Specific Saving Strategies for Wedding Photography:
As a girl dreaming about the big day to come later in life I bet you never dreamt about the economic hardships you’d have to deal with as well. Unfortunately you only have three options; delay marriage until you are a rich enough that money isn’t an issue, hire uncle Earl (the amateur family photographer), or come up with a plan to save money while getting the images you’ve dreamt of. Fortunately, there are a few ways to save money while still getting what you want.
First and foremost, defer your costs. As I showed in another article, most wedding photographers are more than willing to do an a la carte wedding. Then any items that you want to purchase (books, dvds, prints) can all be done after the wedding. While its not actually saving you any money, it is splitting up the costs and making the payments a bit more manageable. In my own photography company I’ve done this several times for brides who wanted high resolution DVD’s and photo books, but couldn’t afford to pay for them up front.
Another option is to manage your time effectively. Many a bride could save money on the wedding photography by just organizing a bit differently. Since less hours equals less money paid to a wedding photographer, its important to plan accordingly. The three best ways to cut time without sacrificing the quality of the overall wedding images are as follows:
Plan the group shots as much as possible in advance and shoot as many of them as possible before the wedding. I usually start with everyone in the picture and pull them away as they are no longer needed. The only shots I have left by the time the wedding is over are of the bride and groom with the family and wedding party. Typically I only have to spend 30 minutes between the wedding and reception using this method.
Move most of the reception activities to the beginning of the reception (garter and boquet toss, dances, and cake cutting) Since these are the key memories of the reception its important to get them out of the way early. Throughout the reception the photographer will still be able to capture shots of guests.
Implementing the step prior makes it possible to allow the photographer to leave before the end of the reception. Trimming 1-3 hours could save hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the photographer.
If worse comes to worse, and you can’t trim the budget any further but still need to save money somehow, ask the photographer for help meeting your budget. Small businesses sometimes have a little wiggle room on their rates. But, there is a limit to how much a wedding photographer can cut their price. The important thing is to be specific when stating your needs and budget. It never hurts to ask politely. You could be surprised.
If you still can’t meet your budget, and must allow a friend of a friend or a family member, remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” This has never been truer than with wedding photography. When the wedding is over the images or video will serve as lasting memories. Leaving it up to a family friend leaves you open to the possibility that those images might not come out, get lost, or destroyed. (Plus, a good host always allows their guests to enjoy the party, not work it!) A true professional photographer uses back up hard drives, memory cards, cameras and lenses. In addition, most photographers are insured to protect you in the event that something happens to the images. Always ask to be sure, though.
Deferring costs, cutting time, and asking for pricing considerations from the photographer are all ways of helping to keep your wedding budget low without sacrificing quality. While you can go with that family friend who has his own camera, make sure you are prepared to accept whatever comes out of it, even its no wedding photos or as trained relationship.