In general, one excellent way to save money on the cost of your wedding photography is to hire your photographer on an hourly basis. All images are turned over to you for printing. This will save you lots of money, although it will require more work on your part.
Also, consider leaving disposable cameras on each table for guests to take their own snapshots, and then of course, be sure someone collects and develops the film after the wedding.
Here at Bill Hansen Catering, we’ve worked with many photographers over the past 30 years and have developed great relationships with them. They’re people you can trust with your special day. Remember, just because your paying a lot of money for pictures, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better. Be sure to shop around and see lots of sample before you choose. Most photographers offer the same services, so its worth your time and effort in finding one that fits your budget.
For a more non-conventional route, if you’re really looking to save some money, Do It Yourself Weddings Web Site offers this advice:
1. If you are lucky enough to know someone who is skilled with a camera, consider asking them to shoot your wedding photos for you. If it is a person who would have been invited to your wedding anyway it could be your wedding gift from them! This person doesn’t have to be a professional photographer either, but make sure it is someone who would be comfortable in that role because you want them to have a good time too! If you are doing it this way, it is an even safer bet to ask two people to be in charge of taking photos, because it takes the pressure off. Also, especially during the reception, both of them could end up taking great candid shots from different areas of the celebration. Be sure too that they take photos of both sides of the family, not just yours.
2. Call a community college or University’s art department and speak to one of the professors. Ask them if they have any students that would be interested in shooting a wedding, give them the date and then state your price. They’ll ask around for you and likely hook you up with a student (or several) that is willing to accept the discounted price because they need to build their portfolio.
3. Newspapers (especially smaller newspapers or ones in small-medium towns) often employ several photographers at a time. A call to the local paper is a great way to find photographers that are skilled and talented but don’t necessarily specialize in weddings. This means they’ll be cheaper! Trust me, you tack the word “wedding” onto any service and you are guaranteed to pay more. A lot of photographers don’t specialize in weddings because although the money is good, they don’t want to be busy every weekend doing the same thing. However, a lot of them are more than willing to do a wedding for some extra cash every once in a while!
4. Yet another way to find an affordable wedding photographer is to put an ad on Craigslist.org or any other local community based board. Again, you are likely to find students or other photographers that are willing to work at a decent price to gain experience and portfolio material. Many of these boards have photographers that will post their services and state their price too! Get references.