Wedding Photographer Prices – How to Capture Memories on a Tight Budget

Wedding photographer prices can really be a sock to the gut if you’re not careful. Poor planning and snap decisions can lead to wedding photographer prices of thousands of dollars instead of just hundreds of dollars. Be honest, can your wedding budget really take another hit like that? If not, then take a few moments and learn how you can save big money on wedding photos.

They’ll Work With You

If the wedding photography service wants your business (and they do), they’ll help to set a price that you can afford as well as one they are comfortable with. If they refuse to negotiate in any way, well, then they just aren’t worth the trouble and you should look elsewhere.

Talk about your budget and tell the service EXACTLY what you need and what you can afford to spend. Don’t let them bully you into a slightly more expensive package, especially if there isn’t room in the budget. Stick with what you need and pass on all those extra features & perks.

Many of these wedding photo services are quite like used car salesman… “For a little extra, you can get this feature/perk as well as this feature and this one!”

Don’t be sucked in by those ploys like this, as each “extra feature” translates to an “extra cost”.

Wedding Photographer Prices & Cheap Package Deals

Basic Package: This is the smallest, simplest, and cheapest wedding photo package of all. It will come with a couple hours of photo coverage (1-4) by a single photographer and you’ll likely be given a set number of prints and/or printable images on a CD. Generally, this type of wedding photo package will cost only a few hundred dollars.

Basic + (Plus) Package: This is the basic package with just a little more oomph. You’ll get additional hours of coverage, more prints, hard cover album(s), special album(s), and more. This sort of wedding photography package will likely run you $500 or more.

With the numerous wedding expenses you’re already dealing with, it would be incredibly stupid NOT to look for ways of getting lower wedding photographer prices.

Wedding Photographers: What Sort Of Camera Should Yours Be Using?

When on the hunt for a wedding photographer chances are you may hear a number of different terms mentioned regarding the camera system they are shooting with. Many may not be familiar with the differences, the advantages and the disadvantages of the various systems and may be wondering which is right for you. There are generally three formats you will hear wedding photographers refer to, these are medium format, 35 mm and digital. Whilst each system offers a number of pros and cons it is important to remember that it is possible to take great photos on any system, just as it is possible to take poor photos on even the most expensive of equipment. So on to the different systems and which is right for you.

Medium Format

There was once a time when medium format was a benchmark for many reputable professional wedding photographers… and rightly so. With a film size of approximately 3 times that of 35mm systems medium format film offers beautiful image quality, the extra film area is essentially providing films equivalent of higher resolution and as such one is able to produce larger and more finely detailed enlargements out of medium format film as opposed to 35mm. This of course depends on a number of variables such as film stock however assuming all things are equal medium format blows 35mm film out of the water.

There are however disadvantages to the medium format camera systems. As film has slowly but steadily reduced in popularity its production has decreased and many manufacturers have started to concentrate on the digital market. As a result medium format film is very expensive, to both purchase and to process. One issue this can lead to is that wedding photographers shooting medium format will tend to limit the number of photographs they take, this may or may not be a bad thing however it may potentially mean some shots are missed due to the fact the photographer was trying to avoid using too much film. A further disadvantage of medium format systems is that they can be quite slow and somewhat cumbersome to shoot with, again this could potentially mean missed shots or may mean the photographer takes a little longer to capture what he/she needs.

35 mm Film

35mm is the common film format many of you will have used at least once in your lives. Whilst the image quality of 35mm film once left a lot to be desired advancements in film technology have done wonders for the image quality possible out of 35 mm system. Many professional photographers shoot with 35mm film, particularly those that require a faster working system such as sports photographers or more portable, lighter and less obtrusive system such as photojournalists. Enlargement from 35mm film will be sufficient for most applications, however, it is when one wishes to produce large prints over 16″ x 20″ that one will really start to see the limitations of 35mm in comparison to medium format.


When referring to digital cameras there are many sub systems available. For the purpose of comparison we will assume most wedding photographers will be shooting 35mm digital, or “full frame” digital as it may be referred to. These days digital camera technology has come along way, whilst it was once considered to be less than satisfactory in regards to image quality it has developed to the point where it surpasses 35mm film and rivals the results of a good medium format negative. One big advantage of digital is that once a system is purchased there are no ongoing film costs, as such many digital wedding photographers will tend to shoot more photos, which could potentially mean less missed shots. The ability to review images on the cameras LCD screen is also great to make sure exposures are indeed correct, that one has not made any stupid technical errors or that the camera itself is not experiencing technical issues.

Many wedding photographers will shoot a variety of systems during different periods of the wedding, many for example may shoot 35mm during the reception and ceremony and medium format for the portraits, these days it is common for many photographers to use digital exclusively, others may also carry a medium format system for select shots. It is important to remember that it is possible to take poor photos on any camera and any camera format, just as it is possible to take great photos. What is most important is to view a photographers work and ask to see a number of different sized photographs captured on the same camera they will be using at your wedding, this will allow you to judge for yourself the image quality and make sure their standards are on par with yours.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does – Wedding Planning Mistakes You Need To Avoid

Even the the most educated, organized, well-intentioned couples can make some of the biggest mistakes when it comes to planning their own weddings. Here are some whoppers that, with a little forethought and planning, you can avoid.

1. Spending Without a Budget

Absolutely the first thing you should do when it comes to the actual event planning is to decide together what style of wedding you want, which vendors are the most important to the both of you, how much money you can afford to spend on your event, and how to allocate those funds. Spend a little time researching general vendor costs so that you will know what to expect and then outline a budget and put it on paper. As you begin spending your money, stick to your budget. If you find you need more money than budgeted for a particular vendor, reallocate those funds from another vendor rather than over-spending altogether. Be realistic… sure, this is your wedding and you want it to be perfect, but keep these two things in mind. First, the real purpose of your wedding is to join the two of you together as husband and wife. As long as is happens, your real goal is achieved. Second, your wedding day really is just one day out of a lifetime of days with your partner. Do you really want to be in debt for years to come because of one party? It’s nice to dream, but a lavish wedding on a shoestring budget can easily turn into financial nightmare – and a source of recurring arguments – once the party is over.

2. Not Researching Legal and/or Religious Requirements Early

Find out where and when you must obtain your marriage license. In Illinois, you must obtain your marriage licence at the County Clerk’s Office in the county in which you will be married, regardless of your home address. No blood tests are required for Illinois marriages; however, even if you are a resident of Illinois, blood tests may be required if you plan to marry in another state or country. Equally important are the requirements imposed by your religious affiliation and/or the church in which you will marry. You wouldn’t want to pay for flower petals to be dropped by the flower girl and then find out that your church doesn’t allow it. Or show up for the ceremony in your $10,000 strapless gown and find out your church doesn’t allow bare shoulders. Many churches also require pre-marital classes, as well as approval for your music selections, readings, vows, and more.

3. Choosing Bridesmaids’ Attire Not Flattering for All Bridesmaids

Before you even go out on your first gown shopping trip, you should have a discussion with each and every bridesmaid as to each bridesmaid’s likes and dislikes. Likely, your bridal party will be composed of bridesmaids of varying body types. Several of your bridesmaids may also feel self-conscious about a particular part of their body. Yes… you are the bride and it is your day; however, you’ve asked the closest of your family and friends to stand up with you and in support of your union. At the very least, you should want each and every one of them to feel your love and support for them as well. If you’re not able to shop for dresses as a group, make sure to bring the one or two women who will best keep in mind the desires and needs of other members of the party and not simply their own.

4. Poor Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Planning

How many times have we seen blooper videos of grooms passing out during the wedding ceremony, or falling face first into the wedding cake? Getting completely trashed the night before your wedding makes for a miserable wedding day, complete with hundreds to thousands of dollars of you looking sick, faint, or simply hungover in wedding photos and videos. Momentos that were meant to remind you for a lifetime of the love you shared for one another on that special day can quickly turn into constant reminders of your insensitivity, thoughtlessness, and lack of consideration for both your spouse and guests. Make it clear – very clear – to your family and friends long before your wedding date arrives that, under no circumstance, will you attend any bachelor or bachelorette party on the night before your nuptials. Equally important is to make wise choices for your rehearsal dinner; it is just that, a rehearsal dinner, not an excuse to throw down pitchers of beer with your bridal party the night before your wedding! If you can’t take seriously the ceremony – the one day – that binds you together as husband and wife for the rest of your lives, how seriously can you possibly be taking your marriage vows?

5. Asking Friends/Family to Act as Wedding Professionals

While it may be true that Uncle George takes some beautiful pictures, it is still NOT okay to ask him to act as your wedding photographer! Why, you ask? First of all, real wedding vendors are trained specifically for providing services for weddings. Wedding photographers, as opposed to Uncle George, know exactly which pictures to take and when to take them, as well as the etiquette involved in providing those services. Secondly, you contract with wedding professionals to provide particular services; with Uncle George, you have to hope for the best and end up doing much of the detail work (ie: photo editing, cropping, printing, etc…) yourself. With wedding professionals, you have recourse if you don’t receive what you’ve paid for; with Uncle George, you have only hurt feelings and regret. And lastly, Uncle George is a relative and a “guest” of your special day. Shouldn’t he be able to enjoy your event without the pressure of providing you with perfect wedding photos? Now, do we really need to get into why Aunt Betty shouldn’t bake your wedding cake?

6. Choosing Wedding Professionals Based Solely on Price

Ever heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for?” There’s probably a reason why Videographer X is only half the price of Videographer Z. Just ask to see samples of their work and you’ll probably see why. When it comes to the “big” vendors (ie: reception venues, photographers, florists, bakeries, etc…), interview several in varying price ranges and compare not only samples of their work, but years of experience, references, and training/education. Also, when talking to each vendor, try to assess whether you would be comfortable working with this vendor and how well their “style” melds with your vision of your special day; this is especially important for vendors who will provide services throughout the day (ie: photographers, videographers, djs, etc…). Your make up artist may be top of the line, but if she makes you feel ugly and self-conscious about your nose size right before your wedding pictures, who needs her!

7. Giving in to “Last Minute Beauty Panic”

No matter how “pasty” you feel the day before your wedding, do not hit the beach or tanning salon! There’s nothing worse than a sun burnt bride with bad tan lines in the wedding photos. No matter how fat you feel 10 days before your wedding, do NOT go on an all-cabbage crash diet! You’re dress won’t fit right and you’ll be weak, tired and cranky on your wedding day…and no matter how much thinner you look, who really finds beauty in a bitchy bride? No matter how large your pores look or how many fine lines you find, do NOT get an emergency microdermabrasion, chemical peel, or laser facial treatment in the week before your wedding, especially if you’ve never before experienced any major facial resurfacing. Scarring and pigmentary changes (light and dark patches) are common side effects of many skin rejuvenation techniques, such as laser resurfacing, dermal abrasion and chemical peels. In fact, don’t even try any new facial soaps, scrubs, lotions or acne treatments in the days before your wedding. Who wants to deal with red, inflamed, irritated skin on their wedding day! Stick to what your skin knows and loves, despite the fines lines and pores, and you’ll be a much happier bride. And lastly, no matter how flat your hair feels, do NOT surprise your hair dresser on the morning of your wedding with a new home perm or hair streaks. If you truly feel the need for a new look for your wedding day, discuss this with your hair dresser during your pre-wedding hair appointment and have her make any major changes needed at that time.

No matter how thoroughly you plan, some mistakes are likely to occur. Remember the real purpose of your wedding day, to marry your soul mate. As long as that happens, does anything else truly matter? If you focus on the mistakes, that’s all you will remember and talk about in the coming years. Resolve to enjoy the day with the one that you love, surrounded by family and friends, no matter what small things may go wrong, and you’ll look back on a wonderful day filled with love and happiness for years to come.