Wedding Photos: Saving Money One Shot at a Time
What's the point of spending so much money on the dress, the cake and the flowers if it all only lasts for one day? Hence the importance of wedding photos. People take the hiring process for wedding photographers pretty seriously, as they should, but in this economic climate, dropping $6k on a photo album might seem a bit extravagant. Worry not; there are still a number of ways to document the bouquet throws and exchanged vows without breaking the bank.
While going the route of finding a less-expensive photographer with positive reviews on a site like Pictage is a no-brainer, there are other ways to cut costs without going with an inexpensive (or inexperienced) professional. Event planner Lesley Cohen, who founded LelyCo Events, thinks there are plenty of places to cut costs in weddings, but skimping on the photographer is generally a bad idea. "My recommendation is to hire the best photographer you can find but forego the prints, albums and such until you have the money to invest down the road." Cohen says.
A lot of photographers will offer expensive packages, but those options may include extraneous services. Boudoir photos? Probably something people can live without. In that case, try to negotiate a la carte or hourly pricing rather than going with the pricier all-inclusive option. One photographer that Cohen recommends, Lori Love, offers packages starting at $3,500. But with a coffee-table book, unlimited images and a second photographer, the hourly rate of $350 might be a more cost-effective option.
Speaking of hourly rates, most weddings yield more photos than the bride and groom know what to do with, and that's before they even receive the professional photos. Have a few friends with digital cameras that relish playing paparazzi? Ask them to go crazy on the wedding day. That way, you can employ a professional photographer at an hourly rate for the most important photographs and fill in the gaps with photos from friends and family. Think of it as a sort of wedding photography crowdsourcing. Of course there may be a more limited number of artsy shots, and touch-ups might not be an option, but (for the more practical among us), having a wide array of images from the Big Day is the most important thing.
Another economical option is to hire a photojournalist from a local newspaper. This option could also potentially take a bit more work on the part of the bride and groom. First, there's tracking down the photographer, then the task of tracking down references. Professional photojournalists also may not offer the add-ons of a typical wedding photographer, so the wedding album may become a do-it-yourself project instead of a finished product delivered to your doorstep.
Rather than seeking out a photographer on your own, there's also the option of companies like Bella Pictures, which has a database of photographers to choose from. It might be a slightly less personal experience, but the rates are good and most of the details are handled for you. After the company gets a sense of what the bride and groom are looking for, Bella serves as a sort of eHarmony and about two months before the wedding, the company recommends a photographer that seems like a good fit (and bride and groom have veto power). While there are pricier packages like the "elegante" at $6400, there is also the "Simplicity," which includes the basics: six hours, one photographer and digital negatives for $1950.
And for those willing to take a larger leap, there is always the possibility of contacting an art student. Of course, hiring someone who is less experienced is not for the feint of heart, but amazing things can come from raw talent and that kind of talent abounds at places like the Corcoran School of Art and Design.
Have other ideas for saving money on wedding photographs? Let us know in the comments.
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