Wedding Photography budgets for Oregon: What should I plan to spend?

Wedding Rings displayed on a flower.

Wedding Photography in Oregon: How much should I budget for?

How much should I budget for wedding photography?

Creating a wedding budget is a very important, and very stressful, step in the wedding planning process. It can also be extremely difficult because there is such a range of prices for wedding services. In no service is this truer than wedding photography. Depending on where you live, wedding photography can start anywhere from $300 to $10,000! So what should you budget for your wedding photography? This is a question that only you can answer, but I hope this guide will help you either choose a budget, or if you have already chosen a budget to know what to expect from a photographer in your budget.

*Oregon Wedding budgets – This guide is geared toward Oregon couples, but the general guidelines can be applied to any area. Price ranges will be different*

Photography Budget: Under $1000

This is a small budget for Oregon. The key to working in this price-range is knowing that the quality of the photographer you will get for this price is poor to moderate. The further under $1000 you go the less likely you will be able to get a professional photographer for that price. A photographer in this range is most likely an amateur, beginner/student, or a part time photographer (meaning they have a job other than photography). If you are looking for professional quality photography, be cautious of photographers in this budget range. Many times they will try and entice you with offers of “all day photography and get all the photos on CD for $600!” What they are really saying is something like: ” I only do this for extra money, I have no insurance, I am not registered as a business, and if something goes wrong you are basically S.O.L.” This isn’t every photographer in this category, but be sure to ask about insurance and if they are a registered business. It is absolutely ok to ask for a federal EIN (employer identification number) and state registry number. If you ask, businesses are required to give this information to you and it is public record to look up the information on the business, so do your homework. You can also check out if the person/business has any complaints with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). If your budget is in this area then wedding photography is not one of your top priorities (which is ok, photography is not everyone’s top priority!) and you may want to look into photography students or young companies looking to build a portfolio.

Note on Craig’s List: Many times couples in this budget range will post on Craig’s list looking for less expensive photographers. Be careful when receiving responses to see a portfolio or know that you are taking a risk when you go with someone without a portfolio. You get what you pay for!

Photography Budget: $1000 – $3000

This is a good, mid-range budget which will allow you to hire a high quality photographer and receive a good number of pictures. You can get digital copies of pictures in this price range, or you will most likely receive a print credit if a CD is not included. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this range in Oregon so you can expect to hire a professional wedding photographer with a budget in this range. This budget infers you believe photos of your wedding are an investment in your memories. With so many choices within this budget range, it can be difficult to choose. I recommend our article Finding Your Perfect Photographer if you are having trouble choosing.

Photography Budget: Over $3000

This is a high budget, inferring you consider your wedding photography one of your top priorities. You will be able to hire an excellent photographer and build a package to suit your desires. You can expect some sort of digital files, whether that is a high resolution CD or a DVD slide show, in this price range. Also an album is most likely to be included at this price point. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this price range in Oregon, so finding a photographer in this price range should not be too difficult.

 

If you haven’t set a wedding photography budget yet, I hope this is helpful information which will help you decide which budget range you want to be in. If you have set your wedding photography budget, I hope this information helps clarify what to expect from a photographer in your budget range.

Bridal Shows: 5 Tips for couples

Wedding photography book for Photos By Orion at the Oregon Wedding Showcase

Our both at the Oregon Wedding Showcase in January

Photos By Orion has been in many wedding shows and events, including the Oregon Wedding Showcase, for many years now. Over the years I have developed some tips for couples who are going to a bridal show about how to get the most out of your trip. While these tips are geared toward couples who are just starting their wedding planning, most of the tips will apply to couples in any stage of planning. Also, while the examples are mainly for photography, the concepts can be applied to any wedding vendor.

I hope these tips will aide in your wedding planning!

  1. Research – It is always good to do your homework, and a bridal show is no different. About a week before the show, you will want to check out the show’s website and see what types of vendors will be at the show. You also will want to sit down together and decide how much you of your wedding you will want to do yourselves and what you want to trust to the professionals. Keep notes and make a list of the professionals you are looking to hire. Then prioritize your top three types of vendors you want to visit at the show. This will give you a good road-map for traveling through the show.
  2. Bring a notebook and Address labels – When you go to the show, be sure to take your notes and some extra paper to take more notes as you go through the show. Take notes on elements you like or don’t like (for example: I like black and white photos, I don’t like pictures of the bridal party jumping, etc.) as you walk through the show. Also, have address labels printed out before the show that have your name, phone number, email, and wedding date on them. This will help you sign up at booths quickly and save your hand from cramping!
  3. Walk before you talk – You will want to make a round through the whole show before you stop to talk to any vendors. During this walk through, take your notes, get some good ideas about your likes and dislikes, and make notes on which vendors look interesting and which don’t. Many shows will give you a map or list of the booths when you register, which gives you a really good way to mark booths to visit or booths to pass by.
  4. Visit your priorities/favorites first – Once you have finished your once around, then visit vendors you marked as interesting which are in your three priority categories first. Talk with them, ask any questions you have about their area of expertise, and get a feel for if you could work with them. Keep notes, collect information, and most importantly have a good time!
  5. Be willing to sign with a vendor for a great deal, but don’t sign unless you are sure – When you are first starting your planning, take time to consider everything you take in at the show. There will be many show deals and inevitably some vendors who will try to hard sell you to “sign today.” (Can you blame them? This is their livelihood after all) I am definitely not saying you shouldn’t sign with them, but to be sure they are who you want before you sign. I know I (and my fellow photographers at PBO) have high quality work at a good value for your money, but I am not for everyone. I would never want you to sign with me to “get the deal” and then feel like you were pressured or cheated in any way. Professionals are there to make your wedding day smooth and easy! If you are within 6 months of your wedding date, then booking at a show to get the deal is a much better idea because (theoretically) you have already done your homework on what you like/don’t like and what each vendor needs to bring to your wedding, making it much easier to know that “this vendor” is the one for your wedding. The wedding industry is all about relationships, so like any relationship you should never rush into it.

I really hope these tips help you make the most of any bridal show you attend. And for any brides in the Willamette Valley, I hope to get to meet you at the Oregon Wedding Showcase in October!

Happy Planning!