(Part of The Smart Bride’s 201 Smart Tips for Saving on Your Wedding)
The most important tip for saving money on your photographs is to approach the task of looking for a wedding photographer with a budget and requirements.
- How many photos do you want?
- Where do you want them taken? (ie do you want a photographer present for the whole day, or just to take formal and family photographs?).
- Do you want a wedding album done for you?
- Do you want enlargements?
- Do you want your enlargements framed?
- How important is it to get the negatives as well?
Disposable cameras at the table. A really fun idea and you would be surprised how many good quality wedding photos you will end up getting – and cheap!.
Money Saving tip: You will usually pay a premium for the special wedding disposable cameras that come in lovely wedding colours, unless you can organise with a supplier to buy bulk and get a discount. The best way to buy these cameras is to get the standard Kodak or Fuji from Kmart or Big W – they usually stock the cheapest disposable cameras. Or try e-bay where you can often pick up a bargain. They look plain and will not be nicely decorated like the wedding specific cameras, but will do exactly the same job.
Cheaper than having cameras at every table is to give them to a few designated friends only and task them with documenting the wedding reception. Also, many couples are finding that when cameras are spread around the tables the resulting photographs aren’t very good. Limiting who you give cameras to can aim to increase the quality issues as well.
Having a wedding photographer present for the whole day is more expensive. If you want someone to capture you getting dressed and ready for the wedding ceremony on film, consider getting a friend to take these photos, as they are less likely to make it into your formal album anyway. Just having the professional wedding photographer present for the ceremony and part of the reception will save you.
Know exactly what you want from your wedding photographer and your wedding photos before you start. Speak to lots of people who are already married to get their ideas and advice because changing your mind later and wanting more photos or a different album will cost you, and cost you big (this is how a lot of wedding photographers make the big bucks!)
Once again, choosing a wedding in the low season or on any day other than a Saturday will save you on your wedding photographer.
Do your wedding album yourself. This will not only create a more intimate album because it includes the photos and moments that are most special to you, but it will help cut costs.
Get all of your photos in digital format only and get your wedding album printed through Momento at www.momento.com.au. Momento actually binds photos into a hard cover book, for a very reasonable price. What a great idea for a wedding album! You can either design the layout, colour scheme and text yourself, use templates, or they have a list of designers who will do it for you. Even better? Momento offer gift vouchers, what a perfect wedding gift!!! Similar albums are also available from most photo stores, Officeworks and Big W (however the quality is not as good).
Sometimes choosing a wedding photography package instead of purchasing all of the items separately can save you money, but sometimes it also means you get things that you don’t really want or need, so be careful to make sure you know exactly what you want before you go and talk to wedding photographers.
If you are looking at getting a professional wedding photographer to do your wedding for you, start with a photography package and then negotiate down. Ask them if there is any room to move price wise, or what the package would cost if you removed x.
Be careful about choosing the least expensive wedding package, as you may end up paying more in the long run if you decide you want enlargements or extra prints that aren’t included.
Be aware of all the extras you may be offered when talking to a wedding photographer. While it may sound appealing to have a fully framed portrait ready for you when you return from your honeymoon, you will most likely pay more for this when it is part of a package than if you do it yourself. It is sometimes hard to know what is value for money and where wedding photographers are making their real money. Don’t be afraid to say no, even if “that’s what everyone else is doing”.
While a wedding photographer’s core skill is (or should be!) their photography, don’t forget that just like everyone else in the wedding industry, they are also sales people and they are trying to get your business and make money out of you. Take away their information with you and never ever ever sign up with a wedding photographer or pay a deposit on the spot.
Book as early as possible, at least 6 months from your wedding date if possible. Leaving it until the last minute will mean finding a good photographer is more difficult and you may end up paying more. Choosing your photographer should be almost as high on your list of things to do as choosing your reception venue.
Hire a university photography student, or student from a specialised photography school. Students usually want as much practice as they can get and many will do your wedding for you at cost price (ie only charge for the cost of the film and developing), and will really appreciate the opportunity. You will be guaranteed a highly original portfolio of photos (as oposed to professional wedding photographers who often take the same kind of photos for every wedding).
Negotiate keeping the negatives. A lot of wedding photographers will not release the negatives to you, but if you can get your hands on them you will be able to get reprints and enlargements yourself (often at a cheaper rate).
Have a talented family member take your photos for you. In the digital age, photos are becoming easier to manipulate so even the not-so-good photos can be enhanced. And you don’t even need a digital camera to do this as most photo shops are able to scan your prints onto a CD for you and you can edit them from there. The same goes for the video. I had my brother and a cousin use their own video cameras to video the ceremony and different parts of the reception. I then downloaded Microsoft Movie Maker (free from microsoft.com) and edited it myself. I used the footage from the different cameras for different angles of the same moment and for contrast. My only costs were blank videos for the video camera and a blank DVD for the final product.
Have a list of the family photographs you would like to have taken (ie the names of the people you would like in each photo). Check with key family members as to their preferences for photos as well to make sure all bases are covered, and then choose someone to coordinate reading out your list on the day. This will mean that your photo time is more coordinated and it will save a lot of time taking photos and will save your photographer time (and ultimately on costs).
The Wedding Dress
The Bridesmaid Dresses, The Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire
Hair, Makeup & Jewellery, Shoes
The Ceremony & Music
The Reception Venue, Catering & Drinks
The Flowers, Cake & Bonbonniere (Favors)
Invitations, The Bridal Shower, Hen’s Night & Buck’s Night
The Gifts & The Honeymoon