$1000 for an outside photographer!!! that is RIDICULOUS! We chose Majestic Colonial, they charge $300 for outside photographer (Phil is excluded) but they don't charge anything if you bring someone with you that stays at the resort (I guess then they are technically a guest). Pictures are something we didnt want to give up either but with the $1000 outside fee you may be better off to bring a photog from home... depending on resort rules on that!
Have you set the date? Are you 100% decided on Melia?