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Photography Question 
Christine 
 

Saving Money on Wedding Photography


I am getting married in June of 2006, and my fiance and I are looking to save money on wedding photography. Does anyone have any advice? Can someone also tell me why it costs so much for wedding photographers?


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2/25/2005 8:35:29 PM

 
  You pay for experience. Equipment isn't cheap (you're always updating). Wedding photographers only work 40-50 days a year. They have to be onsite for 8-10 hrs, go to the photo lab (check the work), and look through about 1000 photographs. Printing is expensive, books are expensive (and a photographer spends about 8 hours making the book). The photographer has to go to all the meetings, expos, and conventions to keep up with the technology. And half the money they make they spend on advertising - Anywhere from $15,000 to $4,0000 a year (I should know). If you want it cheap, get married Mon.-Thur. My cheapest price right now is $500, and you get 2-CDs and the rest is up to you (on Hawaii, Oahu).


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2/26/2005 2:03:05 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I would suggest you try to save money on other things in the wedding. Do you really need a limo? Do you really need to serve an expensive meal? What will be more important to you in 10-20 years? If you don't get good photographs, you will regret it.


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2/26/2005 1:00:55 PM

 
Debbie K. Faulkner   Look around not go with the first photographer.. Just take the basics.. just how many pictures do you need..you don't need uncle bob twice removed..


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3/1/2005 2:23:06 PM

 
Jayda E. Maher   I am a new photographer but I have done a few weddings. I used digital and I give the bride and groom a picture CD with all of the images with some changed to black and white or sepia and added special effects to others. I can charge less by letting them make their own prints and They also save money. I will take 3-400 shots at each wedding.


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3/1/2005 2:50:03 PM

 
Gregg    Hire a pro to take just the must get shots a t the Church before the ceremony. (usually 2 hours) Have the Uncles Georges cover the rest.

Please do not treat the wedding photography as just another expense like dinner napkins. After the wedding there is no re-takes and the photos are your ongoing memory.


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3/1/2005 3:22:10 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
 
 
 
Quality is better than quantity!!!

Definitely don't skimp on your photos, or you will end up with an inexperienced person doing your photos. Lighting and exposure is very hard to master and I definitely wouldn't want someone doing my photos if they didn't have the experience.

I paid AU$2600 for my wedding photos a year ago and don't regret spending that type of money.

I saved in other areas, found a lady that makes wedding cakes at her home - so it was cheaper.

I hired Hertz "Jags" for $120 each all day instead of $1500 for 4 hours.

It was cheaper for us to give a donation to World Vision on behalf of our guests than to buy individual gifts for them (and it was more worthwhile!)

I got a $2000 dress for $900 on the sales rack of a Bridal Boutique - you can save heaps here by not getting one made to measure - if you are worried about your weight going up or down, then get a dress with a lace up back - fixes the problem.

Borrow what you can - I borrowed my shoes, veil and hoop - saved me hundreds!!!

BUT DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR PHOTOS!!!!! When you are old and grey and your memory is gone - these are what you will look at to remember your big day!


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3/1/2005 3:31:16 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
 
 
 
Quality is better than quantity!!!

Definitely don't skimp on your photos, or you will end up with an inexperienced person doing your photos. Lighting and exposure is very hard to master and I definitely wouldn't want someone doing my photos if they didn't have the experience.

I paid AU$2600 for my wedding photos a year ago and don't regret spending that type of money.

I saved in other areas, found a lady that makes wedding cakes at her home - so it was cheaper.

I hired Hertz "Jags" for $120 each all day instead of $1500 for 4 hours.

It was cheaper for us to give a donation to World Vision on behalf of our guests than to buy individual gifts for them (and it was more worthwhile!)

I got a $2000 dress for $900 on the sales rack of a Bridal Boutique - you can save heaps here by not getting one made to measure - if you are worried about your weight going up or down, then get a dress with a lace up back - fixes the problem.

Borrow what you can - I borrowed my shoes, veil and hoop - saved me hundreds!!!

BUT DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR PHOTOS!!!!! When you are old and grey and your memory is gone - these are what you will look at to remember your big day!


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3/1/2005 3:32:12 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
 
 
 
Quality is better than quantity!!!

Definitely don't skimp on your photos, or you will end up with an inexperienced person doing your photos. Lighting and exposure is very hard to master and I definitely wouldn't want someone doing my photos if they didn't have the experience.

I paid AU$2600 for my wedding photos a year ago and don't regret spending that type of money.

I saved in other areas, found a lady that makes wedding cakes at her home - so it was cheaper.

I hired Hertz "Jags" for $120 each all day instead of $1500 for 4 hours.

It was cheaper for us to give a donation to World Vision on behalf of our guests than to buy individual gifts for them (and it was more worthwhile!)

I got a $2000 dress for $900 on the sales rack of a Bridal Boutique - you can save heaps here by not getting one made to measure - if you are worried about your weight going up or down, then get a dress with a lace up back - fixes the problem.

Borrow what you can - I borrowed my shoes, veil and hoop - saved me hundreds!!!

BUT DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR PHOTOS!!!!! When you are old and grey and your memory is gone - these are what you will look at to remember your big day!


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3/1/2005 3:32:31 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  Sorry about that! Not sure why it posted 3 times!


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3/1/2005 3:35:34 PM

 
Maria Melnyk   Dear Christine,
Please re-read the excellent response from Steven, and I would like to add to it. I too have had my share of "Why do you charge so much?" Most of the weddings I photograph cost me on average of $1000 just for the proofs and the album. Nothing else. (And yes, it does vary.) But what about the costs we wedding photographers incur prior to your wedding? We spend years and thousands of dollars in education learning our craft. We go through about 1000 rolls of film before we are qualified enough to photograph your wedding. At $15 per roll, add $15,000 to the cost of education. And we need about $10,000 of equipment to do the job. (That's for cheap equipment.) And it needs repair and replacing. We pay thousands a year for insurance, thousands on advertising, thousands on samples, and thousands on "miscellaneous". Now, what about our time? What would it take to pull you away from your fiance and your family every weekend to go photograph someone's wedding? And on the days we don't have weddings, while you are enjoying time with your family and fiance, we're out testing equipment, testing new films, creating new poses for you to look your best, driving around looking for that perfect prop for your portrait. Do I get to see my family? No, and it's because I'm either preparing for your wedding, photographing it, going through your proofs, designing your album, putting it together, listening to you say "this is printed wrong", and then driving back to the lab to tell them "this is printed wrong". In spite of all this, some of us don't even make enough to feed the families we hardly ever get to see. No, we do not charge too much.


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3/1/2005 7:28:31 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  Maria - I really don't think a response like that was necessary, she was only asking a question. Unless you are in the photography business, you really are nieve to the cost. Just like us photographers are probably nieve as to how much it costs for other professionals to do their jobs properly. But I am sure you've set her straight now.


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3/1/2005 8:32:09 PM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  I did not hired professional photographer for my wedding. I just have 7 of my friends and relatives to take photos for me. I collected 20 rolls of film at the end and took them to developed mysself. I did not find a single one I like. My advice - hire a pro. Natalie has a very good advice.


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3/1/2005 10:26:33 PM

 
Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  Why are you trying to save money on Photography? How much is your dress (worn for a day)? I am an amatuer photographer and could probably just about handle a Wedding assignment.... however I would hate the responsibility of doing it. It is too important. Get a professional. Alternatively get about 6 decent amateurs.... between them you should just about get the job done OK.


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3/1/2005 11:18:20 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Maybe it's the hyperbole that drove up the price.
Where do you live, I've only done weddings for relative, or somebody I liked a lot, but after that story, I'll do yours. $400, plus you pay for the processing, you get all prints and negatives to do what you want.


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3/1/2005 11:53:19 PM

 
Christine    Alright, Thanks so much for all of the wonderful answers. I am acctually writing a paper for an advanced composition class for college and at the same time I am trying to make an informed decision on my wedding photographer.

I was truly interested in the costs that wedding photographers have to deal with. I am not trying to cheat anyone out of the money that they deserve and I do know that I am going to use a professional, I just wanted the opinions of the pros so I could make the best decisions for myself.


I live in Minnesota in the Twin Cities and I know that is one of the reasons that I am finding price differences.


I have another question. does it make photographers mad if you only want a minimum number of hours from them?

I know that I want professional pictures but for the most part on that day I want to have fun with my family and that would be the reason.

I am looking for all the advice that I can get and I only take it as constructive critisim.


Thanks again for all of your help!!


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3/2/2005 9:12:02 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  before you get too apologetic, don't get taken in by that guilt trip, and some of those over indulged numbers.
Practically everyone who's running a wedding shooting business has options of how long they'll stay at the wedding. Don't even worry about that.
If you're looking for cost cutting, what probably would be a good way to go is to find somebody that you feel is good for shooting the ceremony, maybe some posed before or after that. Then you could very well have a friend, if you know anybody that you think has some basic know-how, to do the reception and party afterwards.
Because with that, what people are really wanting is a souvenir of who was there. And it really can be no different than your holiday pictures of friends and family having a good time.


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3/2/2005 9:46:27 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   As a wedding photographer, I don't have any problems with a couple asking for a limited time. I don't work by the hour but by the package. If they don't want a lot of photos, they can order my least expensive package. Of course, there is a limit. I won't spend 8 hours at a wedding shooting my least expensive package but with what you are wanting, a small package would fill the bill.


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3/2/2005 9:50:13 AM

 
Maria Melnyk   Hi, Christine, regarding minimum hours, photographers will not get mad and most are happy to offer smaller packages as well. Some photographers won't do that, however, only because they generally won't be able to photograph anything else that day. Some photographers have 2 or 3-hour packages with unlimited photographs; some have all-day coverage with limited film, and some have a combination. So in spite of my previous comment of how much it costs to photograph a wedding, yes; it is entirely possible to give you great photography for even $300-$400 with small packages. I've done small-package weddings for this price, and I work for good studios that charge these prices as well.
P.S. On a personal note, I feel bad when I'm photographing a limited-time wedding, because that means that the happy couple won't get as many photographs as they should have of their special day, but I fully respect their financial needs, and give them great photographs and service regardless. Congratulations, and the best of luck to you!


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3/8/2005 8:33:57 AM

 
Maria Melnyk   By the way, I strongly apologize if my previous answer on photography costs seemed a little harsh. Even though what I wrote is still true, I do recall that in the week prior to submitting that response I had a hard time explaining to an angry bride-to-be (and her mother) who wanted 12 hours of unlimited photography, all the proofs, a leather album with enlargements, a wall portrait, -- that's not all -- and full-day professionally-edited video, why I could not give them all this for their budget of $500!


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3/8/2005 9:02:06 AM

 
Jennifer Marshall   Christine -- I'm not a professional photographer, but a recent bride who hired a photographer for a short shoot, as I had a VERY small wedding.

Three pieces of advice:

First, think about what you REALLY, REALLY want in terms of wedding photos. I had only immediate family (about 20 people) at my wedding, so I didn't need or want reception shots, and I was happy to find a great photographer who was able to accomodate my needs. Think about the shots you really want: ceremony shots, portrait-type pictures with your husband, bridal party and family, candids at your reception, etc. Do you want a formal 20 or 30 shot album? Do you just want a portrait to hang in your home, with wallets to mail out in thank you notes and smaller portraits for family members?

If all you want at the end of the day are formal poses of you and your husband, maybe you should forget the professional shots on the day of the wedding and set up a portrait shoot afterward. If you want candid shots to put in an album for yourself, ask a friend or two whose photography you like to take pictures on the day. Or you might decide that having a great video, with a formal photo session later, would be the best solution for you.

Your comments about wanting professional photos, but also wanting to have fun with your friends and family, make me wonder if you're worried about the dreaded "overbearing wedding photographer". No offense meant to anyone here, but we've all experienced wedding photographers who want to run things according to their schedules, even if it means interrupting the bride's grandmother's first meeting with the groom. While the photographer is probably just trying to get the "critical" shots he or she was told about ahead of time, the photographer's attitude toward the bride and groom is really important.

If this is the case, try to get a sense of how the photographers you meet with handle different situations at weddings. You may find one (or more) who make you comfortable enough that you'd be willing to have them shoot the reception knowing they won't spoil any of the fun.

The second thing I'd suggest you do is check out the Twin Cities "local" board on TheKnot.com for information about photographers. Sometimes people can get a bit "over the top" with postings on TheKnot, but you I found a lot of good advice there. TheKnot also has a good budget section. Once you've decided what sort of pictures you really want, take a look there to see if your budget is reasonable. If you decide you want traditional coverage, than you should allocate a traditional percentage of the budget to photos.

Finally, when you call photographers to set up an appointment to meet them before you book them, ask them if they'd be available for a partial day. Being able to describe what you want (e.g., photos at the ceremony and portraits of family and the bridal party only; pictures at your parents home of you getting ready, etc.) will help the photographer figure out how much time you will need. You may find it more challenging to find a photographer to do a short wedding in June than at a less busy time of year, but if you ask up front, you won't spend time meeting with people who won't be able to meet your needs.

Good luck and best wishes!


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3/8/2005 12:44:11 PM

 
Maria Melnyk   Gosh, Jennifer, you said it better than many photographers would! Great advice. I just wish to add something to your idea of having portraits done after the wedding. That's fine, with one important exception. Don't do it after the wedding day. It's way too much trouble, and the excitement will be gone from your faces. You'll have to get your gown cleaned, rent the tuxedo again, get dressed, get your hair done, get flowers made again, etc. Do it the old-fashioned way! In the past, the bride and groom went to the studio for their formal portraits after the ceremony, before the reception. I did this years ago as a bridesmaid. You only pay for a studio session, and the photos turn out far better than on location, because the photographer has more control of lighting and things at a studio. Go with your families and your bridal party, and revive a fine tradition!

Here's something else you can do for the wedding itself. Hire a photography student! He or she will be less expensive than an established pro, and far better-trained than your friends and guests. Check out your local photography schools or community colleges. (Just make sure it's a wedding or portrait student, and not a landscape photography student.) Sometimes these photographers will just give you the film they shot, but usually they'll get the pictures printed themselves, and then might be willing to part with everything, possibly even the negatives. But do go to a pro for the portraits.

TheKnot is a great place, but only a small percentage of available photographers actually advertise there. But check it out anyway to get ideas.

If all else fails, we in Chicago here might be willing to travel to another city to photograph your wedding! In either case, I'm sure that most of us by now would love to know what you decide and how everything turns out. Please let us know both before and after your wedding!


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3/8/2005 3:01:47 PM

 
GARY FESPERMAN   First of all good luck to the Bride and Groom to be*****
I'M a photographer. I do weddings,family photos, Portriats,Landscape, Nature, and many other types of photography.
You should ask yourself and the Groom.
What's important to you? Do you want good photos or are you willing to take the chance?
I read one reply that suggested letting
a photo student take your photos. I'M a photography teacher also. Their are many levels of photo students, as their are photographers - so be careful if you decide to do this! However you may get one to take the photos for experience at a modest fee or for free.
But I strongly siggest you hire a Pro for this important day in your lives.
As a Pro. the first question I ask is what do you want? What do you want your photos to be like?
Realize your co opertion and the Grooms is very important and time consuming.
If you want cheap then I suggest you cut back in other areas, in paticular food and drinks.
What you eat today is recycled in a day or two, what you drink in a few hours to a day.
What is the value of this compared the
life and pleasure of the photos you keep?
I also have a package @ $500 - I give
3 sets of CD's - one to the B & G, and one set each to the B&G parents.
Their is a lot of time and cost in doing a wedding. Planning, taking the photos, editing, and time & cost.
As for the photographer taking charge, it is not to be mean and demanding. But to give you the best photos possible under the circumstances. And remember, whoever it is you hire they have an IMPORTANT part in your wedding day*****
You should work out times and paces for
photos in advance, be sure to include the priest when it comes to photos at the church - show respect, but also it's your wedding.
I also suggest you do not wait to later to do your photos - it's not the same and never will be!
And remember Murphy's law. Plan some cushion time/ extra time for photos in case something goes wrong. As often does- example the hair dresser took to long, the makeup artist was late & took to much time ect.
As for limiting time - most photographers may give you prices for time - but remember this usually includes their travel time to and from the events.
If you have to limit their time, I would suggest you do it at the reception, but this means Your dance, cake cutting ect, will have to be done within the hour or two. Then you can Party & Enjoy you guess.
Beat Wishes*****
Gary


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3/26/2005 12:07:48 PM

 
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