As wedding costs rise, so does the price you’ll pay for to capture your day. Photography comes in as one of the largest expenses, just behind the venue and catering.

But it’s not all bad news. The increasingly capability to capture high quality photos and even videos means that you’ll have something truly priceless: something to remember your day by.

In fact, photography is one of the areas experts agree you should invest in. But what kind of photography is right for your wedding, and how can you be sure you’ll get the quality and content you’re looking for?

Let’s break down a few things you need to know before booking your photographer or videographer:

  • Understanding the cost: A professional photographer should provide their rates up front. Rates will generally be by the hour–keep that in mind when deciding when you want them to arrive. The rates will vary based on expertise level. Be sure you also understand if there are any additional fees, like deposits.
  • Know what to ask: You should know how and where they were trained; experience shooting weddings, and even cancellation policies. If you have any special requests, ask them up front. It’s also not a bad idea, if it’s an independent photographer especially, to ask for references or client reviews. (Of course, you can also search databases for ratings). Even more important: ask for real samples.
  • What’s included: Do they offer retouching in their package? Digital copies? Color correction? Are these included, are do they come at an additional cost? If you’re also interested in save-the-date and engagement shoots, check to see if they offer an overall package.
  • Shop around: Like any other big decision, you’ll want to comparison shop. Also make sure you ask if there are any discounts available.
  • Do I need a videographer? You first priority, if you have a tight budget, should be a photographer. With photos, you’ll still be able to capture the night. That said, a videographer can be really worth it for some couples. Figure out your budget first and foremost and decide whether you’d be the type of couple who would watch your wedding over and over. Note that some photographers also do videography, or can suggest someone. As of 2016, the average cost of a videographer was just under $2,000.

Photo Credit: Candice Adelle Photography