BY HALEY WEBSTER, THREE SMUDGES PHOTOGRAPHY
Courtney and I have had several conversations about this over the years and yes, she runs a business, so she needs the photos for other things than just for memories… but we both can’t deny how much EASIER it makes life when it’s one less thing that you have to worry about.
Event photography is sort of a different animal than portrait photography or food photography. Taking photos of groups of people interacting and enjoying themselves at parties is something that takes time and skill. Trust me. I know. The first several times I did it, thinking it would be easy, I was surprised by the challenge to get a group of people to look balanced and have everyone look happy or not have one person eating, etc. There are all kinds of different things to know.
There are many photographers out there who ONLY do events. Some specialize in higher end events like weddings, but many do smaller events and venues and love to do things like dinner parties or smaller, intimate gatherings. This will cost you money. You should know that going into it. The sticker shock behind this is also something that I think people can be a little surprised about at well.
From a photography stand point they can be pricey because it’s usually later in the day or into evening and on weekends which is considered more of a primo pricing time. It also doesn’t necessarily depend on the fact that you are only having 20 vs. 40 people. It’s still one person running around trying to capture all the special things that you would like them to in a short amount of time. Weddings will cost even more because you need multiple photographers with more equipment, etc. Pricing also typically factors in editing/retouching time which you won’t see but can be pretty time consuming. Of course, how you receive the images is up to you and your photographer and the agreement you reach.
The benefits of being able to walk around and greet your guests (holding a glass of wine I might add) are endless. That worry that so-and-so who is hugging so-and-so who hasn’t seen each other in 20 years is gone…you notice your photographer that you hired is over there flashing away. Or your little one is turning four and your house is banged to the hills with decorations and donkeys wearing unicorn horns (if you’re Courtney) and instead of rushing around looking for your camera (with NO cocktail in hand) you can happily sing, “Happy Birthday” to your little party goer knowing that your photographer is catching all this for you.
The extra added benefit of having all these beautiful photos on the tail end is that they are captured and catalogued for you. For my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday I didn’t know what to get her. So, I was at her surprise birthday party and took photos for her and then put them all in a coffee table book for her. To me it was the best thing I knew that I could give her. She now has all those memories from a night that was probably an emotional and amazing whirlwind.
If you have the option, leave it to someone who knows how to do it and can do it in such a way that it makes your dinner party or fun celebration something that you can enjoy and less stress. It really is one less thing for you to worry about. It’s worth the cost and the memories you get on the tail end will leave you smiling for years!!