Monday Money Makeover- Wedding Photography

There are so many places your money goes in a wedding budget- cake, décor, flowers, gifts, food, drinks, DJ/Band, but one of the most important places to budget a decent portion of your money is towards photography. The food gets eaten, the DJ packs up and goes home, but the photos will last a lifetime. As with any celebration, I recommend budgeting at least 30% (preferably 40% if you can) of your total budget to Photography (trust me, you will thank me later).

Even if your budget is only $1,000- putting $300 aside for photography will be the best investment in your lifetime of memories.

When my husband I got engaged in 2010, the very first vendor I started researching was photography. I knew the most important thing to me, other than marrying my best friend, was having lifelong memories that were captured in a way that was authentic to us. When you google wedding photography, you will get pricing in the thousands! It is a daunting task to most Brides/Grooms to determine how to best spend their money- so I am here today to help you by offering up suggestions of how to best utilize your photography budget.

1)      Have a total budget in mind- trying to wing a budget is never going to work and will lead to disagreements, hurt feelings, and panic. So really nail down your total.

2)      Know your style- do you want high fashion photography? Fine- Art? Photojournalistic? Pinterest will be your best friend here to research styles and types of shots/poses. Also, decide if you want videography and photography or just photography. A lot of places provide both, so know what you are looking for. You may love a Photographer, but if you don’t love their style, you won’t be happy with your photos in the end.

3)      Research, research, research- ask family, friends, friends of friends, coworkers- ask EVERYONE. Ask for recommendations and ask to see other people’s photos- specifically, their proof books. By looking at a proof book, you can get a good idea what the photographers actual style is because you get to see all the photos that were taken that day. Ask about pricing and make a list.

4)      Compare- once you have ten or so photographers pricing and styles you’ve looked at, average out their price to know what is competitive pricing in your area. If most of the photographers are in the $3,000 range, then you know that is your ballpark for all the frills.

5)      List- knowing now what the pricing and styles are- make a list comparing your budget and what you want. If your budget for Photography is $300 and the average all-inclusive price is $3,000, it’s time to make a list.

a.       Getting ready photos- are these important to you to have done professionally? Maybe you have a friend with a DSLR who could spend the morning with you capturing these shots candidly to save on money with the photographer

b.       Group photos- do you want to hang traditional bridesmaids/groomsmen photos around your house? These are great photos in the moment, but they are often the least purchased. Couples are forgoing these photos to save time and money in their photography budgets. Instead, get candid shots together- you will value these even more.

c.       Reception photos- in this day in age when everyone has a cell phone and uses Instagram and Facebook- you can really save money by just having a photographer for your Ceremony and setting up a hashtag for everyone to post their photos with. You can also utilize an app like WedPics for everyone to download and share their photos. If you have room in your budget, you can ask your photographer to stay for the first hour to capture speeches, the first dance, cake cutting, and photos with family members.

6)      Outsource- maybe you have a friend or family member who takes amazing pictures who you want to involve, but aren’t able to add to your bridal party. Ask them to take your getting ready or reception photos. You could always offer them a small fee for their time or a keepsake gift.

7)      Colleges- another amazing place to find inexpensive but talented photographers is are your local colleges and universities. A lot of art programs can recommend students who are talented photographers. While they don’t yet have a professional following, a lot of these students are on the cutting edge of technology and can give you beautiful and stylish photos for a fraction of the price. The only caveat is in exchange for their time, you may have to allow them to use your photos in their projects.

8)      Photo Booth- instead of having a photographer capture moments with individual people- set up a DIY photo booth at your reception and have someone taking photos that can be shared later. They make the perfect addition to thank you cards too!

9)      Utilize extras- a lot of photographers will include engagement photos in their pricing, but you may be able to swap engagement photos for getting ready photos or extra time at the reception. Don’t ever be afraid to ask and make suggestions.

10)   Look for discounts- a lot of photographers will offer discount prices at Bridal Expos and referral discounts, so sign up for the expos and ask friends for referral information

I have even more ideas on how to save on Wedding Photography over on our pinterest page, which I have linked here. Which photos were the most memorable from your wedding? What tips do you have to save money on Photography?