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Should we scrimp on photography?

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wolftress

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
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847
My FH and I are on a pretty tight budget, and are looking for ways to cut costs. I know professional photography is pretty expensive, and I was wondering if we should scrimp on that. One of our friends is a photographer, but he does mainly still life catalogue shoots, not people shoots. He took some pictures of our friends'' wedding, and almost all of them were focused on her bust
. I''m not sure I want pictures like that of our wedding... but then again, I don''t have much in the bust area, so we might get lucky!

The other option is asking all our friends with cameras to bring them, and ask them to share the pictures with us later. I''m sure out of all of these pictures, we can find some nice shots? Am also considering putting disposable cameras on every table...

I was wondering if anyone else saved money on this area, and whether you were happy with the results. Any suggestions would be really appreciated!
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193
Date: 1/3/2007 1:04:18 AM
Author:wolftress
My FH and I are on a pretty tight budget, and are looking for ways to cut costs. I know professional photography is pretty expensive, and I was wondering if we should scrimp on that. One of our friends is a photographer, but he does mainly still life catalogue shoots, not people shoots. He took some pictures of our friends'' wedding, and almost all of them were focused on her bust
. I''m not sure I want pictures like that of our wedding... but then again, I don''t have much in the bust area, so we might get lucky!

The other option is asking all our friends with cameras to bring them, and ask them to share the pictures with us later. I''m sure out of all of these pictures, we can find some nice shots? Am also considering putting disposable cameras on every table...

I was wondering if anyone else saved money on this area, and whether you were happy with the results. Any suggestions would be really appreciated!
Your friend''s work speaks from itself: It''s a bust.


As for disposable cameras? No no no and no. Fun if it''s an extra but I will tell you right now, MOST people cannot take good pictures - from both an emotion capturing point of view and an aesthetic point of view.

Don''t skimp, that is my advice. When the dress is put away, the gifts get returned, and the memory fades, all you have are your pictures.
 

AChiOAlumna

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Messages
1,678
I would recommend that this is the one place you DON''T scrimp!! What you may be able to do is not get such an elaborate wedding album, which can cost a lot...

The wedding album is the one tangible thing you have to remember your special day. It''s so worth having someone capture it in the same way that you remember it yourself.
 

E B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
9,488
I agree with TravelingGal. IMO, photography should be the #1 thing to splurge on, not skimp on. It''s the only real thing you''ll have after the wedding has long passed.

Places I''d skimp: invitations (DIY), flowers (DIY), music (DIY with iPod instead of hiring a band or DJ), accessories (cheaper veil, shoes).
 

Trelala

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Messages
138
Noooo! Don''t scrimp on photography!
You can save money on the albums though. My photographer will give us the option of having all the photos on a CD. We plan to skip those $1000+ albums that she offers (yup, they start at $1000, I kid you not). We''ll upload the photos to ofoto.com and make a linen or leather lined album for around $30. That''s good enough for us. Of course we''ll make albums for our parents too.
 

wolftress

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Joined
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Messages
847
Thanks for all the advice and suggestions


I like the idea of saving on the album. If we have the pictures on cd, we can always create our own album when we have a bit more money to play around with. We are making our own invitations, and I am borrowing my accessories from my sister, who got married 3 years ago. Does anyone else have suggestions on how to save? Weddings are so expensive
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Date: 1/3/2007 1:24:32 AM
Author: TravelingGal

Don''t skimp, that is my advice. When the dress is put away, the gifts get returned, and the memory fades, all you have are your pictures.
Emphatically agree. I''d skimp on nearly everything else before I''d skimp on the photographs. Skimp on flowers. Cut out things like toasting glasses and a cake cutting knife that will only gather dust in years to come.

Anyone can shoot a picture, but not just anyone can shoot a GOOD picture. With all the preparation and expense that day brings, the only things left afterward are the photographs that capture the day.

I''ve only been married 2.5 years, and I can''t tell you how many times we''ve looked through the pictures already!

Not to mention, if you plan to have a family, those photographs will be of paramount importance to your children someday.
 

larussel03

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
Messages
1,747
Alot of photographers will let you use them at an hourly rate and give you rights to the CD negatives so you can print them yourself. Maybe you can find someone who does this, only do ceremony and reception photos (can cut a couple hours by not having them photograph you getting ready) and have them leave after the cake cutting?

Also, you can take those pictures that you have the rights to and make your own wedding album...or just not purchase a package with one and use some wedding money that you receive as gifts to buy an album.

We got a great package deal at 2500 for bridal album, 2 parents'' albums and 7 hours of photography, and we get a CD and ownership of the negatives. I forget the hourly rate, but if we did not buy albums it would have been somewhere around 1K-1500...
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
20,009
No!!! It is SO worth it. The day somes and goes SOOO fast. I love, love, LOVE looking over my wedding pics. I just cannot imagine leaving capturing the moment up to fate. There HAS to be an option that would work for you. Even if you just hire them for a few hours (just the ceremony maybe?) If you are really, really on a tight budget do you have a local art school? You could hire a student for dirt cheap. Look at their portfolio first and maybe ask the professors for their top 3 choices. Good luck!
 

ChargerGrrl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 17, 2005
Messages
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Date: 1/3/2007 4:26:29 AM
Author: wolftress
Thanks for all the advice and suggestions


I like the idea of saving on the album. If we have the pictures on cd, we can always create our own album when we have a bit more money to play around with. We are making our own invitations, and I am borrowing my accessories from my sister, who got married 3 years ago. Does anyone else have suggestions on how to save? Weddings are so expensive
Trim your guest list! It''s the sure-fire way to cut costs.

I''d rather score awesome wedding pics than invite uncle ernie/aunt gert and the cousins I see every other year!
 

Cehrabehra

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
11,071
Date: 1/3/2007 1:04:18 AM
Author:wolftress
My FH and I are on a pretty tight budget, and are looking for ways to cut costs. I know professional photography is pretty expensive, and I was wondering if we should scrimp on that. One of our friends is a photographer, but he does mainly still life catalogue shoots, not people shoots. He took some pictures of our friends'' wedding, and almost all of them were focused on her bust
. I''m not sure I want pictures like that of our wedding... but then again, I don''t have much in the bust area, so we might get lucky!

The other option is asking all our friends with cameras to bring them, and ask them to share the pictures with us later. I''m sure out of all of these pictures, we can find some nice shots? Am also considering putting disposable cameras on every table...

I was wondering if anyone else saved money on this area, and whether you were happy with the results. Any suggestions would be really appreciated!
IMO this is the only thing you should NOT skimp on!! get married in jeans and have a single rose and feed your guests pigs in a blanket - - - but do not skimp on the photos!!!! Everything else will come and be gone but the photos. Okay, so I''m exaggerating a bit - but seriously, cut costs on food - very few weddings I remember what I ate.... but photos last a lifetime. The more pics the better - disposable cameras are great IN ADDITION TO professional photos.
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
I agree w/ trim your guest list wholeheartedly. Also, DIY is never a bad thing. Make your own boquet and boutanierres, use the centerpieces offered by the venue, have a brunch instead of a formal dinner, or an afternoon of appetizers, make your own invitations, skip the party favors.
 

dtnyc

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
1,082
Date: 1/3/2007 11:23:53 AM
Author: Cehrabehra


Date: 1/3/2007 1:04:18 AM
Author:wolftress
My FH and I are on a pretty tight budget, and are looking for ways to cut costs. I know professional photography is pretty expensive, and I was wondering if we should scrimp on that. One of our friends is a photographer, but he does mainly still life catalogue shoots, not people shoots. He took some pictures of our friends' wedding, and almost all of them were focused on her bust
. I'm not sure I want pictures like that of our wedding... but then again, I don't have much in the bust area, so we might get lucky!

The other option is asking all our friends with cameras to bring them, and ask them to share the pictures with us later. I'm sure out of all of these pictures, we can find some nice shots? Am also considering putting disposable cameras on every table...

I was wondering if anyone else saved money on this area, and whether you were happy with the results. Any suggestions would be really appreciated!
IMO this is the only thing you should NOT skimp on!! get married in jeans and have a single rose and feed your guests pigs in a blanket - - - but do not skimp on the photos!!!! Everything else will come and be gone but the photos. Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit - but seriously, cut costs on food - very few weddings I remember what I ate.... but photos last a lifetime. The more pics the better - disposable cameras are great IN ADDITION TO professional photos.
I guess I will be the one person who says don't compromise your wedding to have an expensive photographer. Find a good photographer who will allow you to keep the negatives/digital images and then you can order your own prints (mpix.com does very high quality prints- professional quality.) We are doing parents' albums through mypublisher.com (buy one get one free) because honestly our parents don't need an album that is going to last 100 years and we will do our own album through zookbinders or something.

I think it's silly to spend $$$$ on a photographer if you are going to be taking pictures of cheap flowers, have uncomfortable shoes on your feet, and be depriving your guests of a decent meal. They are your guests and I think it would be rude to serve them pB&J so you can have a 6K photographer.

Try and think out of the box w/ regards to a photographer- can you find someone who doesn't "specialize" in weddings? We used an immensely talented professional photographer who typically does not do weddings, and just paid him for his time and he sent me CD's of the high res images. After removing the pics w/ closed eyes etc. we have more than 700 pics. Tons of candids, which I was able to have printed and include w/ thank-you notes, etc. I was able to use a pic of us on our holiday cards that I made through snapfish for a song.

There is a way to get a great photographer w/o paying a ton of $$$.

ETA:
Also I would ask your friends who have decent digitals to bring them and snap away- I got some great shots from friends and know that i have taken pics at weddings that I have sent to the bride and groom that have been used in the albums etc. Even the best photographer can miss a shot - but I wouldn't leave the picture taking up to the guests completely.
 

dtnyc

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
1,082
Date: 1/3/2007 11:56:18 AM
Author: janinegirly
$6 K for a photographer????? is that accurate?
ummm yeah- I know someone who spent that on a photographer.

Lots of the photographers that I loved and are considered highly regarded etc- were more than 3500-4K and completely out of my budget- this was in the Baltimore, MD area, so the influence of the DC area was apparent in pricing.
I spoke w/ my florist who I loved about this and she put it this way- think of your wedding as a CAR- you don''t want to have fancy tires on a car that has a broken transmission or no radio? Everything works together, which is why the budgeting tools on weddingchannel.com and the knot are helpful- they help you determine what should be spent wear.
 

Hopes

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
97
Date: 1/3/2007 1:04:18 AM
Author:wolftress
My FH and I are on a pretty tight budget, and are looking for ways to cut costs. I know professional photography is pretty expensive, and I was wondering if we should scrimp on that. One of our friends is a photographer, but he does mainly still life catalogue shoots, not people shoots. He took some pictures of our friends' wedding, and almost all of them were focused on her bust
. I'm not sure I want pictures like that of our wedding... but then again, I don't have much in the bust area, so we might get lucky!

The other option is asking all our friends with cameras to bring them, and ask them to share the pictures with us later. I'm sure out of all of these pictures, we can find some nice shots? Am also considering putting disposable cameras on every table...

I was wondering if anyone else saved money on this area, and whether you were happy with the results. Any suggestions would be really appreciated!
I was actually thinking of doing something similar, except instead of having a professional photographer come to the wedding, we would just have posed portraits taken instead. The wedding itself might be too simple to take photographs of, so having portraits done that is just the two of us might save us a ton of money (our guest list might be all of... 4 people?). A lot of wedding photos are great because they are the traditional white wedding with a big guest list, but ours will be pretty untraditional in a lot of ways, so I think "why not skip this, too?"

Even if you are doing a big wedding, think about this: the most widely publicized photograph of Tom Cruise and Katie's wedding is a posed one against a simple backdrop. I'm sure theirs would have cost a ton, but I think it's nicer to look at the posed picture, rather than pictures of the bride and groom in the middle of a gazillion people... Am I just weird?
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2002
Messages
9,143
Ladies, you don''t have to spend $6K to get a good photographer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think there is a mistaken assumption that good means outrageously expensive....and that would be a fallacy.

There are TONS of ways to get a great photographer within your budget. Do you need someone for a full 6-8 hours? Do you need parent albums, etc.? There are tons of ways to reduce costs.

In my case, we had a cruise reception (so no dancing, throwing bouquet, etc). My photographer (whose packages start at 2500 and go up to 5K) was willing to work on tailoring to MY needs. I hired her for 3 hours at $300 an hour. That covered a bit of time pre-ceremony, the ceremony in the park (25 min), an hour of pics after the wedding in that park, 30 min drive time to the schooner, and 30 min or so on the schooner shooting cake cutting, father/daughter and mother/son dances.

I got all the proofs included for that price, and option to buy the negatives at the 2-year mark for $120 (which I did).

Another way to cut back: if you want a pro album, you can order it after the fact - when the rest of the weding is done and no more expenses. I ended up spending $800 on an album with her, but it was well after the wedding, so didn''t impact wedding cost.

NO WAY, NO HOW does one have to spend $6K to get a good photographer...if you''re willing to think outside the box.




I happened to order an album from her after the fact. I spent $800 on a 40-page album.
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,009
Where are you getting married?
 

wifey2b

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
772
Strm and I have been thinking about this area too... We plan to do some of our own photography since we dabble in photography. I have done two weddings, and love doing them, and so therefore will probably do most of my own pics of Strm and his best man and his family, and he will probably do a lot of mine. I am not sure, but we are kindda hoping to have some time between the private ceremony and the open house/reception time...so will have to see what is what.
But if you are not confident in someone, then by no means should you use them. Look around...I am sure you can find a deal somewhere.. and as it has already been said - expensive doesn''t mean the best! :D Ask my girlfriend ;} she got a photographer and I arranged most of her pics - giggle... ok habits are hard to break giggle :}
 

ellaila

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Joined
Apr 7, 2006
Messages
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We had our photog for just two hours -- a little of the prep (my makeup being done, my dress hanging up, etc.), the ceremony, some posed photos after the ceremony, and a few shots of the cocktail hour. We didn''t have dancing, just a dinner reception, so we didn''t think we really needed photos of people eating. We paid, I think, $900 for the two hours plus an additional $300 for the digital negatives and the rights and a book of all the proofs in hard copy. We didn''t order any albums from her -- we''ll do our own.

We had disposable cameras on the tables and of course our friends all had digital cameras with them, and while we got some great shots, they are IN NO WAY a substitute for a professional photographer!! Even though we''d seen so many photos of the day, we were blown away when we saw the pro pics -- they capture things your friends and family can''t, believe me! The pro pics completely take you back to every emotion you felt on that day -- or at least they did for us! Worth every penny.

It''ll take some work but you CAN find a good photographer who will be willing to work within your budget. Don''t be afraid to tell them exactly what you''re looking for -- most of the time, they won''t advertise smaller packages but they''ll be willing to do them.

Good luck!!
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
9,143
Date: 1/3/2007 12:26:06 PM
Author: ellaila


It''ll take some work but you CAN find a good photographer who will be willing to work within your budget. Don''t be afraid to tell them exactly what you''re looking for -- most of the time, they won''t advertise smaller packages but they''ll be willing to do them.
Amen.

It pays to ask.
 

sumbride

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
3,867
Location counts for a lot in pricing... we''ve hired the top-rated wedding photographer in Arkansas and he''s only charging us $3k. That''s a LOT for Arkansas, but so not expensive for the DC area, where I live. Where are you located? You don''t have to spend $6k, no way, no how, but make sure you like the work they do and realize that this is your lasting souvenir. Don''t depend on your friends... At my cousin''s wedding, none of the amateur photographs were any good at all, and only a few of the "pro" pics were good, since he went cheap . The guy didn''t know how to adjust for indoor light!
 

HOUMedGal

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Messages
1,831
Nooooooooo, don''t scrimp on your photographer! I agree that you should scrimp in all the other areas first (DIY everything that you can, including flowers, invites, etc). You will be really grateful in the end that you have good pictures, especially ones that really capture the happiness of the day.

That being said, you CAN find good photographers that don''t break the bank. My photographer does photojournalistic style photgraphy (which I love) and he charged $1200 for the whole wedding day, from the girls getting ready till we left the reception (which was about 6 hours total). Then, for $250 extra, we purchased all the pictures on CD''s with the rights to print them however we wanted to. That, I think, is the secret to having good photography at an affordable price. Because we didn''t have to purchase prints or an album or anything, we saved a lot of money. What I ended up doing is creating a photobook myself at mypublisher.com....I was able to use pretty much all the pics I wanted to use (66 pages front and back with 1-4 pics per page) and after I used a 20% off coupon code, the book cost about $132. So for a grand total of $1582, I have ALL of my really great wedding pics on CD, along with a really nice photobook that I designed myself, just how I wanted it.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
oh well looks like i need to reset my budget b/c of course i want nice photos. i''m nervous though b/c there are a few hrs b/ween wedding and reception. i hope i don''t have to have the photog on the clock for the entire stretch.
 

wolftress

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Messages
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Date: 1/3/2007 12:18:03 PM
Author: Tacori E-ring
Where are you getting married?
Thank you for all the great advice! I think I would have really regretted it if all the shots turned out horribly. After all, we only get married once!

We''re getting married in Melbourne, Australia. The average rate for a good photographer is around $2000, $1000 over our budget
I will definitely ask if they can cut costs for us by excluding albums, and we can pay for that in the future.

Just out of curiousity, has anyone had bad experiences with student photographers or amateurs?
 

qtiekiki

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
3,876
I agree with everyone that you shouldn''t skimp on photography. That''s all you have to look back on besides your memory. Definitely ask if they can offer smaller package or a more customized package for your budget. You can try to find freelance photographers instead of a studio; they usually offer better pricing and are more flexible. Student photographer and amateur are a great alternative, just make sure that they have a great portifolio. There''s affordable photographers, but it may just take more research.

P.S. We spent $1300 for unlimited hours, ~ 430 printed pictures and their negatives. No fancy album, but we love our pictures. So it is possible. Good Luck.
 

tanyak

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
209
Don''t skimp on photography, although I wouldn''t break the bank, either.! I''ll just add this. Our photography package was $1,700. It included five hours of shooting, a book of unmarked proofs and one album. Our photog does not sell her rights or offer a high-res CD (I didn''t know to ask before I booked her.) I am really happy with our photos. And I am SHOCKED about the photos our friends/family took and sent us. Blurry photos, dark photos, strange angles. The list goes on. It''s amazing how many people can''t take a decent photo.
 

Kaleigh

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
29,570
I got married 20 years ago, so have no clue what photographers charge now, but it''s the last thing I''d scrimp on. We love looking at our wedding pics, our album etc.. So look around for better packages, and see what you can find. And scrimp on other things, just not your wedding pics. They last forever, whereas the other stuff doesn''t.
 

flopkins

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2004
Messages
2,025
I wouldn''t scrimp TOO much. We got the cheapest pkg from our photog (who is uber expensive) and just added a couple extra hours and bought the CD w/all the pics. definitley saved that way.

Also you could try craigslist (does AU have an equivalent?) and they have a lot of photogs who are trying to get some business, I have heard folks negotiating a good deal but you HAVE to look at their stuff first, meet them in person, and decide if they''re decent or not. That or find the local art school and find a student looking to build their portfolio.
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
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Messages
17,744
I wouldn''t scrimp on photography, but I would do TONS of research to get the best deal. We got married 3.5 yrs. ago in Chicagoland area, and I probably interviewed more photographers than possible wedding venues, or any other service! I ended up finding a photog who was about 5 suburbs away, but did not charge a traveling fee (hidden cost you need to watch out for), and also only required $100 deposit, and the rest of his $700 fee the day of wedding, which did not include albums or prints. There was no minimun you had to buy as far as albums, all his photography was digital, meaning there was no film to worry about being burnt up in a fire or lost...but we had until a couple months after the wedding to decide on our album prints, how much we wanted to spend, etc. We ended up reallllly loving all our photos, buying the proofs for $250, and buying a beautiful album for around $1k, totaling ~ $2k. We had a photog for all 5 hrs. of our ceremony/onsite reception, and really loved the outcome of the money we spent. It just took some serious research and some legwork doing personal interviews. We also opted not to do videography, which we would''ve been charge about $1k extra for...we had a close, trusted relative do digital videography with his personal camera and now have the DVD of our wedding--for FREE.

Explore all possible options, that''s all I can say. Don''t be romanced by some slideshow of a random B&G that they will show you walking in...that''s someone else''s wedding that''s been edited to the best of their ability and not necessarily how yours will turn out! It''s obviously nice to see a photographer/videographer''s work, but a $6k price tag would make me go "hmmm."
 
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