Without a doubt wedding photography and your wedding photographer will play a huge role on capturing the emotions, colours, moments and joys on your big day.
If your wedding should be considered one of the biggest days in your life, then wedding photography should, undoubtedly, be among your priorities during your wedding planning. Needless to say, wedding photography is what will remain after the lights have been turned off and everything else has been packed away.
Admittedly, I am often guilty of forgetting the year my wife and I got married. However, I am never wrong about who was there, about what happened and how it happened. We had some of the best wedding photography our budget could afford – and many years later, we can still relive the joy and happiness everyone felt that day. One day, these photos will also pass onto our kids.
Ultimately, I believe that’s what wedding photography should be about – capturing memories for the ages.
Wedding photography explained
Without being technical, wedding photography is a branch of photography that has to do with activities relating to weddings. It often encompasses photographs taken of the couple before the wedding ceremony itself – for invitations, portrait displays, or for thank you cards, as well as coverage of the actual wedding and reception.
Not so long ago a wedding photographer was just a guy, who came around, lined up people at the church entrance, took a few snaps and disappeared even before the couple hit the dance floor. Today, it has become a massive, dynamic and highly competitive global industry that supports thousands of professional wedding photographers – as well as amateurs.
With many couples will to experiment, wedding photography techniques are now also as varied as players the industry itself. There are now wedding photographers, who try to be photojournalistic, others try to be candid and a common practice is choreographed scenes.
While many wedding photographers have moved on to digital cameras, it is not uncommon to come across photographers, who favour shooting on film for its aesthetic value.
Hiring a wedding photographer
Having explained wedding photography, you probably see now why at Wedding & Function magazine, we emphasise the importance of a good professional wedding photographer – as opposed to letting a friend take a few photos or settling for a photographer who does not specialise in weddings.
The wedding industry is full of horror stories about wedding photography. Incidents of couples who thought they were saving a few pennies off their wedding budget by having their friends do it or settling for any photographer with a fancy camera are well documented.
In the end they were disappointed and the photos – the only lasting memory from their wedding day, ruined.
At Wedding & Function magazine, we have an article about why should I hire a professional wedding photographer? So just follow the link to find out more.
Things to consider when hiring a wedding photographer
So, we managed to convince you to hire a professional wedding photographer, great! Choosing a photographer for your wedding is hardly an easy task. You will need someone with a great portfolio, experience in capturing important moments in people’s lives, and the ability to get along with the people they’re working with.
We have briefly explained some of the things you will have to consider below.
- Cost of wedding photography – as with anything else money management is important. Your wedding budget should guide you on how much you should spend on your wedding photographer. They say wedding photography should be between 10-15% of the overall wedding budget.
- Date of the wedding – goes without saying. Ensure that your wedding photographer’s diary is open on the day of your wedding to avoid being disappointed after he/she fails to pitch up.
- Style of wedding photography – as mentioned before, wedding photographers use various techniques and styles to capture wedding memories. Some are journalistic – capturing everything spontaneously while others rely on Photoshop effects for tone etc. to tell their story. Decide what you want beforehand and communicate that with your photographer.
- Personality – as a couple you should look around for a wedding photographer, who meets your personalities and will try to meet your vision and not theirs. It’s your wedding after all!
- Film vs digital wedding photography – some couples prefer the aesthetic value of images captured on film while others prefer the crisp sharpness of digital photography. Whatever you prefer, ensure that your wedding photographer understands your needs.
- Experience – if you are going to spend a good portion of your wedding budget on wedding photography, it only makes sense that you get value for money. While a budding wedding photographer might be budget-friendly, an experienced photographer will probably keep your mind at ease. Ask your photographer for their portfolio and see if they are what you are looking for. Also do not be afraid to hear what others say about the wedding photographer you plan to hire.
Where to find a wedding photographer?
Wedding & Function magazine has one of the biggest directories of wedding service providers in South Africa – including wedding photographers.
- For wedding photographers in Gauteng, click HERE;
- For wedding photographers in KwaZulu Natal, click HERE;
- For wedding photographers in Eastern Cape, click HERE;
- For wedding photographers in Western Cape, click HERE; and
- For wedding photographers on the Garden Route, click HERE.
We also recommend having a back-up plan with your wedding photography – just in case your wedding photographer falls ill on the day or suddenl
y cannot make it for one reason or the other.
What is the average price for a wedding photographer in South Africa?
That is a somewhat difficult question to answer as wedding photography costs often depend on location, experience and what is included in the wedding package.
For example, top wedding photographers in big cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban will probably charge more than wedding photographers in small cities and towns like East London, Port Elizabeth and George.
The more experience they have in the wedding industry, the likelihood that they will charge a premium.
Nowadays, wedding photographers use drones and other tools to capture moments at the wedding. The more the elements included in the wedding package, the higher the overall wedding photography bill.
Beginner photographers can charge anywhere up to around R5 000 in South Africa while experienced professionals can set you back from around R8 000 to around R20 000. Top-end wedding photographers can charge upwards of R30 000 – actually, wedding photography bills upwards of R80 000 are not unheard of.
Negotiating wedding photography prices
It’s a common question – should you negotiate with your wedding photographer? Fortunately, it’s common practice for a lot of brides and grooms to bargain with their wedding photographers.
Recognising this, wedding photographers also tend to create ‘custom wedding photography packages’ to help their clients, who might be on a tight budget and looking for affordability.
Still as a word of advice, it is considered rude to try and impose a fee that you think your photographer should be charging.
***A tip: If you find a top-notch wedding photographer whose rates you cannot afford in one go, you can try and tell them that their prices are bit above your budget. You then try to persuade them to work out a payment plan for you – so you still pay the full amount, but over time.
Otherwise try to negotiate a discount or book the photographer for a few hours.
Haggling with a wedding photographer
Yes, you may still haggle with the wedding photographer. The Knot says a vendor may be willing to negotiate as long as you agree to compromise something on your end. For example, a wedding photographer might agree to give you an extra hour of shooting, but only if you have them take your engagement photos. Read their tips on haggling with vendors and wedding suppliers.
Other tips from Hitched include:
- Ask the photographer if it’s possible to let him have 1-2 hours off while you eat and add that time on at the end.
- Ask him if you feed him a good meal would he stay longer [the meal maybe cheaper than the extra time and he may be grateful!]
- Ask him if you can pay in instalments, so that way it doesn’t feel like a huge amount and you may be able to save a little extra to cover the extra time you’d like.
- Ask someone else to add a bit of money to it in the form of a present so you can have the coverage you’d like.
- Ask if he offers a wedding photography gift list service so lots of guests can pay little chunks off the total cost.
- Ask him if he can discount the disc if you choose a limited number of images, not all of them.
The wedding photography contract
After everything has been said and negotiated, it is important that you get the agreement for wedding photography services in writing – the contract.
The contract will ensure that your wedding photographer fulfils what he / she promised, thus giving you a peace of mind. However, it also helps the wedding photographer recover costs etc should you cancel or postpone at the last minute.
It is important that both parties understand the contract before signing. Should a couple feel unsure about the terms on the contract, it’s always a good idea to ask a trusted third party – and even bring them along to the contract negotiation so that they may ask the difficult questions that the couple might not feel comfortable asking their wedding photographer.
Wedding photography is one of those elements of your wedding that you cannot afford to overlook. Your wedding photos will remain the only tangible reminder of the day, years after the event itself.
Picking a photographer for your wedding day is hardly an easy task. The wedding photography industry is highly competitive, as a couple you will have to decide on a photographer who meets, among other things, your wedding budget, your vision and your personalities.
It’s still allowed to negotiate the wedding photography contract as long as it is done without making your chosen photographer feel like you are undervaluing their work.
After everything has been agreed on, it is always a good idea that you have a wedding photography contract, which will protect both parties and will clearly outline all the expectations.
If you need wedding photography in South Africa, Wedding & Function magazine has one of the biggest wedding suppliers directory in South Africa. It includes wedding photographers in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, George, Durban, Port Elizabeth.