Photos are arguably the most important expense of your wedding day. After all, what else will you be able to pull out in a decade to remind you of the big day? I suppose the wedding dress is a possibility…lucky you if it fits 😉
Such a top priority deserves fair compensation, and a talented photographer is certainly worthy of a higher price point. Here are some ways to get high quality photos without breaking the bank:
Research. Then research again. Highly gifted, qualified, and experienced wedding photographers charge top dollar for their services, and they have the Google rankings to prove it. If you can sift through those who pay for significant advertising privileges, you may find a photographer with style that rivals the top dogs without the hefty price tag. The reason? Sometimes these photographers are uber-talented, but are just getting started in the field. Sometimes they are stay-at-home mamas who work very part-time, so all their income goes to the family budget instead of advertising in a glossy magazine. You’ll start to find these photographers a few pages into your Google search or via referral requests on social media.
Review the packages. Evaluating photo packages and prices from different wedding photographers can be complicated- a varying amount of hours and add-ons, prints or no prints, extra sessions or meetings. It can be difficult to compare apples to apples. Generally speaking, most wedding photographers in the Springfield area offer packages that include either a bridal or engagement session, a set number of hours on the wedding day, and prints or digital rights. Don’t want an engagement session? See if you can tack on a couple extra hours onto the wedding day time in lieu of that extra session. This way, you could get that 8-hour coverage for the 6-hour price. Alternatively, see if the photographer is available to do that extra session on the night of the rehearsal dinner instead. You could get shots of the more casual, fun memories and the photographer will be more familiar with the VIPs. If something in the package doesn’t work for you, negotiate until you get it right.
Be honest about your budget. I am a firm believer in letting vendors know if you are working with a tight budget, especially when it sounds something like, “I absolutely love your work. It would be amazing if I could book you for my wedding, but this price is just out of the range I’m able to spend. Would you be able to do XYZ for X amount of dollars?” In high wedding season, this may not matter in the least, even if the photographer wants to help you out. It is a business, after all, and they must pay their bills. BUT…you never know when other factors are at play- maybe it’s a slow time of the year when bookings are down, or maybe they have really been wanting to work at the venue you’ve chosen for networking purposes. Maybe they resonate with your situation…who knows? A gracious disposition and honesty never hurts when trying to find a solution that works for both parties.
Ask about promotions. Some photographers run special pricing at different times of the year via their websites or social media pages. If you don’t see this, don’t be afraid to ask! Depending on the season, the industry, the day of the week or time of day, there may be a special rate or package available.
Social media is leverage. Success in the wedding industry is largely based on word-of-mouth. Especially for less well-known photographers, getting a social media buzz going can be a huge asset. Do you have 1,500 Facebook friends, all of marrying age and some actively looking for vendors? Make like a business-person and negotiate a discount in exchange for your heavy promotion of their services. Share their page with friends, write a review, re-tweet their specials, give a certain number of shout-outs, and share your gorgeous photos when they are completed. Perhaps your photographer will see the value of what you can provide to your audience and throw in some extras or a percentage-off discount? Now, don’t misread what I’m saying. If you only have 200 followers and over half of them are high schoolers or in a retirement home…you probably don’t have much to offer the photographer’s target market.
Have you found a great way to save money on wedding photos?