"I've just started to look into booking a photographer for my wedding and WHOA! Why is there such a vast difference in price?"
-The price you see listed on a photographer's website is usually based on two different characteristics:
One of the great (but also frustrating) things about the world of photography is that there are no real guidelines or requirements for being a "professional." Basically, if someone has a camera and a website, they can call themselves a pro :)
Newer photographers, who have just started to shoot weddings for clients (rather than friends and family members) tend to price themselves on the lower end of the spectrum. There's nothing wrong with that, but realize that if you book a newer photographer, their lack of experience might show in different ways; managing the schedule of the day, dealing with difficult lighting situations, story-telling ability, overall style and artistry, etc.
Most professional photographers, who have been in business for several years in Arizona price themselves between $3000-$5000 for a full day of coverage.
Since modern digital cameras have advanced so quickly in the last few years, most of us have made the digital switch. However, there are some really wonderful artists in Arizona who have chosen to use film cameras. These artists believe there is a big difference in the images they can achieve using this medium. Film rolls cost significantly more per shot than digital images (which are basically free). So expect to see some added cost built into the price of your wedding photographer's collections if they use film.
"Do I really need all that coverage on the wedding day? I don't think I need that much coverage for getting ready stuff."
- Put simply, yes! Most of the crazy-beautiful bridal portraits I take are actually done during the "getting ready" shots. That's when make-up and hair are the freshest, and you're inside, so you haven't started to sweat :) I usually tell my brides and grooms that I'd much rather have more time with them pre-ceremony than at the reception.
Once everybody starts to have a good time at the reception, the shots tend to look the same. Unless you're planning a big firework show to cap off the night, or a sparkler send-off, use a majority of your coverage time BEFORE you say "I do!"
"Should we do a "first look? I really want a shot of my husband seeing me for the first time when I walk down the aisle."
I love the idea of a first look or a "reveal" where your fiancé sees you, alone, before the ceremony. Not only does it help with the photo schedule (if you have your ceremony scheduled later in the day) but it really makes for such a beautiful memory.
It's a wonderful thing to look back on a photo of that moment, when the only thing your photographer is focusing on is you and your wife/hubby - to be. During the ceremony, lots of different little moments are happening all at once. And a great photographer will capture all of them, but I like the simple beauty of those first look captures.
As an added bonus, seeing each other before the ceremony really calms those wedding-day jitters. Once you see each other, you can relax and remember that while the "production" of a wedding can be stressful, it's really just the two of you, looking fabulous, making some promises, and having a party!
"Do I really need to hire a planner? My mom/aunt/bestfriend/cousin is really good at planning and they've offered to help."
Hire a professional. Even if it's only for the day of. Your mom might be a wonderful event coordinator or a real attention-to-details lady, but is that really what you want her doing on your wedding day?
Your friends and family need to be able to enjoy their own special role on the big day, they shouldn't be running around checking to make sure all the vendors are on time, the reception set up is happening when it's supposed to, the guestbook is in the right place, dinner is being served at the right time, etc.
Give your family and friends (and yourself!) the gift of a pro. You'll be sooooo glad you did!