Money saving tips to reduce the cost of your Wedding Photography
Your wedding photos will last a lifetime, and so you might quite rightly be feeling rather sentimental about choosing a Wedding Photographer - but this shouldn’t get in the way of seeking out discounts, cheap deals and less expensive wedding photography options.
Cheaper wedding photography is achievable, just follow The Chief Bridesmaid's advice to get better value from your photography budget
Amateur vs. Professional Wedding Photographers
With almost every wedding guest being armed with a digital camera these days, you may decide that you can save on the cost of a professional wedding photographer altogether. If you have friends or family who are good photographers and who wouldn't mind standing in, this is by far your cheapest option. Relying upon an amateur isn't without its risks, and so my advice if you choose to go down this route is to assign two or three people to the task so that you aren’t dependent upon just one person to cover your big day. Incidentally, all the photos on this site of my wedding day are taken by the wedding guests (e.g amateur photographers) - and they aren't half bad at all!
However, if you do decide that a professional photographer is a must, it's essential you ask him the right questions to make sure you know exactly WHAT you are paying for so that you can determine that your wedding photographer is as cheap as he seems. We didn't and what we thought was a relatively cheap wedding photographer turned out to cost a fortune - our wedding budget really suffered as a result. For a list of good questions to ask your Wedding Photographer check out the section as the foot of this page.
Reduce Wedding Photography costs by making it the responsibility of all the guests
This is my all time favourite Chief Bridesmaid tip!: Leave out blank discs and stamped addressed envelopes on a table. Accompany this with a sign asking for guests to download their photos of your Wedding onto a disc and post them back to you. You'll get a far wider spread of photos than one photographer could ever achieve, and it is an awesome thing to look forward to when you get back from your honeymoon.
Cut Wedding Photography costs by keeping it simple
Purchase the basic wedding photography package from a talented wedding photographer, rather than a more elaborate package from a less skilled one. By paying for the photographer's expertise only via the cheapest package, you will not only get fabulous photos of your big day, it will cost less and you'll make time to save up for the album and prints after the wedding day.
Get the CD or negatives of your Wedding photos to make positive savings
Choose a photographer who will let you keep the negatives or a disc of the digital images (or negotiate the cost of this into their fee when you book them). If you have them to keep, you can print them as and when you please for both yourselves and your friends and family. Otherwise you may find that your Wedding photographer will charge you or your guests every time they want a print.
Save money by making your own Wedding album
With our wedding photographer, it was cheaper to get a disc of the shots and make our own wedding album than buy the one he offered. Buying your own wedding album and putting in the photos yourself is a cheap option, yet it's really good fun and gives you complete control on how it’s laid out! Photobox and Bob’s books both offer a good value photobook service which is worth checking out. Photobox regularly offer discounts and special offers on their photobooks so it's worth putting yours together online and then waiting for a deal to come along before completing your order. Their last special offer was 2 for 1 so it's definitely worth the wait. Look out too in the Metro newspaper for occasional vouchers with a discount code giving £5 off Bob’s books. I’ll publish the details of any special offers such as these in my The Chief Bridesmaid newsletter - sign up to receive these alerts.
Digital photography is often cheaper
Digital photography usually costs less than film, yet is virtually as good quality. Many wedding photographers now use digital cameras - which can mean cheaper wedding photography for you! It may also mean that they capture more images of your day - offering you more choice when it comes to putting together your wedding album.
Every Second Costs
The longer your wedding day, or at least, the longer you want your wedding photographer to be there, the greater his fee could be. Since wedding photographers often charge based on the number of hours they will spend at your wedding, a shorter "wedding day" can help you make big savings on your photography budget.
Shop around to get the best value photography
Obtain plenty of quotations from wedding photographers you like the look of – this will allow you to get a good price, give you a means of cost comparison and leverage for haggling! Of course, which wedding photographer you pick shouldn't just depend on prices – spend some time looking at their portfolios and choose a photographer who will take shots you'll love.
Explore cheap Wedding photographers in training
Why not contact the local art college and see if any students on the photography course would like to use your wedding as a coursework project? They’ll make cheap wedding photographers, yet they will still have experience in taking good shots. I'd suggest that you have a good look through their portfolio first and perhaps choose a two or three students to participate - that way, if one doesn't do a good job or turn up on the day, you'll still have others there to cover him.
Recommendations and testimonials can save you tears and tantrums
When choosing a wedding photographer, ask around for recommendations from friends or family who have got married in the same area. This is the most reliable way to select your wedding photographer, regardless of whether you are looking for a cheap wedding photographer or have a big photography budget. Recommendations will also help ensure you're not just choosing on the basis of price (tempting, we know).
Before signing up a Wedding Photographer, ask them these questions to ensure they are as cheap as they seem!
Once you've made a short list of wedding photographers who you really like, it's worth asking them the following list of questions - you may find they aren’t as inexpensive as they seemed.
- What exactly are you getting for your money? Is their fee just for attendance at your Wedding day or are they throwing in a CD or Album of the photos too?
- If you're going for a wedding album, make sure you know the full cost of the style you like - plus the cost of any additional extras (like albums for your parents) you may wish to include. Also find out the cost per photo of any additional photos you decide to buy. My brother, who is a photographer, advised me that Photobox sell professional quality standard prints at a fraction of the cost that many photographers charge - so you may find that it's heaps cheaper to get copies of any additional shots that you like on disc, rather than as developed photos. Just make sure you clarify exactly how much this is with the Wedding Photographer before signing up with them - or you could find that they aren’t as cheap as they seem.
-If you're getting the photos supplied on a disc rather than in an album (generally a much cheaper option), find out exactly how many photos you will be given - all of them? Or just a selection limited to a specific number? If you're only being offered say 60 photos of your wedding day, how much will it cost to have more? I can't stress enough that this should all be put down in your contract before signing ANYTHING. We thought that we'd gone for an inexpensive Wedding photographer until we discovered, annoyingly AFTER the wedding, that he wanted to charge us £15 per additional image that we wanted beyond the first 90 shots. Outrageous.
- Is VAT additional or included? This can make the difference between a cheap wedding photographer and a rather expensive one
- Are the photographer's transport fees included? Does he require catering?
- Does the Wedding photographer have any professional credentials? Check that your photographer is accredited by the British Institute of Professional Photographers (LBIPP, ABIPP or FBIPP), The Master Photographers Association or the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, all of whom bind their members to a Code of Professional Conduct. This is your way of ensuring that your photographer will behave in a professional manner at all times.
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