My spreadsheet was hovering around 40 or so entries (thank you people who give general pricing info on your websites!), and I was ready to get more info on the couple we were extra interested in.
Photo by Adam Novak (Yet another photographer who won’t be ours, because he never replied)
And (annoying though it is), I’m starting to get why people don’t put pricing info on their website. It was very helpful to know that someone “starts at $3,500”³ because that’s out of our budget. But when (only a few) people put “Packages begin at $1,800”³ because you could have four hours of photography, it messes it up for everyone else. So just knowing a price doesn’t mean a whole lot when you don’t have a good idea of the options. Some photographers’ pricing is pretty comprehensive, so when they say the cost, it’s probably the cost for what an average wedding would require. Others give you the barest bones (Why? I’ll figure it out eventually.) and then add on all the bits and pieces. And many packages (quite reasonably) include just one or two things of the main options I found.
Here’s what I found the main options were:
- Hours of coverage: Eight is pretty normal, some offer “unlimited,” nine, or ten. Anything less seems skimpy.
- Second Shooter: Some people include one, others don’t. You may be able to get a price break by not having one, and pretty much everyone will allow you to add one on. (A common cost seemed to be $800 to add one on.)
- Album: Again, sometimes it’s included, sometimes not. Cost for an album ranged from $200 to $400 for a fairly basic album but can get much pricier if you want glass covers and lie-flat pages. (We aren’t that classy.)
- Engagement Shoot: If it isn’t included, $350 was a common price to add it on. This is one of the few things Shamrock is pretty adamant about, so its non-negotiable.
- Print Package: This was less common, but a few people (ones that did not include albums) included a print package instead. (Most have a service you can purchase prints through regardless.)
So someone who costs $2,800 might be a better deal than someone who starts at $2,000, because the $2,000 is for six hours of coverage ONLY, whereas the $2,800 photographer includes ten hours, a second shooter, an engagement shoot, and an album—and the same options on the “cheaper” photographer would probably run your bill up to $3,000. And knowing the add-on prices can be tricky.
Our requirements were at least eight hours of coverage, an engagement shoot, and an album. (Someone has to lay that sucker out, and we’d rather it not be us.) So a second shooter didn’t matter, although I sometimes asked just for comparison’s sake.
What was important to you in a photography package? Anything I’m missing?