How to save money on your wedding photos

As a wedding photographer, I feel it is my duty to first tell you that I really think your wedding photos are the thing to actually splurge on for your big day. I think assessing and finding savings in other areas of your wedding are more beneficial, as in the end after your big day you are only left with your wedding photos.

However, I am also aware that there are various reasons why you would like to save money on your wedding photos, you may be wanting to save money on your entire wedding or you may be the kind of people who truly don’t enjoy photos (but want a few to be able to look back on the day with - clever you!). Whatever your reason, here are some tips to help you save money on your wedding photographs without compromising the quality and end-product.

Limit your professional coverage time

When you actually assess everything that goes into a wedding photography package (such as photography time, editing, travel, equipment etc.) it makes sense why the packages are priced like they are.

The main reason wedding photography packages come with a larger price tag is due to the time it takes to photograph your wedding and then process your photo set. It takes approximately eight hours at a minimum to capture your full wedding day (although in reality, this is often 10 to 12 hours without adding in travel or prep time) and then upwards of 24 hours of editing depending on the wedding photographer’s process. So that’s 32 hours of work for your wedding set and that does not include communication and other admin that is involved with creating your wedding photos.

Alright, so you get it, you understand why wedding photography costs what it does, how can this help you?

Well, the number one way to save some money on your wedding photos without sacrificing the quality is to cut down on the time you have your wedding photographer at your wedding.

How simple is that?!

Many photographers offer half-day coverage to cover client’s various needs. You can often find packages that cover ceremony, official wedding portraits and family photos and I’m sure photographers would be open to enquiries for photographs that only cover the official wedding portraits, if that is more your thing.

By choosing a package like this, it ensures that you will receive those beautiful photos of you and your partner (and wedding party!) that you want to print out and hang on your wall and help you avoid the more expensive price tag of full day packages.

Other alternatives for this could be negotiating the amount of time spent during the part of the day where you and your partner are preparing for the wedding (or you may even opt for only the bride to have her preparations photographed) or how long your reception is photographed for.

If you have your heart set on having your whole wedding day captured, this money saving option can still work for you. You can do this by hiring a professional wedding photographer to capture the crucial moments of your day and asking an amateur photographer to help you capture the rest of the day. This photographer may be a friend, a family member or a photographer just starting out. This method alleviates some of the pressure that comes with photographing a wedding (for the amateur photographer) and guarantees you will have those moments that you want of your wedding

Find a wedding photographer who has just started their journey in the wedding photography field

Before we get into this tip, please DO NOT confuse this with ‘hiring a family friend who has just started taking photos’! This could end really badly as the pressure of capturing a wedding can be really tough if you have just learnt how to control a DSLR camera.

When I started photographing weddings I had already been taking images of events and family photos for at least 3 or so years (to be honest I am not sure where to quite pin-point when I started taking photos!), so I had quite a good understanding of photography and how to work with a range of people before I moved into the wedding photography field. I was prepared, or prepared as you can be, for the pressure and often demanding schedule of a wedding day.

Hiring a photographer new to the wedding photography field is very different to hiring someone new to photography.

Now that you aware of the difference, let’s move onto the tip!

As in most creatives field (and any other job really), prices reflect the experience and expertise a person holds in the service. As wedding photographers learn more and become more confident in what they are able to offer, their prices will slowly rise to mirror this to some extent. Some wedding photographers, such as myself, are able to keep their prices fairly low due to working photography as a second job or side business, however I too have adjusted my prices based on my growth, understanding and confidence as a wedding photographer. Five years ago, my wedding prices (and packages) were very different.

If you take the time to look, you will find many inexperienced wedding photographers available who would love to photograph your wedding! When seeking a new wedding photographer, the trick is to look at their other work and decide on them based on their style and not their price. They may not have any wedding samples to give you yet so you will need to have a look at their other photography work to help you decide.

This tip can also be used in conjunction with the last money saving idea, you can hire a new wedding photographer to capture your entire day and ask an experienced wedding photographer to be there to just capture your official wedding portraits.

Use a local wedding photographer

This is a pretty easy and simple money saving tip! When looking for a wedding photographer start by exploring your local options first. By doing this, you can cut out any extra costs of travel and possibly accommodation!

Most wedding photographers include some travel in their wedding packages, often one or two hours. For example, I’m an Albury Wodonga wedding photographer and therefore do not charge any extra for weddings in this area. If your wedding location is more than 2 hours away from me it will incur a fee.

You can stop this fee by staying local with your wedding photographer choice.

Get a ‘no frills’ package

Wedding photographers generally offer a good variety of packages, often these packages will include extras such as prints and albums.

We, as photographers, definitely want to encourage you to get those photos printed and out on display, however those extras do take time and therefore money, and in today’s world it is very possible for you to do this yourself.

Enquire (politely!) if there is a possibility to have a package made for you that only returns your photos digitally. You can then print your photos yourself - just remember to actually do it!

Another take on this tip is to enquire if you can have a package made that caps the amount of photos that are edited. Editing takes time and this can be a method to decrease time and therefore your packaging price.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a different package that may not be offered initially, just make sure you are polite in the way you ask and don’t ask for a package to be discounted just because. Wedding photographers do spend a lot of time working out their packages to ensure the costing is fair while covering their costs!

Know your budget

The last tip to help you save money on your wedding photography is to know your budget. This tip can also help you choose a wedding photographer! In fact, knowing your whole wedding budget will really help you be aware of what you can and can’t spend.

Once you know your budget, find five wedding photographers that you love. Start by looking at photographers for their style, don’t even look at their packages just yet. As you go, save a few images as samples of wedding photography styles that you like.

Now that you have made your list, start looking at the packages they offer and list them beside their names. During this stage, only record the packages that are in your price range.

If all the wedding photographers you have chosen are our of your budget, start your search again using the sample images you saved. Use these images of an indication of the style you like and look for photographers that have a similar style. Repeat the pricing step until you have a list that fits your budget.

If none of these photographers fit into what you are willing to spend, you may need to revisit the steps above to find an arrangement that suits you.

I hope you find these tips useful! If you have any others to add, please contact me here.

If you are looking for a wedding photographer and would like to check out my style and prices, click here.

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