You want to document your special day and cherish it forever, and the best way to keep your happy memories alive is to hire a photographer for your wedding. If you’re working on a budget, particularly if you are feeling overwhelmed by the rest of the wedding planning, finding someone affordable and talented can be a daunting task. Here are a few suggestions to help you find the right photographer for the right price to fit your budget.
Start with your friends and family. Is there anyone who considers themselves an amateur shutterbug and who would be willing to use their skills as a wedding gift? Remember that not just anyone with a camera actually knows how to use it. Even if you want to save the cash, you will still want to make sure that person behind the camera is wielding it properly. If they have examples of their work, look at the aesthetics and the style to see if you enjoy or respond to them. You can sample their wares by having them shoot engagement photos. This way you’ll be able to see how well you work together on top of what they have to offer artistically.
If no one in your immediate family or friend circle fits the bill, scan your community for an amateur photographer willing to work on a budget. If there is a school or university in your area, look into hiring a student photographer who you will be able to hire at a fraction of the cost of a professional. And student photographers benefit by increasing their portfolio. The head of the photography program will usually be happy to point their more talented students in your direction. Apply the same criteria listed above to them. You may be able to barter or bargain for payment. What can you offer them in exchange that has real value? A hearty recommendation probably isn’t enough. Throw around a few ideas about some service they need that you can provide in exchange.
Shop around your community so you can compare prices as well as portfolios. Look at photography blogs online. Many amateur photographers are looking for experience and will be cheaper than a professional. Ask for price lists. If you want to hire a particular photographer but find that they are out of your price range, ask if they can refer anyone else to you who may be more affordable. The chances are good that the photographer or studio they refer will be of a quality that you will approve.
You can save a few extra bucks by skipping printed proofs. Request a DVD with the photos and play with designing and printing them yourself.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your photographer. Be open with them while discussing your budget and they will usually be willing to work with your needs. You may even be able to hire a photographer on an hourly basis, which means you can determine for yourself what you need and plan accordingly by shooting all the photographs in one place at one time.