What if I Can’t Afford a Wedding Photographer? Advice from a Los Angeles Wedding Photographer
Hi! So, obviously, when people come to me, they’ve already decided they can afford a Los Angeles wedding photographer. But what if you, like so many, are on a tight budget and can’t afford a wedding photographer? What are some good alternatives or avenues you can explore?
1. Can you afford a real wedding photographer?
Okay, so when I got married, I didn’t have the budget for a “real” wedding photographer. My sister had always been into photography and she was pretty good at it, so I asked her to take photos. And it went fine. She took photos even though she didn’t want to. And they turned out okay. They were photos from our wedding. But honestly, years later I would love to get in a time machine and go back and get some amazing wedding photos. Why? Because that’s the day I married the most amazing man in the whole world. I’ll never be as young, naive, nervous, and in stupid puppy love as I was that day.
So honestly, from one bride (five years later) to another (or to the groom). If your wedding is significant in your life (that sounds really bad, but honestly, if you want to remember and hang it up on your wall), see if you can find it in your budget to hire a photographer you love. Years later you’ll love having photos you can show off and hang up. For tips on how to tell if a photographer is any good, hit my blog.
If you think paying $1,000 or more for wedding photos is ridiculous, join the club. If you want to know why wedding photography costs that much, read this article.
2. No. But can your parents pay for it?
Can you ask your parents to pay for it? Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for photography, but see if this is an option, or if the’re able to pitch in for it. Obviously, quite recently this tradition has started to die because people are starting to live on their own a lot longer before getting married. But some parents, if they can afford it, like to pitch in for something significant like photography. A good portion of my clients are still paid for by their parents, or the parents pitch in for a good chunk of it.
3. No, they’re not able to pitch in. Seriously, what are some more affordable options?
See if you can book your ideal photographer for only a few hours.
Many photographers offer lower rates for only a few hours. You could get the ceremony, pictures of you two, and some family/friend photos. Even if they don’t list it on their website, see if you can get in contact with them, let them know your situation, and see what they can do.
Don’t have your wedding on a Saturday.
If you’re looking for deals, the BEST negotiating power couples have is to NOT have their wedding on a prime day like Saturday or a weekend. If you can have your wedding on a Sunday, Friday, or a week day, you have some bargaining power (depending on who it is) when you’re booking. For example, a huge portion of my Saturdays are taken up this summer. But a budget bride contacted me looking for a deal and I gave her one because she’s having her wedding on a Tuesday. But I only have TWO weddings this year that are NOT on a Saturday. Saturdays are prime time for wedding venues and vendors. But if they can book up another day, they will.
4. What aren’t some good options?
DON’T rent a professional camera, hand it to someone, and ask them to photograph your wedding. Why? Professional cameras are only as good as the people behind them. Someone who doesn’t know how to use a professional camera won’t get good results, regardless of what kind of camera it is.
DON’T hire some bloke whose photos you HATE but is offering cheap photography. It’s not worth it. It’s just not worth it.
DON’T ask someone to do it if they’re semi-proficient with a camera but don’t really want to do it. Photographers usually know their limits, and weddings require you to get THE shot within a few seconds, usually. Moments pass very quickly. So you have to be ready. It’s stressful and requires a knowledge of how weddings usually flow and where you should be during certain sections of it.