Sure, hiring a professional wedding photographer could cost you anywhere from $2,000 to several thousand dollars. But I think in the end it’s well worth it. I’m all about saving money but your wedding pictures are the only thing that you will have to relive your special day. Besides, it really doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg to have beautiful wedding pictures, there are several simple ways to cut your wedding photography costs.
#1 Location, location, location
The closer the wedding photographer is to your venue the better. Choosing a local photographer within your city or nearby cities means you won’t have to pay them a travel distance fee. It also means there is less chance of them being delayed the day of.
#2 Less time = Less money
A great way to cut your wedding photography costs is by shortening the length of time you contract the wedding photographer for. For instance, you can have them only photograph up to the cake cutting. Most likely by then they’ve captured all the important moments, as well as plenty of after dinner dancing. They don’t need to stay till the very end of the party, besides nobody wants to have their picture taken at the end of the night when they are exhausted and not looking their best.
#3 Experience counts
In order to get great wedding pictures you don’t have to hire the pro with 20 years experience. By hiring a wedding photographer with less experience you will likely get someone who is hungry, doesn’t know their worth yet and who’s prices are still reasonable. Do try to look for someone who has been a wedding photographer for a few years at least, not a photographer fresh out of school. They will have the necessary experience at a fraction of the cost.
#4 K.I.S.S. (keep it short and simple)
Get only the basic package and skip all the added frills. You could drastically cut your wedding photography costs by having the wedding pictures printed out yourself, putting together your own album and even creating your own photo book. I did all this and it came out great, best of all I only printed the photos that I needed and created a photo book that was exactly what I wanted.
If you know of a professional photography lab in your city you can have all your wedding pictures (regular 4×6 and any enlargements) printed for a fraction of the cost of what your photographer would charge. If you don’t know of any professional photo labs; you can look them up in the yellow pages, call your local photography school or university photography program school and ask them.
You could also look online, there are many great professional quality printing services online that use professional paper and processing. Many of these services can also create many cool specialty items (canvas wraps, keepsake boxes, wedding albums, wedding photo books etc.) very inexpensively.
Don’t laugh, but we actually used CVS to print out our photos, and the quality was perfect.
#5 Other ways to save – that I don’t recommend
By hiring inexperienced photographers, friends and family or using disposable cameras you could save a lot of money but you’d be gambling. I don’t recommend any of these, but have listed the pros and cons of each here.