My wedding photographers captured the memories of my wedding day perfectly. They understood what kind of photographs I wanted, and because of that, we were able to work well together during the wedding planning, the wedding itself, and the picture ordering process. I had a great time working with the team, and they did a wonderful job with my photos.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same experience with my wedding videographer. In order to save some money, my husband and I avoided hiring a professional. Instead, we asked a friend’s parent to tape the ceremony and reception. While there is a rough video of my ceremony, there is no reception video, just background noise. I guess that is the price we paid for giving the video camera to the first person who volunteered!
Hiring an amateur is one way to save money on your wedding photos and on your wedding video, but there are plenty of other ways to cut corners on the big day – without sacrificing quality, or your memories. Here are 20 ways to save money on your wedding photos and on your wedding video.
Save Money on Wedding Photographers and Videographers
1. Have an Off-Season Wedding on an Any Day Except Saturday
Just like with wedding venues, you can save a lot of money on photographers and videographers by having your wedding during the off-season, and also by having your wedding on any day but Saturday. Photographers and videographers are in high demand every Saturday, especially in the summer, and are able to charge more for working on Saturdays in the summer months. By having an off-season and/or weekday wedding, you will also have a better selection of photographers and videographers to choose from, because more of them will be available.
2. Hire a Photographer and Videographer as Part of a Package Deal
You may be able to save money if you can get a package deal for a photographer and a videographer together. Compare rates for hiring as part of a package deal versus hiring separately.
3. Get Multiple Quotes and Negotiate
Get multiple quotes in order to negotiate the price for your wedding photos and wedding video. Make sure that you get all the details about costs from each photographer and videographer, including number of photos and hours spent taking photos at the wedding and reception. If one photographer gives a free engagement photo with their wedding package, or will put together a slideshow of the bride and groom for arriving guests, make sure to negotiate that with the other photographers as well.
4. Limit the Time a Photographer/Videographer Will Work During Your Wedding
Photographers and videographers generally charge by the hour. So by limiting the number of hours they will work at your wedding, you can save more money. You could hire them for just the ceremony, just the reception, or for the ceremony and the first hour of the reception. You could also supplement these photos with photos from a student photographer or with photos submitted by wedding guests. If you decide to pursue this option, make sure the total number of hours is specified in the package that you purchase.
5. Use a Photographer or Videographer Who Works from Home
A photographer or videographer who works out of a studio will charge more because they have to pay for the use of the studio. On the other hand, a photographer or videographer who works from a home office will not have to pay the extra overhead and thus will not pass those costs along to you.
6. Check for Hidden Fees
Be wary of any hidden fees that your photographer or videographer may tack on to your bill, such as mileage. One thing I really liked about my photographer was that she did not charge mileage, even though it was a long drive from my ceremony to my reception. It could have potentially added $100 to my photography bill.
7. Hire a Student Photographer or Someone New to the Business
You can save a lot of money by hiring someone who is not a professional or who has not been a professional for very long. Unlike hiring a friend who knows little about photography, by hiring a student or a new professional, you are getting someone who has already had extensive training and experience. For my wedding, I hired a photographer who was new to the business, but I made sure to check out her work prior to hiring her to ensure that I would be happy with her photos.
8. Limit the Number of Photography and Videography Assistants
Some photographers and videographers bring assistants to their shoots to help capture every moment. But when assistants are present, they will cost you money. They need to be paid, and they will usually require a meal at the reception, which will increase the cost of your wedding food and drink. Assistants can be a good thing, but just make sure the number of assistants that accompany the photographer and videographer is reasonable, or included in a package rate.
9. Ask a Friend
Chances are that you know at least one person who either knows a little bit about photography or knows someone else who is an amateur photographer. See if this person is willing to help you out as a wedding gift to you, or for a discounted rate. One thing to keep in mind is that by asking a friend, you will not be getting professional pictures. But if this is what you can afford, it is still a viable option. Also, make sure your friend is okay with working at your wedding instead of just being a regular guest. The same applies for a videographer. Even when working with a friend, negotiating the costs and having an agreed upon rate for the photos and the wedding video is a good idea.
10. Advertise Your Need for a Photographer or Videographer on Facebook
Advertise your need for a photographer and videographer to all 300 of your Facebook friends, even if you aren’t planning on inviting them all to your wedding. An old acquaintance of yours who is a photography buff may be thrilled to be part of your big day, even if they have not seen you since middle school.
11. Put Disposable Cameras on the Reception Tables
Don’t expect to get award-winning photos, but do expect to have a good laugh. What I like about putting disposable cameras on the wedding reception tables for the guests to use is that you get pictures of people that you will not get from a professional photographer. It’s a great way to get some candid shots.
12. Have Your Guests Send Their Pictures to You
At my reception, a great friend of mine and her husband gave us a small photo album with pictures from our wedding just hours after the ceremony. I loved getting the album right away, and I loved seeing their photos of our special day.
Save Money on Wedding Photos
13. Get the Rights to the Photos
In order to print and post your photos online, you need to obtain the rights and proofs for your photos. Most photographers will either sell the rights to you or offer the rights with a photography package. Negotiate the cost for the rights of your photos when you are discussing the rates for the wedding photos package. Keep the document that says you own the rights to your pictures. You can always print your wedding photos later, when money isn’t so tight.
14. Make Your Own Album
Once you obtain the rights to your pictures, you can get them printed anywhere. You can make an album for a fraction of the cost of having your photographer make one for you. Unfortunately, at the time that I got married, making your own photo album on photography websites such as Shutterfly was not very popular. I ended up spending $1,700 on something that I could have done for $100. Today, DIY wedding albums can look very upscale, with professional binding, a table of contents, and a dedication.
15. Frame Your Favorites
If you feel that an album would not be looked at often enough to justify its purchase, simply frame your favorite photos instead. Remember, once you have the rights to your wedding photos, you can get your pictures printed wherever and whenever you’d like.
16. Purchase a Smaller-sized Photo
When you get your pictures printed by your photographer, they will edit them and have them printed at a very high quality resolution. To keep the costs down, choose a smaller-sized photo to be printed. For example, choose a 5×7 sized photo instead of a 8×10.
Save Money on Wedding Videos
17. Request Simple Video Editing
The more tricks a video editor has up their sleeve, the more he or she can charge you. Ask for a simple DVD without all the bells and whistles to keep the cost at a minimum.
18. Get the Raw Footage
Instead of having your videographer edit hours of your wedding video down to less than an hour, ask for the raw footage. This way you will have every moment of your wedding on film, instead of losing moments that may be important to you. You can then have the footage edited at some other time.
19. Have Someone You Know Edit the Raw Footage
Some people I know love to edit videos, including my husband. See if anyone you know would be interested in helping you out, and as a thank you gift, you can help them purchase new editing software or some gadget they can use for their hobby.
20. Post Portions of Your Video Online
You don’t have to make copies of your wedding video for everyone in your family. Instead, you can post the most important moments of your wedding online for the most important people in your life.
It is really important to document your wedding in some form. You will want to look back on your special day, and one day, your children and grandchildren may also enjoy looking at your wedding photos and your wedding video. Whether you go with a top-notch professional photographer and videographer, or just ask a friend to take a few photos for you, document your wedding. You will never regret it.
Did you use professional or amateur photographers at your wedding? How did the results turn out, and what other tips would you include on this list?