, so we always shoot the first dance and the next few songs worth. However, there are only so many images of dancing that you want or need as a bride and you wouldn't want your final collection dominated by images of dancing!


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