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Finding your wedding photographer – Creative ways to make the budget work

This is part 3 in our “Finding your wedding photographer” series

You’ve got the date. You’ve got the ring. You’ve met with a number of photographers and you’ve discovered that it costs a lot of money to hire a photographer. At least this is what happened to us.

My research has shown that the base price of photographer in off season is $1, 300, but most photographers’ base packages start in the range between $1, 800 and $3, 800. If that works with your budget, then great. However, if you can’t allot that kind of money for your pictures, don’t fret. You can still have great pictures on a budget. In the third installment of  this series, we will give you some hints on how to achieve it.

Be upfront
The best thing to do it to talk to your photographer and let them know your budget. While at a wedding show this weekend, I met with several photographers who had tables there. I let them know that my budget was tight and, although some wished me well but offered no discount, many of them were happy to help me find a way to make their service work within it.

reception

Cut out the extras
A lot of packages include elements that not every bride and groom need. Can you do without engagement photos or photos of you getting ready? Can you get your pictures done in three hours instead of five? Can you cut down on using the photographer’s time by having all the pictures taken near by and in one location? Sometimes having your wedding on a day other than Saturday or out of season will help cut down the cost as well. Once you’ve considered what you need, ask your photographer if they will reduce their fee. As I’ve said,some photographers won’t, however a good photographer will work with you to provide you a custom package that suits your needs and your budget.

Get creative
If the reduced fee is still outside your budget, consider looking elsewhere for your photographer. Check if there is a photo club in your area, sometimes they are connected with universities and community centers. A quick search on Facebook, Flickr, or in Google will help you discover local photo clubs in your area. Check out their pictures, and if you like what you see contact the group organizers. Members are often talented and have good equipment but because this is a hobby, they don’t charge professional prices. Be sure to spell out your needs, including what you’re looking for in a photographer, your wedding date, and budget.

The organizers can give you names and contacts of members who are interested. Be sure to meet with them in the same way you would a professional photographer. You still want your photographer to share your vision for your pictures.

Have the photographer you want
We may be biased, but we think that the most important choice you can make for your wedding (other than who you marry) is the photographer you hire. Your budget shouldn’t stand between you and beautiful pictures. Make sure you leave enough room in your budget to have the perfect photographer – do without the ice sculpture or the fifth tier on your wedding cake and make your photo budget stretch. You will not be sorry you did.

Part Four:  Finding your wedding photographer – The PhotoBooth

[Image credits: thelifeisaphotokevin dooley]

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