Finding a photographer for our wedding was perhaps the most difficult part of my wedding planning. I went and interviewed with countless photographers, and I just couldn't find one that felt right. Some charged by the hour, some charged by the hour and received costs for wedding packages, and some just charged for packages, and I really had no idea which way to turn. Also, it appeared that my wedding photography would be the most costly part of the wedding, more than serving a dinner for 175+ people. I just couldn't accept that, and tried to find any alternative I could. As you know by now, I don't agree with vendors charging more than they normally would simply because they are suppling for a wedding instead of a family. So, if you are looking for some way to cut your photography budget without losing quality photographs, here are some great things I found out to help you save money and still get great quality photographs.
1. Check your Local Colleges
Most colleges have a photography department full of competent, talented photographers. Not only that, but these students have a creativity and eagerness that you find lacking in some photographers who have been in the business a long time. Call the photography department and speak to one of the professors, and ask for a meeting with one or several of their top students. They'll know who will do the best job. Ask the student to name you a price and let you know what is available with the equipment they have. Our wedding photographer had an advanced digital camera, and was able to burn all images to a CD for us to keep and make our own prints at home, as well as doing some larger prints and mattes, and albums. Not only that, but she had a website where all her pictures were posted, so family and friends could visit and purchase pictures from her website as well.
2.Talk to your Family and Friends
You'd be surprised who your family and friends really know. A friend of theirs who does photography on the side, or out of their home for the pure enjoyment of it? No doubt there is someone they work with who isn't listed in the phone book, doesn't have a professional studio, but who can still produce quality wedding photographs at a fraction of the cost of a studio.
3. Don't be Afraid to Negotiate the Deal
I don't know why, but most people today are afraid to negotiate costs. If your photographer only charges by the packages they provide, and not the hours, then don't be afraid to ask for different packages if none of them attract your attention. If you don't see yourself needing six 8x10 photographs, then ask instead for the number you need, and ask what difference that would have on your package cost. Also, see if you can get a discount on your engagement or bridal portraits if you hire them to do your wedding photography. Remember, it never hurts to ask, and all they can do is say no.
For me, my wedding photography was the most important part of the day. I wanted to be able to remember the day for years to come with quality pictures. I ended up hiring someone who had majored in photography, but worked another job, and did photography for families and couples on the weekends for extra money. I was extremely pleased with the way the pictures turned out. Remember that just because you are hiring a photographer for a wedding does not mean you need to pay out the nose for it.
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