How to get quality photos from a cheap wedding photographer

So, you probably came to this page because you don’t want to spend the national average of $1,600 – $4,000 on your wedding photos.

At the same time, your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life! In fact, you’re most likely just one of the millions of couples that get married each year who will spend an average of 12 months preparing for your wedding day. Let me correct that, preparing for 4-6 hours of your wedding day.

Once your wedding is over the only way to relive it is through memories. The memories that you are able to reflect back on and see all depend on the quality and quantity of photos that were taken. So, lets find out how to get that outrageous cost for your wedding photos down and answer the question; Can I actually get quality photos from a cheap wedding photographer?

Importance of Quality Wedding Photos

Your wedding day will be filled with moving parts, memorable events, and precious moments. If you were to hire 5 photographers, there would still be something that gets missed. And, let me tell you from experience, the last thing you want are pictures that inaccurately retell the story of your wedding day.

Photos of the two of you blinking or blurry at the alter, a wedding party member in the background sneezing during the kiss, dark or colorless photos of the decor and scenery, that you spent months on end picking out and designing, all because the flash didn’t go off at the right time. The list of unfortunate photos go on and on.

What couples want are photo’s that allow them to relive the most important parts of their wedding day. The best part about this is that I am going to show you exactly how to find a professional wedding photographer or get a novice photographer to capture those photos for you without breaking your budget.

Where to Find Cheap Wedding Photographers?

Finding ways to lower your photography budget doesn’t have to be hard but will take time. The first places I would go to save some cash on quality wedding photos include:

  • TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com are the two most popular wedding websites that offer couples their own wedding websites and provide professional vendors for almost every price range. There are may times that you can find basic wedding photo packages between $600- $800.
    • I have personal experience advertising with both of these companies as a wedding officiant. It took time to generate reviews on these sites although I had been officiating for years before I started advertising with them. So, just because you may see a wedding photographer with few/ no reviews or a low price doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not professionals.
  • Look for photographers on non-traditional wedding sites such as Thumbtack.com and Craigslist.org. Many photographers specialize in different types of photos or have just recently graduated and list their services on these sites. Because they are just starting out or take different types of photos, means you have a better chance of paying less for their services.
  • Buy more save more! If you are getting a videographer and a photographer try to use the same company. Many times a company will offer bundled packages at a discounted price. If they don’t, just ask!
    • At the same time, if you know someone who is getting married around the same time as you are, ask the company if they have a referral program. Companies are more likely to discount your services if they know they can make that money back in a different way. It’s a win, win situation!

Quality Wedding Photos From Wedding Guests/ Non Professionals

There are ways to spend even less than $500 on quality wedding photos. With these options your time is spent AFTER the wedding day is over but is fun and memorable. Here are a few options:

  • Reach out to your wedding guests and ask if anyone has photography experience. Ask if they would be willing to offer their services as their wedding gift. My wife and I have a family friend who is a hobbyist photographer and the photos came out great! Cost FREE!
  • Reach out to colleges and tech schools near your venue to see if they have any photography students who are looking to make come cash or need to expand their portfolio. This is another one of those win, win situations. You will get professional photos and save a ton of money!
  • Back to the wedding guests…. get them involved! After all they are getting a free meal LOL! Some of the best photos that I have from my own wedding are of the memories that our photographer couldn’t take because they were taking photos of us. Today, no one goes anywhere without their cell phones and everyone knows how to master a selfie.
    • We set up a Dropbox account and wrote a message next to the guest book so that our guests could share the photos that they took during our wedding with us. After we returned from our honeymoon we went through the photos and had a blast reliving those feelings and seeing everyone having such a great time. With so many people taking photos we had a lot of great quality photos.

Photos to Relive Your Cherished Wedding Day

If you don’t get quality photos of the moments that matter the most to you then it doesn’t matter who you get to take the photos.

About 3 months before my wedding we locked in our photographer. Now I needed to know that the photos were going to be of the moments that meant the most to us. I had an idea of what I wanted but needed examples so, I started looking on pinterest and google for different types of wedding photos and made a list from that.

Take your time before your wedding to create a list of different moments and poses that mean the most to both of you. Ask yourselves, what is it that I want captured on our wedding day?

Go over your list with your photographer at least a month before the wedding and make sure they are comfortable taking those types of photos. If you are hiring a professional ask them to show you examples of those photos.

If you are having your guests take photos, you don’t want 5 other guests in the background also taking photos. Instead, have a list of types of photos you want taken at your ceremony next to the guest book. Ask the guests to choose one of the poses from the list and write it next to their name when they sign the guest book and then cross it off of the list. Do the same for the reception.

This ensures that you won’t have everyone taking photos at the same time but will still get the photos that you want. If there is a photo that is very important (like the kiss) then list that shot 2-3 times so that you will have 2-3 people responsible for that photo. Your guest will have fun and take pride in their work while you get the photos you want.

Time to make Wedding Memories!

In the end there really isn’t any reason why you can’t get a cheap/ free wedding photographer for your special day. You have many options, all of them will take some time to look into but you would have to do that no matter how much you pay.

If you hire a professional remember to ask for samples. Reach out to guests and see if anyone has photography experience.

No matter who takes your photos, make a list of the memories and poses that mean the most to both of you.

Congratulations on your engagement and enjoy this journey! Have fun and feel free to share your comments or questions with me below.

Steph

2 thoughts on “How to get quality photos from a cheap wedding photographer

  1. This post was awesome! For me, it was hard to read because sadly, my photographer never showed up to my wedding. It was almost 3 years ago and it could still make me cry.

    I cannot stress enough the importance of wedding photos. There are days where all I want to do is look back at the photos from my wedding day but have barely any photos. I am so glad some of my guests had photography backgrounds and stepped in to save the day.

    Coming from my own personal experience, I can vouch for the fact that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a photographer, just make sure you get photos! The pictures I have that were taken by my wedding guests are the only photos I have and I cherish them.

    This post is amazing and I love your tips, they are great! I will be passing this along to my friend who just recently got engaged, I know she’s budget conscious, so she will love this. Thank you for these great tips!

    1. Hi Madysen!
      Thanks for your comment. I’m so happy that you had guests that were able to take some photos at your wedding. Some of the best photos come from wedding guests. I am glad you enjoyed reading my post and thank you for sharing it with your friend.

      Steph

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