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On a tight budget? Ask the photographer to work with you

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I wanted to share this post with other brides out there that might be concerned about the pricing info they are seeing on the photographers' sites and price lists. I was also very discouraged and concerned that I would not have the quality of pictures that was important to me. However, I believe many of the local photographers will work with your budget -- it never hurts to ask, as the worst that will come of it may be a polite "no."


I'm not saying to lowball them just for the sake of trying (your offer will have to be somewhat comparable to their service fees) but if you truly have budget constraints some are willing to at least work with you and offer flexibility in the number of hours covered, # of pics on a cd, & # of prints for the amount you have budgeted. That's why many of them say to contact them for an exact quote.


Here's my story: My FI and I are on a fairly tight wedding budget (we think in comparison to what others are spending on their weddings) and while I consider pictures very important -- he doesn't really (not to mention he hates having his picture taken). We finally agreed on an amount for a photographer which did not provide enough to fly in a photographer so I knew it had to be a local one. I explained my situation to my wedding planner and she then relayed this to the photographers we were interested in. They all came back with packages that were within our price range and what we felt were reasonable for the amount we had budgeted.


Even though we had our wedding planner contacting the photographers for us, she did so because I explained our situation and I think the photographers still would have worked with us on pricing if I had contacted them directly. Bottom line I think I got a great local photographer with a package and price my FI and I could live with. IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK - ESPECIALLY NICELY AND WITH SINCERITY!


Despite what my FI thinks, these pictures will be some of the only tangible things we have left to remember our very special day by and I think this is how most brides (& some grooms) feel. So don't settle for a photographer you're not that impressed with just because his/her price fits your budget. Contact the photographers you're interested in that may be a little more than your budget and see if they will work with you.


Good luck!

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I did this with my photog as well. Most that I contacted were willing to do a "custom" package for the budget I had. I emailed them my budget and they usually produced a list of things they would provide for that price. I didn't want prints, so most were very accomodating to replace prints with something else.


I'm doing the same thing while trying to work out my WD. I'm telling the restaurants the price range I can afford. If they can't do it then they tell me and I try someone else. I think it never hurts to ask. Some may want your business and may be flexible.

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Originally Posted by jilly76 View Post
my husband was telling me up until the day before to cancel ours because it was too much money, but honestly in comparison to what others have spent, we didn't really spend much at all and he still complained!
I can relate. The first time my FI and I discussed the photography budget, he just about fell over when I explained the average cost range and then he promptly lowered it according to what he thought it should be...I never thought I'd be able to get one for the amount he suggested but I'm foregoing prints and instead increased the number of pics on the CD. I figure this way I can sneak in the cost of professionally printing them here in the US after the wedding! I live in Maryland just outside of DC and there are a lot of professional photography labs that can print the photos with great resolution and color saturation. So it was very important to me to have the pics I choose in high resolution on a CD that I could have printed whenever & wherever I want. I think in the end he will be happy that we had a professional photographer.

By the way - the wedding picture you have tagged to your message is beautiful, what a great view!
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As a professional wedding photographer I know more than most people about couples wedding budgets. I would like to add some additional information that I hope will be helpful for all of you out there who are about to get married and want to maximize your budget to ensure you get what you want for how much you can afford. I loooove to help couples find a photographer within their budget. If they cant afford me I will gladly help them in the right direction of someone who might be because I know how important the photos are and I knoooooow badly it can suck to get crappy photos because I hear it time and time again from couples who wish they would have gone with me.


First and for most... Never lowball a photogarpher to try and get a deal. You WILL end up getting burned in the end because you will end up 1. offending the photographer or 2. have them not put their all into your photos because they dont feel that it is worth it or 3. end up with a photographer who wont be able to provide the quality of images that you deserve.


IF you are on a budget this is what you should do. First figure out how much your budget really is for your wedding. Most couples invest (and it really is an investment in quality) 10% of their entire wedding into photography. Now you have an idea of what you should consider spending. Some spend more some spend less. If you don't have that much alloted for photography that is completely okay. But don't expect photographers to always be able to meet your budget.


One thing you have to realize is that we are in a business and photographers usually have to charge what they charge for a reason to stay afloat. If you think about it we literaly have 52 weekends a year to make our income and the rest of the time is spent editing through thousands of photos per week. Plus theirs advertising costs, and taxes and this and VERY expensive equipment. On the other hand what we offer is a service and not a product so we can sometimes bend a little bit on our pricing.


Find photographers online or through a friend that you have heard a lot of good things about. Check out their pricing and if its within your budget contact them right away to see if they are available. (dates book up fast). If they are close to your budget but slightly over mention what your budget is and perhaps they will be willing to try and meet yoru budget. If that doesnt work try these things.


1. Ask if perhaps you could get a bare bones package or exclude some of the things that they offer to try and bring the price down. Myself I do all my packages a la carte so that the couple can pick and choose their own package to try and work within their budget.

2. Perhaps they would offer you a discount if you pay for it all up front (if you are willing to do this make VERY sure that they are very reputable and wont just vanish with your money because I have heard this happens)

3. Try considerig having them there for a little less time (i dont recommend this one because personally I feel that the best photos arent from the ceremony but the getting ready and during the reception. that is why I, as well as some other photographers, offer an unlimited time for a flat rate)

4. Ask if it might be possible to hire them for the photography at first and then maybe a few months or a year down the line purchase the album through them.

5. It can't ever hurt to ask as long as you arent trying to lowball them. A couple I shot in Tulum Mexico only had half the budget of what I quoted them but I did it because I knew it would be a wonderful wedding, a great time, and amazing photos that would help my portfolio as well.


If none of those things work then perhaps try a different route. You can try online listings like craigslist.org and locate your city and search for photographers on there. many offer discounted prices on there for cancelations, or open dates that are available.


You can try going to a photography studio and see if they have up and coming photographers or second photographers that are wanting to try their hand at a wedding on their own.


Also you can always try the photography schools. I know when I was studying photography I did the weddings for a couple hundred bucks to get the experience.


One thing I STRONGLYYYY advise upon though no matter if you go with a professional, novice, or ameature, ALWAYS ask to see a complete set of wedding photos. Anyone can shoot pictures at a wedding and get a handful of good photos and if you shoot enough of those you can get yourself a great portfolio but still not be a great photogarpher. If they wont show you an entire wedding then be very cautious.


If you have any questions ever please dont hesitate to ask. Even if you are going with another photographer and you want another photographers opionion about their pricing or what they offer or the quality of their photos just ask me. my email is jean-marcus@jean-marcus.com

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I worked out a package that suited us too. My FI doesn't like having his picture taken, so we asked for a shorter time. I also just got the images on a CD with no prints. In the end we got a great photographer that fit in our budget. I didn't feel at all like I was haggling. They were happy to work with me to get the package we want.


I also found there were a lot of great local photographers to consider so that helped me find the right photographer in our budget.

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