As many of you may know I’m a Photographer (who does shoot many weddings a year) AND a bride on a budget! We could have had the nice big wedding, but we decided to invest the money into a house instead (lasting memories). But, something I won’t skimp on is the photography for my wedding! Yes, there are all kinds of details for a wedding: dress, cake, venue, flowers, food. But, think about it, at the end of the day all that stuff will be gone! In 10 years you won’t be telling your kids “oh the food was wonderful!”. You’ll be going through the photo albums remembering the day and telling them about it. It’s just like investing in a house. You want to think of the long term payout you will gain with your photography. Now, I know, some of you may be thinking I can’t afford good photography, I’m just going to have Uncle Frank take my photos. I BEG you don’t do this! Defiantly have Uncle Frank bring his camera and take photos of the day. But, don’t intrust all your memories to someone who “has a nice camera”. I have a nice kitchen set, doesn’t mean I cook like Emeril.
Here are some downsides with going with someone who does not photograph professionally:
1) You may not be their top priority. If you hire a hobbyist, that’s what you are to them: part of their hobby. You will be fit in around their real jobs, family, vacations ect.
2)Quality. I have seen it too many times to count. A bride says “your work is beautiful, but we’re going to just have Uncle Frank take the photos. He’s got “a nice camera” and he’s doing it for free.” Then 2 months after the wedding (in tears) I hear back from the bride saying I was right. Pictures were either too dark, overexposed, badly posed, ect. And to top it off now you have that feeling of resentment to Uncle Frank. You may love him, but for years you’ll think about how he ruined your wedding photos.
Think about it, if a pro does a bad job (in this digital age) everyone knows about it immediately. It can really hurt that pro’s business. If you hire a hobbyist or have a friend/family member do it and they botch the job it doesn’t matter to anyone else besides you.
Now, it’s not all gloom and doom for you photography! You can still have fab photos on a tight budget. Here are a couple insider tips you can use!
1) Find a photographer who you love. You love the style (make sure the style is what you want). Take a look at their prices. If it fits your budget, GREAT! If not, don’t worry. You can approach this in 2 ways. You can tell them your budget and ask if there is a package they can put together that fits that (maybe you don’t need a parent album, ect). Sometimes, they can and if not you go to plan B. Ask them if they have any assistant photographers/apprentices who may be more in their price range. If still no deal ask them if they could recommend anyone themselves. Trust me, getting a referral from a photographer is great. We know the quality of work in the area and we have no reason to hide it.
2) Like everything else with the wedding you can save some money not having it on Saturday. Saturday night is prime time. You can save big money having it any other day of the week or during the day. I’m shooting a wedding on a Thursday next month for about 1/2 the normal cost.
3) Think about having your photographer for fewer hours. Instead of the normal 6-8 hours, ask them for a 4-5 hour quote. You can have the first dance before you eat. I once saw a couple enter their reception and went immediately into their first dance. It was great and unexpected!
4) If you’re on a REALLY tight budget and nothing from above sounds plausible. Check out your local colleges. If you have any local art schools there are budding photographers there. I, personally, would ask for juniors or seniors. They will have more experience and they usually have access to the some of the best equipment available. Still make sure you look ask for samples of their work. And you won’t have the same worries with this as with a regular hobbyist. They have been spending years and thousands of dollars to become a photographer and they won’t to start building a reputation for themselves.
And my final tip is using MiNeeds.com. It’s a site where you can post what you are needing (such as wedding photographer for April 2, 2011. Needed for 6 hours at Flint Hill, CD and album with some prints for under $1500). Then you will have local pros bid for your business. Make sure you still meet with them and look at the work. If you don’t feel comfortable with your photographer it won’t matter how good of a deal you’re getting.