You want to be sure to have plenty of photos to remember your special day. Unfortunately, a professional photographer can be a real budget buster! Read on for tips on how to save with wedding photography.
Pictures are priceless, and you want to be sure you have plenty of good pictures of your special day. Unfortunately, if you’re on budget, professional photographers can eat up most of your money. While they are definitely worth the price, they’re not always feasible for people who need to save some money. So how can you get beautiful photos of your wedding day without breaking the bank? Let me tell you what we did.
With my first wedding, we were definitely on a budget and in no position to pay the $900 a professional photographer was asking – and that was in 1985! My mother worked for a local newspaper and asked the head photographer there if he would be willing to take wedding photos for us.
We paid for the film and developing, he took the pictures, and he got to eat and party at our reception. The pictures were beautiful and we made our own albums at a fraction of the cost. Today, the local Wal-Mart or photo processing studio will provide you with enlargements quite cheaply.
For my second wedding, we called on family. My husband and I had lived together for 8 years and were not really in need of a formal china service or a third toaster – although we did need towels and sheets! Most of my family was happy to offer up their services in place of a wedding gift.
My cousin is an amateur photography buff. She was more than happy to offer up her services to us. Once again, we bought the film and paid for the developing while she took the pictures and enjoyed the reception. This was no small feat as just two months prior to my wedding, she found out she was two months pregnant with triplets and was unsure she could even make the ceremony as it was a high-risk pregnancy.
Luckily, she was there and we got some beautiful pictures. Two months after that, I had two amazing boy cousins and a precious little girl cousin join my family, so even though she offered up her services as our wedding photographer as a wedding present, we still provided her with a gift certificate to a local spa after the babies came as a special little extra for her effort and commitment to us!
So how can you find similar services? We recommend you start with a community college. They often offer photography classes, and the students are eager to practice their craft for a nominal fee or even just the experience. Talk to the instructor, however, to be sure you’re getting the cream of the crop – the top in the class. You don’t want to take a chance and get the beginner for your big day.
Ask friends and family to see if anyone likes to experiment with photography as a hobby. Film can be bought in bulk at warehouse stores, so if you have them take a multitude of pictures, you’ll probably get more than several that are exactly what you wanted.
Don’t be afraid to call the local newspaper and ask to speak with the staff photographer. You don’t have to know anyone at the paper to offer up the chance for them to make some extra money. Many will perform the service for a small fee as long as you buy the film – some may even offer their services for the experience.
At the reception, place disposable cameras on each table for guests to take pictures at your reception. A word of caution here: place a note on the table that asks the adults to please monitor the use of these cameras. I have been to many a reception where children have gotten hold of these cameras and the bride was left with many, many pictures of people’s feet and – um – hind ends!
Disposable cameras can be found – again – at bulk warehouse stores or even online. Shop around for the best price and use them sparingly. If you don’t want to put the cameras on the table, another idea is to place the cameras in a basket at the door as guests enter the reception. The ones who really care about taking pictures will take the cameras. Have your guest book attendant monitor who takes them or even have the attendant hand them out to adults only.
When it comes to chic, elegant wedding pictures, nothing beats the look of Black and White photos. Black and White photos can be combined with all of the money saving ideas above. After the wedding, the photos can be blown up and dry mounted for a long-lasting keepsake. Black and white film can be much cheaper than color film as well.
As far as video is concerned, consider what a video will mean to you. Sure, a video of your wedding is a pretty nice thing to have, but let’s face it, who really watches this video? Your family may watch it once after the wedding is over, and you and your future spouse may bring it out on your anniversary every year, but other than that the most public viewing of your wedding video will probably be at your 50th anniversary party (and by then you will have had to pay a couple hundred dollars to have your video converted to the latest format. ex. DVD).
I think a great way to save a thousand bucks is to ask yourself and family before your wedding, “Who owns a video camera that I know?” “Who do I know who has a hobby of videotaping?” Maybe you know one person who owns a video camera but hates to tape, and another person who has the patience and artistic ability to video, but doesn’t own a camera. Voila! You have your own videographer, if both parties are willing to play their part (and I think you will find that almost everyone is willing to help in whatever small way they can to help make your wedding a success).
Of course, it would probably be a good idea to lay down some rules for your videographer since they are using someone else’s camera (such as, keep the camera with you at all times and don’t let anyone else use the camera, etc.)
Video was virtually unheard of at my first wedding, but at my second wedding, my step-dad wanted a behind-the-scenes role, so he volunteered to man the video camera. When we got to the reception, he set up the camera on a tripod and caught some very personal moments when the time dictated.
I can honestly say that after 5 years of marriage, I have only watched my wedding video twice. I’m glad I have it, but if I would have had to pay a large amount of money to have it professionally done, I would be a bit sick.
If you do have a friend or family member do your wedding video, there are many studios around who can cut and splice parts of the video together and add background music later if you want a precious keepsake. You can do this later, however, when you can afford it and not have to figure it into your wedding budget.