For many people, choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important things in planning a wedding. After all, when it is all over, all you’ll have is the wedding photography, right? (Well, wrong! You’ll also have a husband or wife!) That being said, a lot of us don’t have thousands of dollars to shell out for three hours of someone’s time!
When I was in wedding planning mode I decided that it was really important to me to have at least a couple of great photos, but I didn’t think I had the $$$$ for it! I also didn’t want a photographer who would take over and make the whole family get into photographic formations for an hour. I didn’t want to spend my wedding night posing!
Don’t stress, there are many options for choosing and finding the perfect and affordable wedding photographer that will save you a lot of money:
If you are lucky enough to know someone who is skilled with a camera, consider asking them to shoot your wedding photos for you. If it is a person who would have been invited to your wedding anyway it could be your wedding gift from them! This person doesn’t have to be a professional photographer either, but make sure it is someone who would be comfortable in that role because you want them to have a good time too! If you are doing it this way, it is an even safer bet to ask two people to be in charge of taking photos, because it takes the pressure off. Also, especially during the reception, both of them could end up taking great candid shots from different areas of the celebration.
Call a community college or University’s art department and speak to one of the professors. Ask them if they have any students that would be interested in shooting a wedding, give them the date and then state your price. They’ll ask around for you and likely hook you up with a student (or several) that is willing to accept the discounted price because they need to build their portfolio.
Newspapers (especially smaller newspapers or ones in small-medium towns) often employ several photographers at a time. A call to the local paper is a great way to find photographers that are skilled and talented but don’t necessarily specialize in weddings. This means they’ll be cheaper! Trust me, you tack the word “wedding” onto any service and you are guaranteed to pay more. A lot of photographers don’t specialize in weddings because although the money is good, they don’t want to be busy every weekend doing the same thing. However, a lot of them are more than willing to do a wedding for some extra cash every once in a while!
Yet another way to find an affordable wedding photographer is to put an ad on Craigslist.org or any other local community based board. Again, you are likely to find students or other photographers that are willing to work at a decent price to gain experience and portfolio material. Many of these boards have photographers that will post their services and state their price too!
No matter whom you choose to do your wedding photos, you need to be clear about what is important to you and what you are envisioning. For my wedding, I wanted just casual, natural, candid shots, so I made it clear to my photographers that we didn’t want any posed shots. If it is important for you to have photos of you during a particular moment, you need to make sure that they know about it. If you want posed shots of the whole family, you need to tell the photographer when it will take place. It is extremely helpful if you give your photographer the lowdown on what is happening and when, so they know what to expect and will be ready for it. This will make them feel confident and I guarantee you’ll get better photos. The last thing you’ll want to worry about is what your photographer is doing or where they are, so make sure they are prepped on everything, including the location!
Also, if the photographer is someone that one of you know, make sure they take photos of BOTH sides of the family. A friend of mine had her aunt take the wedding photos and she really focused on just the bride’s family. There weren’t any photos of people from the groom’s side! Luckily, she followed my advice and had another friend be the “2nd in charge photographer” who did snap a lot of photos of the groom’s side and it turned out great.