(Photo credit: Alante Photography, Seattle)
Welcome to our last week of how to plan a wedding on a budget! I can’t believe we made it to the end! Thanks for sticking with me, and I sincerely hope it has been as fun and educational for you to read as it has been for me to write.
Here’s what we have covered so far:
- Saving Money on Invitations
- Saving Money on Flowers
- Saving Money on Venues (Part 1)
- Saving Money on Venues (Part 2)
- Saving Money on Catering
This week, we’ll be tackling wedding photography -
Photography is often one of the most important vendors for your wedding day. Besides your wedding planner and videographer (if having one), your photographer is the only other vendor that will be with you from start to finish on your wedding day. It is imperative that you both get along with him or her. If either one of you is not comfortable with you wedding photographer, it will show through in your photos.
Negotiate - but be respectful! While most couples find the cost of wedding photographers outrageous, do keep in mind that what you are not seeing is countless hours of behind the scenes work. Photographers spend an untold amount of time on sifting through the just plain bad photos, editing and doing touch-ups to the good photos, then compiling them into a format that is easy for you to look through and choose your favorites. So when you are negotiating price, remember to be respectful that a lot of time and energy past the wedding day goes into your photos and that these are memories you will have forever.
That being said, there are a lot of ways to negotiate what you’re getting in your package. As with the theme with everything else we’ve talked about, have a budget in mind as to what you want to spend. Here is a great example of where you should actually share that number in your first meeting with your potential photographer. This will help them guide you to the packages and products that are right for you and will fit within your budget. If you’re budget only allows for 6 hours of wedding coverage, don’t be afraid to ask for that 7 hour at no additional charge. Some will say ‘no’, but some will say ‘yes.’
Be sure you’re comparing apples to apples
If you are interviewing more than one photographer (which you should), be sure that you are comparing like costs. While one photographer may charge less per hour, they may charge more for the album or photos you’d like to order than the other photographer you interviewed. Be sure to get pricing charts from every photographer you interview so you can really see your overall cost, and what will be the best option for you. If you will not be purchasing an album or photos, your best option would be to use the less per hour photographer.
Find a Newbie
Often times, there are extremely talented photographers out there who are just looking at building their portfolios. You can search Craigslist.com or even your local college for wedding photographers. You can find some amazing deals out there using this option! Do be smart however – ask to see the work they’ve already done and you will need to enter into a formal contract with this person. Even if they don’t generally use one, have them draft one up explaining the type of service you’re receiving, how many photographers will be there and for how long, when the photos will be ready, etc. This will protect you if for some reason they fall through on their end.
Another great option is to shop the local, smaller wedding shows. Here, you may find a wedding photographer who can’t afford to get into the larger shows, but is a legitimate business again, just trying to bulk up their portfolio. Use the same tips I talked about in the catering segment to approach a photographer at a wedding show (remember cash talks, go in on the slower day, etc.).
Do keep in mind when using a new wedding photographer, that they might take longer than someone who has been doing this for years. You will need to build in extra time for photos.
Opt for a disc of images rather than an album
One of the biggest trends right now, especially with the growing popularity of Snapfish.com and other similar sites, is to look for a photographer who will just give you the disc of images rather than getting the traditional wedding album. This is a HUGE cost cutting option for you as albums are one of the biggest expenses.
You can generally find a photographer who will do a maximum image edit of 200 images, but give you all the remaining images unedited. This gives you access to getting your favorites all touched up and nice, but still, if you want to send your friend a copy of the photo they were in, you still have access to that.
Be sure that the photographer who does this option gives you a copy of their copyright release. Otherwise you may be up a creek when going to professionally print off your photos.
I’d love to hear how you saved money on finding your wedding photographer or if you have any additional questions. Just pop on over to the New Creations Facebook page, ‘like’ me, and ask away!
Rebecca Grant is owner of New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination. She has been in the wedding business over seven years now, beginning her career in Honolulu, Hawaii, then moving back home to Seattle and launching her business here in November 2009. She’s now one of Seattle’s premiere wedding planners. Because of her experience in Hawaii, her specialty is working with Asia-Pacific Brides; specifically, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian and Samoan weddings, however, she also does work a good portion of the time with traditional Western couples.