Watching the groom leave for the church
Watching the groom leave for the church photographed by John Arcara Photography

The Planner says:

DON’T SCRIMP ON THE PHOTOGRAPHER!  If you look at wedding websites such as TheKnot or Wedding Wire you’ll see that on average 10% of your overall budget is allocated to photography AND videography.  Depending on your budget that may or may not be enough.

PLANNING NOTE:  The photos from your wedding are the only lasting impression you’re going to have of this most momentous occasion.  Your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will look at these photos for years to come.  If you have an album it will become part of your family history.  You don’t want the photos to look as if you took them yourself.

Dad trying to keep it together
Dad trying to keep it together

Do your research, check online reviews, get references, and listen to referrals unless they start with “my cousin had her sister’s friend from high school who wants to be a photographer take her wedding photos.”   Take a look at the photos on the ATB website.  They all all have photographer credit and hot links to their websites for easy reference.  PLANNING NOTE:  Narrow your choices down to your top three and then take the time to have an in person consultation with each after you check availability.  Look at their sample albums.  Make sure you get the shooter who took the photos in the album(s) you like.  Sometimes studios have multiple photographers so check to see that your contract specifically lists the photographer you want by name.  In my professional opinion a minimum of two shooters is essential.  One person, even with multiple cameras, can’t be in two places at once.  If you need to keep costs down find a photographer who will give you a CD with all high-resolution images AND permission to use them.  You can always order a professional album later when you can afford it.

A true first look.
A true first look.

Keep in mind your photographer is going to be with you ALL day from the time the you’re both getting ready through cutting the cake and maybe the last dance.  In addition to taking fabulous photos they have to have a personality you can live with for eight or more hours.  Also remember it’s YOUR day.  Your photographer should work WITH you on your timeline, not against you.  Do make sure that you’ve allocated enough time for all the photos you want taken.  If your ceremony is at the same location as the reception you might consider seeing each other before the ceremony or else you’re probably going to miss your entire cocktail hour.  If your ceremony is offsite and you have hours between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of cocktail hour then your photographer should have plenty of time for photographs without seeing each other before hand.

Spend the money to get the right photographer for you.  There are other places to save money.  Photography is not one of them.

Not every photo has to be serious.  It's YOUR day.  Have some fun!
Not every photo has to be serious. It’s YOUR day. Have some fun!

The Mother of the Bride says:

I knew this was going to be one of the more expensive components of the wedding and it was.   Alison and Austen went to the ATB website and checked out the photographers there.   They also did their own online research.  They narrowed down their selections and after much discussion the husband and wife team of John and Lovina Arcara of John Arcara Photography was chosen.  Austen does not like to have his picture taken was against lots of posed photos.  He agreed to suck it up for the group family photos (his and ours) which I promised would be quick.  While I hoped for a 60 degree day with no precipitation we all expected it to be cold outside.  No one wanted to be out there longer than necessary.  He wanted more spontaneous shots (aka photojournalism) and he surely got them.  With no exaggeration I think there were 100 pictures of just the two of them in various locations around Asbury Park.

We did go over the 10% allocation (with 1 hr of OT it was about 13% and that’s without video which will be another post).  We paid a premium for the holiday which was to be expected.  It was New Year’s Eve after all.  I feel that we did get value for our investment that included a box full of proofs and a CD with all the hi-res images.  Alison and Austen got an album with about 100 photos (which is gorgeous) and my husband and I get our own album with 50 photos (that I’ve yet to choose).

Alison and Austen.   Just one of about 100 portraits of the bride and groom. Photo courtesy of John Arcara Photography
Just one of about 100 portraits of the bride and groom taken in various locations throughout Asbury Park. Photo courtesy of John Arcara Photography