If you want a professional photographer at your wedding but can't afford one, contact a local university's photography department for a starving student who might do it for less. Also you might persuade that student, or another beginning photographer to take the pictures but give you the negatives, or images on a disk, if digital. You have them developed at a later date when you have more money. You pay the photographer for his time, but not the prints. A well established photographer is NOT going to go for this, but a beginning photographer might be willing.
By Mom from Huntsville, TX
NOT something I would do unless you really don't care about your photos AND can hire them for a few cents on the dollar. In small claims court, we see more lawsuits about wedding photographers than you can imagine. They aren't responsible for you being fat, having bad makeup/hairstyle or cheap/ugly clothing and decorations but these lawsuits abound.
A student is not a professional. Would you hire a student chef or a student dress designer??? With a higher than 50% divorce rate; people honestly may have no use for their wedding photos so it wouldn't matter in that case.
But if you want to record memories and need to be cheap about it, try giving out digital cameras for use or finding 2 or 3 friends who can take a bunch of your shots. See if friends can loan you cameras, etc. That way, all you would have to do would be buy the memory cards and can then pick and choose from hundreds of photos. Photo editing software is better than ever and you can do wonders on your own if you make the effort.
Once someone is paying to have a job done; they forget that they should only expect to get what they have paid for. The extreme anger and disappointment isn't worth saving a few dollars on what we hope is a once in a lifetime event.
I don't know about the guest post. But I've shot many, many weddings for a small fee (sometimes as little as $100) and have given the bride and groom a cd of their pictures. I have not once had someone come back and tell me that they were terrible or even think of a lawsuit. Of course, before I gave them the pictures, I took every one of them into photoshop to make sure they were okay and to tweak them when necessary.
I 'second' the previous comments.... having been a commercial photographer in my 'early life', I bruised some friendships due to these practices...why would I want to spend my day, provide expensive equipment ($900+ camera, $300 flash unit) and be paid a paltry sum??.. if you want 'cheap', then pass out the 'throw-aways' and hope you get lucky enough to find a picture (not 'photograph') sharp enough to enlarge to a 5x7.... a candid wedding photo memory may outlast the marriage :))
Years later when you sit down as husband and wife to look at your pictures, the last thing you want to to do is be sad. There only three things you take from a wedding: 1. Groom or bride 2. Rings 3. Pictures. Everything else means nothing! Plan a smaller wedding and stop trying to feed everyone.
Thanks for your post, it's a good idea - there's actually a website in the UK called SchoolyWeds.com that's building up a directory of students who can offer services liek photography, music etc to wedding planners and couples on a budget.
It's not set up in the US yet, but who knows? Just thought this might be useful info for any UK browsers.
Don't hire a student that you don't know well enough to know their work. The Photos are too imortant a record of your most special day. Keep the photos to a minimum, but hire the best you can afford. If you are on a budget, and everyone is, keep your number of guests to a minimum and have the best day you can have! Quality is very important.... you only have this day once!
As a professional photographer, I can tell you that shooting weddings is one of the most difficult assignments we do. There is a lot of pressure to get things right because you don't get a second chance.
When we shoot a wedding, there are two photographers working - one getting the bride and groom photos and one getting those wonderful candid shots of the friends and family and flower girls, the cake and the decorations and the rings and and all the little details and all those other special moments that end up on Pinterest.
These days, brides want their photographer to cover the entire day, documenting her getting her hair and nails and makeup done, getting photos of just the bride and groom, then photos of the (sometimes) massive wedding party, then the formal portraits, then the service, then the reception and the first dance, etc etc. It's not unusual for a wedding gig to start at 10am and wrap at 9pm. That's a very long day and then we still have to review and sort all the photos, so you don't have to go through the 3,000+ images yourself.
I'm not complaining... this is the profession I've chosen and weddings can be great fun with lots of opportunities to be creative and capture a very special day. But there is a reason professionals charge what we do.
One way to save money would be to ask a friend or hire your student photographer to do the early day photos - the getting ready, the going to lunch, etc. Those are fun things you want to remember, but don't necessarily require the services of a professional. And you could also consider having a student or friend capture the reception photos, keeping in mind the reception area and dance floor are very low light situations, so you want to be sure your friend or student knows how to deal with that.
Your wedding is a very special day and you've put a lot of planning and money into it. It goes by so quickly and really, a lot of it is a blur at the time, so you want your photos to be GREAT, not just acceptable or worse. You will be reliving that experience through your photos, so keep that in mind.
Whatever decision you make, I do hope you have a wonderful day and take away lots of precious memories.
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