Dear Future Brides & Grooms,

I know the question about where to cut costs frequently comes up in all of the planning groups (and by frequently, I mean every. single. day...). I constantly see the "looking for a photographer that doesn't cost and arm and a leg" and "looking for a photographer who won't break the bank" posts, as well as the comments from others saying to find a newer/less experienced photographer to cut costs.

While I’m glad that route worked for them, as a wedding photographer, I am here to ask (maybe even beg) that you PLEASE consider a few things before going with the “cheaper/budget-friendly” option for a wedding photographer.

I’ve read TOO MANY horror stories from brides in groups on facebook who went the cheaper route for their wedding photography and now deeply regret it because the “professional” photos they received from one of the happiest days of their lives turned out to be blurry, blown out, or unusable. Heck, some couples never have their photos delivered at all, and are now left with only cellphone photos of their magical day.


Mother-Son dance at The White Barn at Lucas Farms in Oakland, MD

Some couples don’t think twice about spending $10,000+ for a venue they’ll use for a weekend, a wedding dress they’ll wear a handful of times, or the food their guests will literally shit out the next morning, but don’t want to invest that same kind of money into hiring a professional wedding photographer.

Your wedding photos are something you can invest in to have and enjoy for the rest of your life - no one is going to remember the food they ate that night 20 years from now, but your wedding photos will be there to help you and your loved ones reminisce on moments and loved ones who are no longer with us.

Couple share private vows and first touch at The White Barn at Lucas Farms in Oakland, MD

Your wedding photos are going to be one of the ONLY tangible pieces of your wedding day that you are going to have once it’s all over.

I mean think about it for a minute.

You, your fiancé, and your loved ones are all going to be able to look back and enjoy your wedding photos for DECADES. The photos from your wedding day may even serve as family heirlooms GENERATIONS from now.

Bride shares first look with bridesmaids at The White Barn at Lucas Farms in Oakland, MD

On top of that, your wedding photographer will be spending more time with you than any of your other vendors will - before, on, and after your wedding day.

Things like pre-booking meetings, keeping up a good line of communication with you, engagement session planning, traveling to and capturing your engagement session, day-of photography timeline building, driving to/from and being your private paparazzi the day of your wedding, hours spent backing-up, editing, and uploading photos, product delivery... That is all just SOME of the workflow that we wedding photographers follow.

That doesn't even include the ACTUAL COST of everything needed for photographers, either. Every year we spend thousands of dollars in gear, hundreds on storage for photos, hundreds on a good website and domain, and hundreds in subscription costs for editing programs and image backup systems.

So much time, effort, and money go into being a client-oriented wedding photographer - it can be WEEKS worth for some. Especially when the photographer believes in providing an experience, not just a service!

Couple share a private dance at The White Barn at Lucas Farms in Oakland, MD

And while yes, it's possible to find plenty of “budget” photographers in any area, I highly recommend looking for those who are actually running legal, tax-paying businesses because they will have contracts and policies in place to help LEGALLY PROTECT both you and them in case anything unfortunate were to happen.

One of the clauses found in my own contract is that if I were to become ill or injured and be unable to perform my contracted duties for a wedding, I will hire another professional photographer and send them to capture the wedding in my place. (I’d still be the one editing and delivering the images, just not capturing them.)

If you aren’t investing in a professional, you also aren’t investing in that extra kind of extra security and peace of mind - which is something every couple deserves to have on their wedding day.

Couple pose at The White Barn at Lucas Farms in Oakland, MD

So, all of that is to make these points:

  • Make sure you DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!
  • Make sure they are running a legal business so you are protected (google “*their state* business registry” & find them)
  • Make sure they have decent contracts in place
  • Make sure they have contingency plans for emergencies included in those contracts
  • Make sure you review their portfolio of work for real wedding days and like what you see
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for references from previous couples they’ve worked with, especially if you don’t see any reviews from them

If they’re a true professional they will have no issues with you asking for proof of any of these things before you book with them.

To anyone who actually read all of this - you’re so awesome and I hope I’ve given you some new things to consider while you’re on the hunt for the perfect wedding vendors.

TLDR: You’ll get what you pay for. Food is a tangible investment that lasts a few hours - photos are a tangible investment that can last forever.

Invest in a professional wedding photography experience, not buyers' regret!

Couple pose lakeside at The White Barn at Lucas Farms in Oakland, MD

Hey Homie, I'm Aireal.

Meet the West Virginia Wedding Photographer

I'm focusing in to capture souls who are wildly in love & searching for a fun, passionate, laughter-filled photography experience for their wedding and elopement day.
By capturing photojournalistic, candid, and posed images throughout the day, you'll be sure to have a wide variety of images that illustrate your wedding day and love story.
Inclusivity & representation matter. I am an LGBTQIA+ Wedding Photographer in West Virginia. Same-sex & non-binary couples are always welcome in front of my lens.