Hiring a wedding photographer

October 17, 2012  •  5 Comments

Bridal Show Booth for Shane Monahan Photography at the Stoney Creek Inn - Sioux City, Iowa

Hey everyone!  If you're stopping by because you met us at the recent Bridal Show at the Stoney Creek Inn here in Sioux City, then WELCOME!  I'm so glad you've decided to check out my website.  Finding a wedding photographer can be a bit overwhelming.  Prices range from almost nothing (friends with cameras) to prices as high as $30-50,000 dollars!!  That's not a typo. Good wedding photography isn't cheap, but it is important.  You are investing a lot into your big day.   When the wedding is over, the food will be eaten, the limos will be returned, tuxes taken back and the dress and decorations packed away (possibly never worn or used again).  The photos are usually the only remaining evidence of all the hard work you put into that day.  If you're hiring a wedding photographer, make sure you hire a photographer you're comfortable with.  Even if it's not us, just make sure you're confident they can handle the work load, treat you and your party with respect and that their gear can handle most lighting situations.  We come in all shapes and sizes and have various levels of experience.  Not all wedding photographers are created equal.

I'm not the cheapest guy in town, but I'm not the most expensive either.  I've shot a number of weddings, have multiple PRO camera bodies, PRO lenses and flashes.  If one of my cameras break down, I have backups!  With my wedding packages, there are always two of us taking photos.  I've used other photographers before, but the second photographer is USUALLY my wife Becca.  

We have fun shooting weddings.  Truthfully, we have been so blessed to work with so many amazing couples.  If we stop having fun, it will be time for us to stop shooting.  So far, we love it.  We've made some pretty good friendships as well with the couples we've photographed.  We are always amazed at some of the horror stories we hear from other couples about their wedding photographers.... There are of course lots of GREAT photographers too, but your mileage may vary.  It's so important to get out and meet the people you are considering for your wedding.  Not everyone is a good fit (for you OR the photographer).  It's better for all parties involved if you get along.  If you don't or you're not comfortable with their style.  Don't settle.  Find someone you're comfortable with.

Also, good photographers get booked up FAST!  I used to get concerned about my competition and then I realized I can't shoot every wedding.  Unfortunately, I can only be at one wedding at a time.  This year alone, I bet I turned away 15 brides requesting wedding dates in September.  I simply couldn't shoot them because I was already booked (not to mention other dates during the summer I was already booked).  If you find someone you like, make sure you get in touch with them as soon as possible.  If you like my style, shoot me a message.  Even if you're on the fence and would just like to come by and visit.  I'd be glad to let you look more closely at my work and see if you like what I offer.  I would love to visit with you!  Bridal shows don't count because everything is a blur and you only get maybe 30 seconds with me while the crowd pushes through.  :)

This is getting longer than I intended, in a nutshell, when hiring a professional wedding photographer just make sure you like them as a person or as people.  You can tell a lot by first impressions.  If you click with them as people,  you'll likely click with them during your wedding and it will show in your photos.  Also, make sure they have good gear and backups to handle your wedding and most lighting situations.  (Plus, make sure they actually know how to use it!) If you're not having an outdoor wedding with a nice cloud cover and a brightly lit reception, you might run into issues.  Finally, make sure you like their past work.  The best predictor of our future is our past and if their photography wasn't your style before, it probably won't be after your wedding.  Their price might be right, but their style might be wrong.  Cheaper isn't always better.  Sometimes cheaper is just CHEAP.

If you're reading this, I would love to hear your wedding photographer stories (good or bad) and if you're still shopping around - take note.  Just please leave out names.  I don't want to drag others through the mud.  I would just like to hear some other experiences. 

Oh and as for my style - I model myself heavily after some photographers that start out at $5500, but I also follow the $15-50,000 guys for inspiration.  My packages start at $1850.  Kind of a steal if you look at it that way!  ;)  Thanks for checking out my page.  If you actually read through this entire post, major, major props to you!  Thanks again for checking me out.  Give me a smiley face comment or something below at least if you did.  I'd love to hear from people!

- Shane


Sioux City, IA Wedding Photographer | Shane Monahan Photography
Thank you Charlie!! :)
Sioux City, IA Wedding Photographer | Shane Monahan Photography
Aww dang, thanks ladies! I wasn't expecting the Shane's the best type of comments, that's SO kind of you! Speaking of becoming good friends with people we have worked with - Exhibit A and B below. Love these ladies! Still bummed about your wedding Susie. That was definitely one of the horror stories I was thinking of when I wrote this post. At least you still ended up with a GREAT husband!!
Charlie Miles(non-registered)
Nice write up Shane!

Excellent writer as well as superior photographer!
Susie Tasker(non-registered)
Choosing a photographer is a VERY important thing when it comes to the biggest day of your life. Shane said it very well above. We hired a photographer for our big day that totally let us down in every way possible. He only took 60% of the photos we discussed w him and felt were important to get. If you do the math...that's a "F" in the grade book. Our photographer never once said it would be an issue until our wedding was over and we have none of those pictures we were led to believe he would capture. Pictures that we didn't get were my husband w his parents, my husbands grandma playing the organ or the piano, our singer, our moms lighting the unity candle, only two before our ceremony w the groom and the men standing up for him...and same goes for me and my girls. But yet our photographer took 94 pictures of us cutting the cake! If you ask any bride...that's a little uncalled for. And when we addressed him w our concerns after our big day...he said nothing is guaranteed and that he could do nothing to make it right. We also felt who we hired was not professional at all...he was rude and didn't seem he enjoyed what he did. Nor did he take the time to edit pictures outside of our wedding day. We never realized this about who we hired until after the fact. That's one thing I would tell every bride planning their wedding...to get recommendations...cause weddings add up fast.
I wish we would have known these things could happen or at least could have gotten recommendations on who we should have hired when we were planning our day. Cause if we would have...we would have gone w Shane Monahan in a HEART BEAT! Shane and Becca are very kind, fun, creative, put their hearts into what they do, and are VERY good at it!

Shane took my "trash your dress" photos and we couldn't have been happier! So with everything I have said...the most important things are to get to know who you are hiring and get recommendations. Your wedding is a once in a lifetime experience. So....HIRE SHANE MONAHAN as your photographer...it doesn't get any better than these two! =)
Alyssa Utech(non-registered)
:) smiley face for reading the whole thing! No horror photographer stories for me because I had the best- Shane Monahan Photography!
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