Wedding photography is expensive, I know. In the photographer’s defense, there is a lot of time, equipment, and backend costs that goes into providing a breathtaking set of images… but it still doesn’t lessen the fact that a good photographer often costs a large chunk of money.
It always breaks my heart when someone says that they just can’t afford a mid- to high-end photographer, so they’ll just make due with someone that costs less, even if they don’t love this person’s work. Weddings are one of the most important days of a person’s life…months, sometimes even years, go into planning just one day…. all of that should be remembered in amazing photographs that reflect all the amazing moments and details of the day (because, face it, you’re not going to remember what your bridesmaids’ dresses looked like in 20 years).
So, how can you afford that awesome photographer that is just out of your price range?
1. It’s only half down. My first tip is something to lessen the heart attack when you see the price tag. I personally ask for a signed contract and 50% of the cost to hold a date, and this is a pretty standard practice. I don’t know any photographer that requires the full package amount to be paid months in advance. Half of $2,500 is quite a bit of money that you don’t need to worry about right away.
Most couples book their photographer anywhere from a year to six months in advance, so that’s 12-6 months to save. Alright, so that’s still $100-$200 a month that you have to set aside, which is still sounds like a lot. But you’re most likely going to have wedding showers, bridal showers, etc. where you’ll be getting gifts, often monetary gifts. You’re going to get lots of unexpected money, why not invest it in your photographer? Don’t forget, those pictures are going to be around when all the food and flowers and gone.
2. Register for photography services. Which brings me to my next point, you can always register for photography services. I mean, do you really need another toaster or a set of china that you’ll use once a year? For my couples, I can set up online registration where friends and family can purchase photography credit for you. It’s extremely simple, no cost to you, and all you have to do is provide people with the link to the registration site. In fact, it’s even easier than registering for that set of china with the flower pattern.
3. Additional add-ons aren’t due up front. I also get people worried about the additional costs after the wedding – buying an album, canvases, or prints. I tell them to totally forget about that cost until after the wedding. First of all, you’re going to get gift money that you’re not expecting. Secondly, you have up to a year to order prints and albums (with me at least), there is plenty of time to save. Wedding costs add up fast, don’t worry about everything all at once or you’re going to get overwhelmed.
4. Substitution. Sometimes I meet with a couple that really loves my work but just can’t make finances work. Even after they’ve pooled money and borrowed from parents, they’re just a few hundred away from my price range. I will often substitute or remove small items out of the package so my base costs are brought a little lower and I can afford to transfer that savings on to them. This generally only works for a few hundred dollars (really, I wasn’t kidding about those backend costs, they’re killer), but sometimes that’s all you need. And hey, that few hundred dollars could cover the cost of favors.
This isn’t meant to say that you have to go thousands out of your price range for a certain photographer, definitely not, I don’t want anyone to completely overstretch their budget…. but if you’re within several hundred dollars of your budget for a photographer, these tips are golden.
*Other photographers and brides, feel free to reblog, just link back to this post.