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Wedding Planning Wednesday: I’m not having a Photographer at my wedding as our Budget won’t stretch………..think again! Here are a few ideas.
As a wedding planner I get to work with lots of different brides and grooms, some with big budgets, some with medium sized budgets and some with really tiny budgets. I won’t harp on about the misconceptions that we only work with couples with loads of money, as I may have covered that last week……..but yes some couples employ me and many other wedding planners alike to guide them on their wedding budget, and save them money.
I am currently working on a complete mixed bag of weddings, and some of these couple have told me that they are forgoing a wedding photographer as their budget just won’t stretch.
Often being told ‘we are letting our guests take the pictures’ or ‘our friend has a good camera, so they are going to do it for us’……at this point I put my head in my hands and scream NOOOOOO
Now I may have covered some of these points in a former wedding Wednesday discussion, BUT I feel very strongly about this and having recently worked with a couple who told me just this I feel I need to share my experience with you.
This is what I told them when they said they were trying to keep cost down by not hiring a wedding photographer and getting their guest to just take pictures
Point 1) Your guests are there to watch you get married, not take pictures, yes they will take the odd picture here and there, and some of them may be good, but are they going to be standing in front of you while you are saying your vows in the registry office…no they will only get the back of your head.
Point 2) using your guest pictures mean that there will be no continuity in Pictures, lots of different cameras means lots of different styles
Point 3) group shots won’t work as your friends won’t be in the pictures.
Point 4) Friends get bored of tacking pictures after a while and that is when the key elements can be lost, for example as traditional as it is how would you feel if you didn’t get a shot of you cutting the cake of that Kiss
Point 5) do your guests have a backup plan if the camera brakes or the memory card gets deleted?
Point 6) do they have insurance?
Point 7) will they get all those little detailed shots that captured your months of hard work, table decorations, seating plans etc. can all get lost
Point 8] this is your wedding, THE most important day of your life, do you really want to leave your memories in the hands of a few drunken guests?
So with those points made, (a little more subtly than that I have to say) my couple then agreed with me and said that they really did need a wedding photographer……..BUT how do they get over the issue of budget??
Their budget hadn’t change, they still couldn’t afford the £1500 – £5000 it costs for an average wedding photographer, so I told them I would go away do some homework and see what I could find.
And that is just what I did and I can tell you I was blown away with the responses!
I asked my friends on twitter first of all if they could advise me, and to my delight in 24 hours I had 7-8 solid responses back from professional photographers all willing to take on the challenge and offer my couple the wedding photography they wanted……….but how?
Here are the key elements to look for:
1) Less hours – yes it’s great to have a photographer there all day from your getting ready to the first dance, but if you can’t afford this then how about getting coverage for just 3-4 hours? This means that at least you get good professional photographs for the key and most important elements of the day, the ceremony, the first kiss, the reception, a few group shots and the toasts. In an ideal world yes you want someone where all day, but at least this way you get the main bits covered.
2) Disc only – a big part of the expense in some of the photography packages is the album, so how about you forget about this for now and ask if your chosen photographer will do a disc only option (maybe you can use your wedding present money to buy an album later on?) this way you still get the key shots to print out and put in frames around the house.
3) 2nd shooter – have you considered looking at hiring a 2nd shooter? These photographers are people who have good experience working with professionals in their filed, who may be in training. They often relish the idea of having their own wedding to shoot, and would love to shoot your wedding for a smaller price to gain the experience. This way you get a photographer all day at a fraction of the cost.
4) Student photographer – Have you thought about contacting your local university and seeing if any of the photography students are up to the job? Students are often crying out for experience
5) Alternative wedding– if you are having a wedding that is alternative, off beat, or un traditional, you may find that you have photographers falling over themselves to take your pictures. Many photographers want to shoot weddings that are different to add some new images to their portfolios, so if you tell them your wedding has an alternative edge you may see the prices drop
6) Late availability – you may also find that if you book late you may get a cheaper price…many photographers may be booked up, but those that aren’t may offer you a discount for doing the job on short notice (don’t hold me to this, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get!)
7) Shop around – ask the question, you never know what you may find. Do your research and you may be surprised with the results…I have to say I was!
So I hope that has helped? And for those photographers out there that may be reading this, by no means am I suggesting that all couples do this, these ideas are there for people who really can’t afford a professional. In an ideal world everyone will have to photographer of their choice, have a lovely engagement shoot with them, build up a great relationship with them before the wedding, and then come away with gorgeous photography and a gorgeous wedding album…………BUT if you really can’t afford the full package their other options out there for you to try.
But PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE do not get your friends to take your pictures for you, I have heard too many people say after their weddings that this is what they did and totally regretted it.
Remember you only get married once, and you want those memories to stay with you forever…..your wedding photography is going to be your memory, so make sure you get some good ones!
Oh I forgot to mention…My couple! After my research, I gave them all their options and they decided to go for a lovely photographer (I won’t name names) who offered a digital only all day package for a fraction of the price, to gain some more experience after being out of the market for a year. The couple are over the moon that they listened to my advice and now have a professional photographer all day at a price they can afford!……every ones a winner!