The popularity of weddings seems to have increased in recent years, despite the decline in ‘traditional’ values. As Hello magazine inspired weddings become more and more lavish, however, the costs of the typical wedding have also become exhorbitant. The average cost of a wedding in the US last year was ,000, and £20,000 in the UK. That’s probably the most expensive day you’ll ever have (unless you one day throw a winning lottery ticket in the wash). As the recession gets worse and job security declines, brides and grooms to be are become incresingly wary of such expensive weddings and are naturally looking for a cheaper way. Among the drastic measures being taken are asking guests to help with food or music, trimming down invitations to close friends and family only, and the idea of a ‘pre-worn wedding dress‘ has appeared in recent years, which was unheard of just 10 years ago. However when it comes to photography, most couples don’t want to go for a cheap option – and you can understand why. Of all the possible expenses you could lay out for your wedding day, its the photography that will stay with you and your family long after the others are just a hole in your bank account. I’ve put together my 5 top tips for how to find a fantastic wedding photographer without breaking the bank.
1. Making the best of Google
There aren’t many photographers around today that don’t have a website, and one of the best ways of finding and comparing wedding photographers in your area and price range is through search engines like Google. However with competition being so fierce it’s not hard for prospective brides and grooms to miss out on some really special and talented photographers by not looking far enough when searching. Do not make the mistake of not going beyond the first page of results or the top few sponsored links in Google. Make sure you spend time going deep into the search results and coming up with a shortlist of photographers in your budget so you can really compare a range of styles and options. Additionally use specialist search terms like “black and white”, “reportage”, etc, as well as looking for wedding photographers from other towns within a couple of hundred miles from you, as most are happy to travel. My wife and I live in Sussex, and when looking for our photographer we not only searched “Wedding Photographer Sussex”, we also made sure to look for photographers in London, Kent and Hampshire.
2. Watch Out for Hidden Costs
Nowadays the vast majority of photographers use digital cameras rather than older film cameras requiring development in a darkroom. Which means that the wedding photography prices have become a lot simpler. So I’m amazed that so many photographers still charge their customers an extra fee for each print on top of the booking! I would strongly suggest you forget about these guys and go for someone who will provide a hi-res CD of all the images from the day. Armed with this CD you can then trot down to your high street photo printers and get the prints you want in the size you want at minimal cost.
3. Make your Own Photo Books!
Traditional wedding albums with flowery covers and peeling pages are becoming a relic of the past. Today you have stylish wedding photo books are a big hit with most couples – but the problem is if you go through your photographer these will often cost you an arm and a leg. Yet if you’re willing to make a little effort yourself and you have some creative flair, there are many photobook services now where you can design one at home and get them printed at bargain prices. Ditto when it comes to canvas prints or blow up posters really – as long as you have high quality original image files from your photographer, you can pretty much do it all yourself!
4. Yes, There are a Few Swindlers Out There, But You Can Easily Avoid Them
I have heard so many stories of unfortunate couples who have been taken in by unscrupulous con artists posing as wedding photographers. Such criminals, who it must be said are few and far between, lure couples in with a too good to be true package, often stolen photos, and once they receive the deposit you never hear from them again. It is a heartbreaking and cruel practice. The thing is, if you’re vigilant they’re pretty easy to spot and avoid. Make sure you pay any deposits via secure bank transfer as this can be traced in the event of a problem, and that you receive an invoice and receipt for your payment. Also make sure you get a legally binding contract from the photographer which states clearly what you are getting for your money and will protect you. Finally, and probably most importantly, the phrase “constant vigilance” applies here – go and visit the photographer before money changes hands, make sure you see examples of their work and ask questions about how everything will work – a good photographer will put your fears to rest.
5. Don’t be Tempted to Cut Corners!
Now this one may sound counter-intuitive when it comes to ‘credit crunch weddings’ but I feel it’s an important one. Whilst trying to get the best possible deal and price beware of taking things too far! As I said above, the photos are probably the most important part of the wedding day when you look back at it in years to come. There are hundreds of amateur and inexperienced ‘photographers’ out there who are trying their luck as a side income. If you look at their prices they seem like a bargain. But often the real bargains are to be found by going up a level in pricing. Remember that if you don’t look at your photographer’s work and go “wow” what is the point in spending all that money on a professional?