How to Get Wedding Photos on a Bare-Bones Budget

All brides want that one photograph that perfectly captures the wedding day. But to get it, you have to hire a skilled photographer — a cost which unfortunately usually runs into the thousands. Here are some tips to cropping your photography budget down to size:

1. Post an ad in the art department at a local college or university for a photographer. You’d be surprised at the talent and skill available — and for a lot less. Just be prepared to assemble your album from the developed photos.

2. Lose the prints and go digital. Many photographers now offer this as an option; instead of getting proofs/prints you can get your ‘photos’ on CD. Then check out an online photo editor/developer like Shutterfly for printed photos. (Shutterfly even offers the first 15 prints free for signing up — so you can try it risk free.)

3. Make your own wedding album. Depending on your photographer and the number of photo taken you can save hundreds (or more) by putting together your own album.

4. Slash the number of hours your photographer’s on call. For example, instead of having the photographer follow you around while you’re running to the salon to get your hair done, have your bridesmaids snap those photos.

5. Forego the photographer entirely and provide disposable cameras for your guests … or better yet, ask them to bring along their digital cameras. You’ll get a greater variety of pictures, since guests will be sure to take some photos of each other — and not just the bride and groom. (Trust me, this is a good thing. You’ll get tired of sorting through hundreds of pictures of yourself that all look the same.) But if your reception lighting’s going to be low, you’ll probably want a backup option. Time to call that college!

Jessica Bonilla is the owner and editor of e-wedding planner — the source that makes online wedding planning a lot easier.