When it comes to planning a wedding, budget is always in the forefront of your mind. Things add up quickly and it can become easy to lose sight of priorities. One mistake couples often make is picking a photographer based on price, instead of style and fit. While some people know exactly who they want to shoot their wedding and will do anything they can to get that specific photographer, others simply hire who is cheapest or ask a friend or family member who has a camera. Neither is necessarily the wrong option. But here are some things to keep in mind while hiring your wedding photographer.

Pick a photographer whose work you love, and who you love working with. – When looking for a wedding photographer, it is important to hire one whose style you love and someone who you get along with. You will be spending lots of time with this person. You want to make sure you click, before they start clicking away! Meet up for coffee and get to know them. If you feel like you don’t connect, they may not be the photographer for you.

But my old college roommate is a photographer! – There is a gamble in asking a friend or family member to shoot one of the more iconic days of your life. What if something happens to the photos before you get them, or, even worse, you get them, but you don’t like them? Are they going to shoot for free or do they expect payment? If so, how much is a fair price? How will you handle these issues? How will your decisions affect your future relationship with that friend or family member? You are paying for professionalism, consistency and reliability as much as you are paying for images and prints. If your wedding photographer is not a professional, they may not understand how to budget time for wedding photos, or have a strong grasp of posing. They also may not have the know-how to problem solve lighting issues (auto settings can only do so much), or the confidence to direct an entire wedding party, the whole family and an excited bride and groom. Wedding photographers do much more than just take pretty pictures. A good one will help keep your wedding on schedule as well as capture those key moments. If you do choose a friend or family member, express your gratitude to them, but also voice your expectations. Your wedding day is not a time to “wing it.”

Price Points– Wedding photography is going to be one of the bigger ticket items for your budget. Think of wedding photography as an investment, as after the flowers wilt, and the cake is gone, your photos will remain. Most professional photographers start around the $1,000 mark. There is no standard package that all photographers offer. More important than price, is hiring a photographer whose work you like and who you enjoy working with. Look around at area photographers and narrow down whose style best fits you. After you have short list, now it’s time to start comparing numbers. It is important to make sure you understand everything your fee is covering. Some photographers only offer prints, some offer digital images with your prints, some photographers have packages, others work simply al a carte. Make sure you know what you are paying for. Are they traveling for your wedding? Chances are you will be paying or their travel and lodging as well.

You know that Pinterest photo? – If you are an avid Pinner, chances are, you’ve experienced a “Pinterest fail.” But don’t set your wedding photographer up for one. It’s great, and so fun to cruise Pinterest for inspiration. When doing it for wedding photography, keep a few things in mind. Photographers are pinning their BEST work. Chances are, your Wedding Photography board had work for several different photographers, and each photo is just a small sample of their work. Photography is an art, asking your photographer to copy someone else’s work diminishes their creative license. Most photographers are okay with mimicking one or two shots, but don’t expect them to shot your entire board exactly. If there is one shot you absolutely love, discuss it before hand with your photographer so that they can decide whether or not it is doable. If you follow a photographer you like, who is in your area, ask them to shoot your wedding. Don’t expect your photographer to know how or have the time to shoot every image you find on Pinterest. After all, you hired them because you love their work, right? If you let them work their own magic, you’ll end up with photos that are pin worthy.

No matter whom you choose, The Ramada Tropics Resort & Conference Center in Des Moines will be here to help you with all of your wedding planning needs to ensure your day is picture perfect.