While you may be familiar with many of the traditional expenses associated with prom – the prom dresses, tuxedos, corsages, boutonnieres, limousine, hair and makeup services – you might not realize that some people actually hire professional photographers to take prom photos before and after the big event.
The “Official Photographer”
Nearly every prom has an “official” photographer – it’s a type of fundraiser, generally to help offset the cost of the event. This photographer usually sends package information home before the prom, has a background and lights setup and is on hand to take posed formal photos of each couple. They also may take group photos and set up photo booths with props.
The school or prom committee contracts this photographer and students order photos by package or print. Like many school-related photos, these packages can carry a weighty price tag, so budget at least $30 – $50 for a small photo package, and closer to the $100 range for more copies, or more for photo products and accessories. A couple has the option of splitting a package of course.
Hiring a photographer privately is a different arrangement. Some families will contract for services during a pre-prom party. This is a great way to get a variety of posed and candid shots before dancing unravels all of that hard makeup and hair work. You can travel to different scenic sites, change up your groupings and enjoy individual attention that the school photographers don’t have the manpower to give.
Post-prom photos are also rising in popularity. Love all those cool night photos where lighting and long exposures combine to make images that look like they are from another world? Sparklers, glow-in-the-dark chalk and even great stop-action shots of rain all take place after dark. If those photos are your priority, many pro photographers will let you select them as an option. You simply have to build your prom day schedule around suggested time.
Pros and Cons
Hiring your own personal prom photographer is obviously a want, not a need. If you’re weighing the option, consider the pros and cons. On the upside, you’ll get photos that no camera phone can touch. Creative poses, lighting, angles – the works. You also get to feel like a rock star with your own paparazzi.
On the reverse is the expense. Good professional photographers cost hundreds of dollars per hour. Some might see a prom shoot as an opportunity for a short shooting day and fewer images to edit than, say, a wedding, and might offer you a deal, but there will still be a cost both for their time and their digital and print products.
To make the cost easier, often several couples will split the fees.
The only one who can really determine if hiring a professional photographer for prom is right for you is you (well, and your parents if they are funding it for you). You decide whether crazy amazing images of your big event are ultimately worth the investment. Talk to some reputable local photographers if you need additional guidance.