Other than the birth of a child, your wedding day is likely the most important day of a new life you’re committed to sharing with a loved one. As such, recording it correctly is a priority. Still that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. After all, the last thing you want to think while happily perusing your wedding photos one day is “I can’t believe we spent so much on these.”
One of the things you should avoid doing is having a close friend or family member – who is not an actual photographer – do the job at a drastically-reduced price.
Frankly, there’s a reason why photographers charge money for weddings and important events – it is skilled work that requires high-end equipment and dedication. And it’s stressful, requiring good organization skills – even crowd control.
Unlike a family member or friend, your wedding photographer is being paid to be professional and tuned-in at all times while on the clock, to ensure the best vantage points are used for dazzling results. There’s also a measure of skill, attained through years of training, study and camera-shooting, which allows them to catch and render what look like effortless scenes. With that said, consider these steps to getting a wedding photographer that is capable but not exorbitantly expensive.
Catalog the Cost of Your Wedding
Specifically, this means budgeting for a photographer, in addition to all the other things you need for that special day. An assessment helps with options such as a gift registry, which you use to reduce the overall cost. Friends and family can make gifts to the account and in this way you can afford a higher-end photographer. Of course, this could take away from the cost of other wedding gifts for you, which highlights the utility of trying to save on a photographer, instead of finding ways to pay an expensive one.
Getting an Early Start and Other Cost-Saving Options
The most straightforward thing you can do to save on a wedding photographer is to plan early – last minute ventures are always more expensive than they otherwise would be. More important than getting the desired photographer to try and rearrange her schedule to make your event, photographers tend to offer discounted prices for their services when they get booked early.
1. One way to save money on a wedding photographer in the long run is to purchase the digital prints, and eschew the actual print. The “negatives” ensure you will always be able to make any number of photographs you want, over time, as your budget allows. In fact, as the online cloud becomes more dominant as a means of storage and communication, friends and family may even prefer you email them a digital copy instead of a print – which means you spend no money at all after securing the digital package.
2. Save money by scheduling the wedding photographer only when you need her. Instead of purchasing her services for the entire wedding, group together pivotal events and situations toward the latter part of the ceremony, so that you will be billed for just a few hours instead of a full, expensive day. But you do miss out on those moments building toward the event of your life.
3. Few professions depend on networking as much as wedding photographers. Because of the importance of good referrals – and the drastic reduction in advertising fees that this entails, wedding photographers routinely offer discounts if you refer them to friends, family, coworkers and anyone else in line for a marriage. The costs savings here work primarily if you don’t opt to buy the digital image, because it is the prints on which you save per referral.
4. Spread the task around. All this means is that you have a good friend or acquaintance who really knows his photography, but isn’t necessarily a licensed professional, take good photos of the wedding. The professional can be reserved for what you deem to be the most crucial shots. You can further save money by choosing one of the lower-end packages. They’re still very professional and well-done.
5. Shop around! You can save a lot of money by comparing photographers nearby. Ask to see their work if they don’t have a website you can visit – you’ll be surprised at just how good some of the lower-end photographers are. The expensive ones with years in the industry often have assistants with them, which of course drives up the cost of their services. If your wedding is of the smaller, more intimate variety, choosing a photographer who doesn’t work with an assistant will be less expensive.
6. A wedding photographer’s prices aren’t like a department store, where the prices are set in stone. Although there’s certainly a number they won’t go below, you can get them to lower the price for their services in various ways – even ways they might not have thought of, such as the referral option.
7. Don’t pay extra to have the photographer print your photos, order the edited digital photos instead. There are very advanced ink technologies available for home printing and you can usually find great online printing deals through places like groupon to get canvas prints or larger prints done.
In sum, your wedding should be captured for posterity and memories, but it the pictures shouldn’t elicit groans at how much you spent on them years down the line.