eclectic outdoor wedding ceremony at El Chorro in Phoenix
If you're an engaged couple, booking your wedding photography is probably a unique experience for you. Not only will your wedding be a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, but this may the only time you hire a professional photographer for a major event. When you combine the fact that it's a brand new experience with the pressure to get everything just right, it's understandable that figuring out your wedding photography needs might feel a little daunting.

In a previous post, I shared some suggestions for how to choose your wedding photographer, but I know that the choices and confusion don't stop there. Once you've found a great photographer, you have to choose your photography package. If you're struggling with figuring out which wedding photography package is right for you, I'm here to help! Here are a few tips to (hopefully) make your decision a little easier:

1. Discuss your priorities with your fiancé.
Talk about what you NEED to walk away from your wedding with. For an increasing percentage of the couples I serve, the digital files of their images (with printing rights) is up at the top of that list, but I have other clients for whom that isn’t a priority. For some, having a wedding album — a tangible, beautifully crafted volume telling the story of their day — is the most important thing to take away from their wedding photography. Discuss this with your fiancé so that you share the same goals as you choose your photography package.

2. Get clear on what’s included in your photographer's packages.
Most photographers are independent small business owners who have created their photography packages based on their own and their clients’ preferences. As I mentioned in my post, "How Much Does Wedding Photography Cost," that can make things a little confusing, because there simple ISN’T a “standard, basic package” that all wedding photographers will offer. So don’t assume! Take a close look at the packages YOUR photographer is offering to be sure you understand what is included.

3. Find out if you can customize.
While most wedding photographers offer packages to their clients, many are willing to modify those packages to be sure that the package you book is the best fit for you. Ask your photographer if their offerings can be tailored to your needs, and whether there are any penalties or incentives for doing so. For example, I make my packages very easy to customize by keeping all of the components at their à la carte pricing EXCEPT for the engagement shoot. I feel so strongly about connecting with my clients during their engagement shoot that it is the one component I sharply discount when it is in a wedding photography package. That's how I incentivize my clients to keep that pre-wedding photo session in their package.

4. Touch and feel the options.
When it comes to physical products like albums, most clients don't really know what possibilities even exist until they meet with their photographer and see for themselves. So if at all possible, get your hands on your photographer's sample albums in order to truly understand what they're like. For example, I offer albums from two different companies and photo books from a third. In person, the differences between those options are so clear, and my clients are immediately able to identify which album is right for them!

5. Interrogate your budget.
The wedding budget is an important consideration, and I would never recommend that a couple discard theirs! But over the years I've learned that many couples' initial budget is divided up in a fairly arbitrary way ... especially if they decide on those divisions BEFORE they really start researching and planning their wedding. So once you know more about your options and have your priorities set, it's a good idea to take a hard look at your budget and see if it reflects those priorities. You might find that there's wiggle room to shift funds from one area of the budget to another, allowing you to choose the photography package that will really make you happy.

Your wedding day will be a fleeting whirlwind of people and excitement. When that whirlwind is over, your relationship and your wedding photos will be the only things that truly remain. Your photos will be the single, tangible way to preserve your precious memories of that day. So I hope that you find these tips helpful as you decide on a wedding photography package that will really help you feel good about the decision you've made!
-----------> As you plan your wedding, it's a great idea to start thinking about the timeline of your day early on! If you would like to have a timeline to start from, click here to take a quick 2-question quiz, and we will email you back with an ideal preliminary timeline based on the sunset time on your wedding day as well as whether or not you would like to do a first look!
An ideal wedding day timeline to help you start planning!
5 tips to help you choose the photography package that's right for your wedding
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