Hey Lifehacker, We're getting married soon, and are in the process of trying to find a photographer. Part of the problem is that we're overseas at the moment, which means we're restricted to communicating with photographers online. Are quote comparison sites like serviceseeking.com.au and photoportal.com.au worth the time? They sound convenient, but I don't want to pay for something that doesn't deliver results! Thanks, Bride-To-Be
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s latest data, the average wedding in Australia costs $36,200. With that kind of money being thrown around, you definitely want to capture the festivities for future posterity!
While it might be tempting to ask a friend or family member who happens to be a handy with a camera, this is usually a bad idea. Even if you pay them handsomely, you're still essentially asking them to be a hired hand on your special day, which may cause offense. Plus, they will be more likely to shirk their responsibilities once the food and liquor start flowing.
Comparison sites are a handy starting point, but you obviously need to do some additional research on top of this -- insist on references, examples of their photography and clearly tabled quotes before making any decisions.
As with most things in life, the price you pay tends to be intrinsically linked to the quality of the service. If money's tight, you're probably better off choosing an entry-level package from an established photographer than getting the full works done by an unproven newcomer.
Conferring from overseas shouldn't be a problem in today's digital age; most photographers will be more than happy to exchange comprehensive emails with potential clients. (In fact, you don't really need to meet face-to-face until the wedding rehearsal.)
Probably the most important thing to consider when choosing a photographer is the time and location of your wedding. Ask the photographer to send through some photos of similar jobs they've done; be it inside a church, on the beach or wherever the ceremony is set to take place.
If possible, also get them to show examples that took place at a similar time of day and during the same season as your own wedding. Some photographers are more adept at capturing photos in faltering light, for example. This will give you a much better idea of what your own photos are likely to look like.
On a final note, I'd personally skimp on premium "add-on" services such as canvas prints and video. You're going to have stacks of photos and videos from the guests in attendance which will be better suited to sharing on social media. When it comes to the professional stuff, all you really need is a single photo album that will be your primary memento.
If any readers have additional tips of their own to share, let BTB know in the comments section below.
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