Wedding Photography on a Tight Budget

As much as we hate to hear it, times are tough lately. Finances are tight, and a good number of those getting married must make sacrifices in their big day. All too often, however, photography services are the first thing on the budget’s chopping block.

While some couples simply go without a photographer, many take alternate routes to still get images of their wedding and save a few bucks at the same time. While logically these may seem like perfectly viable solutions, they may not provide you the type of images you want to commemorate your marriage, and may actually hurt you in the long run.

Option 1 – Asking a Friend

Many brides think they can avoid the expense of a wedding photographer by asking a friend with a “good camera” to shoot their wedding instead. This friend may have taken good images in the past of their vacation or their pets or kids, and it stands to reason that s/he would make a great stand-in as a wedding photographer.

Why this is a bad idea:

First of all, this is false logic. By the same token, if your friend has good handwriting and a really nice, expensive pen, does that mean they can write a compelling story?

No? This is really no different.

Secondly, wedding photography offers many challenges to even the most adept and experienced professional. Lighting conditions are ever changing, meaning the photographer must know their equipment inside and out and adjust the settings on the fly to capture the scene without fail. (Yes, adjust the settings. Wedding photography is NOT for the “auto” mode user.) Additionally, a professional will have invested in higher quality equipment.

Third, wouldn’t you rather your friend enjoy your big day instead of working? Photographing a wedding is hard work, and a continuous job for the entire day, not something that can be done between chatting with friends. In order to do a good job, your friend would have to be on their feet all day long, moving around and snapping images continuously. Why not let them simply enjoy the day and be happy for you?

Lastly, what if you don’t like your images? What if you actually hate them? Will you still be able to be friends with the photographer?

Wedding photography is a professional service and not something to be taken lightly.

Option 2 – Hire a Cheap Photographer from Craigs List

In addition to the “I have a friend” brides, there are brides who scour the Internet, looking for cheap wedding photographer listings. The most popular site to find cheap photographers is Craigs List, although there are numerous other sites and ways to find these inexpensive shooters.

While some professional photographers do advertise on Craigs List, you should be wary of someone advertising wedding photography at a substantially discounted price.

Why this is a bad idea:

“I’ll shoot your wedding and give you all digital negatives for only $300!!”

Sure it gets your attention. What a deal! Get a wedding photographer for less than a decent laptop. Sounds too good to be true . . .

And you just mentally finished that cliché, didn’t you? That’s because it’s right. Most cheap “wedding photographers” on these types of sites don’t have the experience, the knowledge or the equipment to adequately shoot a wedding.

Many, if not most, Craigs List photographers are “weekend shooters”–people with regular 9-5 jobs the rest of the week and only shoot weddings to make a little “extra money” on the side.

Odds are this $300 wedding photographer doesn’t have much, if any, previous experience or work for you to look at. Odds are that any portfolio this $300 wedding photographer has to offer is very sparse, and offers images that are more snapshots that actual wedding images. And, odds are this $300 wedding photographer uses a consumer level camera with only one or two lenses and has no backups to cover equipment malfunction. (Which can, and DOES happen.)

Price should be one of the LAST things you use to choose a wedding photographer. The images are the most important—they have to look professional and be of a style and quality you like and want. Above all else, they have to look like the photographer knows what he’s doing behind the camera.

Shop Carefully – “Cheap” and “Quality” Rarely Coincide

St. Charles Wedding Photography offers professional level quality at a budget-friendly price thanks to years of experience, working efficiently, and a focus on what really matters without a lot of expensive add-ons.

Remember, there are no do-overs for your wedding. You only get one chance to get images that capture your joy, your excitement, your nerves and those quiet moments between them all. All photographers are NOT the same, and picking one on price alone could leave you disappointed afterwards.

About Annette

Wife. Mother. Nerd. Writer. Amigurumi designer. Lover of bad movies, good movies, good books, and chocolate. I make snarky, sarcastic, snappy remarks when appropriate, and sometimes even say them out loud. I live in Missouri with my professional photographer husband, my daughter, son, and too many pets.

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