Wedding Photography

Here's to Life's BIG {and little} Celebrations!

At Champagne Studios, your wedding photography isn’t just about the pictures. When you’re here, you’re family. We go beyond just “taking pictures” and give you the full Champagne experience. We LOVE weddings, and we’ll tell your story the way your best friend would. We’re here to make those memories, emotions and feelings last forever. Our goal is to create images that when you look at them again and again, take you back to not just the day, but to all those little moments that made your day unforgettable.

Our wedding photography experience begins with a toast – to you! We want to meet you and hear your story. We’ll sit down and listen to what you’re planning to make your wedding day an amazing start to the story of your happily ever after. At your consultation, we’ll guide you to the services and products that will tell your story best. Wedding day coverage begins at $1,200 with an associate photographer, with most brides budgeting an average of $5,000 on their total wedding day photography package.

What Brides are Saying

About our wedding photography.

Riitta & Craig, Just a short note of much thanks for your wonderful work with capturing our darling daughter’s happiest day! We couldn’t be happier with all the pictures and video. What a fabulous gift you both have…thank you very much. – Mary 
Riitta, We wanted to thank you for all your time and effort put into our wedding. From the engagement photos to confirming plans and of course all the wedding day photos – the experience was wonderful and worry-free! We have had endless compliments on how wonderful the photos turned out. Thanks for sharing your gift with us! – Emily & Chad 
Riitta, You are INCREDIBLE! What an unbelievable job capturing even the most candid moments of the day. So many things that sneak by most photographers were captured in incredible detail. The pictures are vivid and tell the complete story of a very special day to us. Family and friends will be awestruck when we share our pictures and the most exquisite wedding album I’ve ever seen!  We can’t wait to use you for family photos in the future! – Katie & Dan 

I just got engaged!
Let's talk more about my wedding.

10 Steps to Booking the Best Wedding Photographer

Let’s face it – the world of wedding photography is packed. You are reading this because you are probably overwhelmed with the options, packages, pricing, verbiage, and downright frustrating emails, phone calls, web searches and more. In the world of wedding vendors, this one might be the hardest to choose.

I’m a wedding photographer. I’ve been one for 13 years. And even though I’m writing this, I’m going to be honest, I may not even be the wedding photographer for you. But there are some secrets in the world of wedding photography that many photographers may not want you to know. So get ready, because I’m going to share them with you so that you can make the best possible choice when it comes to your wedding photographer.

Step #1 – Determine how much you will value your wedding photography.
You may be one of those brides who “just want a few pictures” on their wedding day, something to remember the day with, and to scrapbook a handful of 4×6 prints. That’s okay. You may also be a bride who sees photography as the only thing tangible and memorable you take away from your wedding, thus making it one of the most important purchases to you. Either way, you have to decide just how much it means for you before you can move forward. Talk to people who have the same value as you, not the same budget. Value and budget are not interchangeable. Consider how much you want to spend on it and compare it to the rest of the items you are spending money on your wedding day.

Step #2 – Get referrals.
Your friends, family and coworkers who have recently been through the process are the first people to ask. But don’t just ask them if they liked their photographer, but ask them why they chose them, what they liked, and how it was to work with them. It may be rude to ask pricing, so let them offer it up. Pricing should be the last concern with your initial choices anyway. If your list is short, check top wedding blogs like Married in Milwaukee for their recommendations. Email the bloggers for a personal connection and see who they think would fit for you!

Step #3 – Set in-person appointments or phone calls.
Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices, set times to talk and or meet with all of them, in a short period of time. I recommend 4-5 choices, within 2-3 days. Keeping your meetings close together will keep your impressions fresh, and help to ensure that your date stays available when making your choice. Meeting your photographer at some point in the process isn’t always vital or an option, but you must insist on at least speaking with your actual wedding photographer for your wedding day. Ask to see their specific work, and what their qualifications are.

Now, Steps #4-10 are where the secrets come in handy. 

Step #4 – What is it like to work with them?
Their photography work is just the surface of what you should be looking at.

There are a ton of talented photographers out there, but how well can they manage your wedding day, overbearing family, drunk groomsmen, rude guests and more? Can they do it with magazine-styled smiles? Or will get they get frustrated and snappy with your crazy Aunt Bonnie who wants to take pictures over their shoulder? This is a prime reason to get answers from brides who have used this photographer. I may not be the best “photographer” in my city, but I know I run a smooth, kind and fun wedding photography experience for my clients on their wedding day – I know I am one of the best at it.

Step #5 – Be honest about your budget.
Your photographer probably knows the other photographers you’re meeting with.

In my city, there is a group of over 100 stellar photographers who not only know each other, but party together. So chances are, you’re meeting comparing us with our friends. Totally cool, but this means you’ve got be honest. We’re honest with you about our pricing, so be honest with us about what you can afford. It is seriously a waste of time to meet with your dream photographer if you can’t afford their minimum package. I mean, would you really walk into a Lexus dealer when you really intend on buying a Kia? And when I say minimum package, don’t expect to the the loot with the minimum package. Expect a base model that will meet your needs, but most likely won’t blow you away.

Step #6 – Ask about all pricing up front.
Unfortunately, not all photographers are excellent business people.

In fact, most are not. Not all packages are created equal, so If you are concerned about cost, ask. You may not be told something isn’t included unless you ask. For instance, I try to be clear that while the engagement session is included in your wedding package, prints, products and files from the engagement session are not included. Be prepared for what you may be spending on those, and why not ask up front for certain inclusions to be added into your total package? You may get them at a package discount!

Step #7 – Ask about associates.
While the photographer you’re meeting with may be the only one available, many studios, even smaller ones, employ associate photographers. These may be less experienced photographers who are still learning from the master photographer, but are being trained by the best. You may get the same service, products and even experience, at a slightly reduced rate.

Step #8- Ask for incentives.
Your photographer wants you to book your wedding at your consultation. Of course they do. It saves time for everyone. If you love their work, can afford their pricing, and hit it off well with them, then why wait? Ask for a few minutes in private to talk it over, and sure, ask if they have any incentives (not discounts) for booking right away. Sometimes they will, and sometimes they wont, but asking wont hurt anything. You can always go home and compare with the next meeting.

Step #9 – Compare apples to apples – not apples to grapes.
If you really love the personality and work of more than one photographer, and simply want to decide based on budget – you can. This is why getting a list of pricing – both a la carte and packages – is really important. Compare 10×10 leather albums with 30 pages, not custom album vs. fine art leather – they are most likely not the same thing. Most importantly, touch and feel those albums. We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure our products are the best around, and therefore they cost a little bit more than a cheap replica that the photographer might name the same thing (designer impostor!) This is the only true way to tell where the better value is. Finally, you must take into account the photographer’s experience as a final calculation. If the prices don’t line up, decide what makes one more expensive than the other – and find out what they offer that makes them worth spending a little bit extra.

Step #10 – Be super, duper nice and no matter what – don’t be a sob story.
Kindness and understanding goes a long, long way with your wedding vendors. But playing the “we’re paying for our wedding ourselves” card, or any other story that translates to “give us a discount because we want to pay less or can’t afford you” is an almost instant walk-away for any photographer, or any vendor at that. We pay for all of our business expenses ourselves too, and some of us our college educations too (and are still paying them off!). This is in direct relation to step #8, so it is very important to ask for incentives or “add-ons” and never to ask for discounts. No part of a wedding is a requirement other than the vows. Everything else is a luxury. So if you really can’t afford it, go ahead and ask a friend with a nice camera. But if you put your wedding photography at the top of your valued list, hiring an experienced professional with a solid foundation and business sense will be worth so much more than you actually pay for.

If you truly follow these guidelines, you will undoubtedly book the best wedding photographer for you, at a price that your are comfortable paying!

So give us a call. Even if we’re not for you, we are more than happy to offer our best recommendation for someone who might be! We do wedding cinematography at Champagne Studios too, so you should also check out this awesome article about why you should choose to book a wedding cinematographer (not a videographer) in addition to your wedding photography.

You May Also Love These