HOW TO MEET YOUR BUDGETARY REQUIREMENTS WITH WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Compare Pricing and Service by getting multiple quotes
Just like buying a car, you don't just jump at the first offer that you see. You compare offers and weigh the relative pros and cons until you arrive at a decision that you're confident at and won't regret.
Spend time and thoroughly research photographers in your area and request quotes (if they don't provide the pricing upfront) from everyone who seems to be in line with your taste and budget.
Once you've narrowed your choices, you can already thoroughly check them out. Read their online reviews, check their posted work online, if you know people who have used their services already, reach out to them and ask, and don't be afraid to ask them directly for references.
Though this process by itself can't reduce the final cost of your wedding photography, it can increase the possibility that you and your spouse will be satisfied with the outcome. After all, paying a bit more for wedding photos that you can be proud of and cherish for years to come is already an investment in the fond memory of one of the happiest days of your life.
Book ahead of time
Rates are likely to go up or rise exponentially as an up-and-coming photographer builds a reputation year by year. Even established photographers keep up with this inflation. If you sign up for your photographer soon after your engagement or way ahead of time before your wedding day, you could skip your photographer's price hike. Also, another good option is to make full payment upfront, as this can give you a possible discount from your chosen photographer.
Consider Lower-Priced Packages
Some wedding photographers offer basic packages with fewer add-ons and unnecessary extras. But, in some cases, some standard arrangement covers just the shoot itself and online gallery or image DVD.
By giving just the essentials and providing you the flexibility to choose how to order additional ons, such as wall prints or bound albums, the basic package allows you to have better control over your total photography costs and enables you to spread your investment out over a more extended period of time. Remember, if you choose to order additional videos, prints, or any other products at a later date, you can likely do it at a much lower cost online or at a brick-and-mortar photo shop (only if you have a personal use release from your photographer).
Ask for an Off-Peak or Off-Season Discount
Most couples get married on Saturdays. If you're willing to go against the crowd and organize a weekday wedding, you can try to ask your chosen photographer for an off-peak discount. Depending on local customs, it's not unreasonable to expect a 10% or 15% discount off your bill for a midweek function.
The same applies to off-season weddings in places with aggressively defined wedding seasons. If you're scheduling a summer wedding in Miami or a February wedding in Boston or Chicago, it won't hurt to ask for a discount. That being said, winter weddings are getting more popular, so don't be surprised if your request is refused. On the other hand, there are other potential benefits to weekday and off-season weddings, such as venue and catering discounts.
Ask for Referral Discounts or Credits
Don't hesitate or be shy to ask your photographer for referral discounts or credits. Many photographers offer kickbacks, either as a discount to your final bill or credits that can be used for future orders or products for those current or prior customers who refer new business.
You don't have to promote them at your wedding, but if you personally know anyone who's planning their wedding, why not suggest your photographer to them. This works in the other direction too. If your friends refer you to their wedding photographer, you may qualify for a discount.
Look for Custom Packages
It’s easy to give in to the simplicity of preset photo packages, especially if you're in a rush to get ready for your big day. However, preset packages most of the time, include unnecessary services or add-ons. And sometimes photographers aren’t always willing to customize it for you on the spot.
To avoid paying more, look for photographers that can offer custom packages. These packages have minimal conditions and you can choose the number of hours of your photographer on your wedding day and get all your images in an electronic format, but beyond that, the deliverables (such as albums) and services rendered are up to you. Also, larger custom packages sometimes qualify for discounts, so be sure to ask your photographer about this as well.
Avoid Non-local Photographers
Unless you’re having a destination wedding, avoid working with non-local photographers if you want to save money. Non-local photographers will often add airfare or mileage onto the cost of their services, which will increase your final bill. Even if your photographer doesn’t declared to add travel costs to your bill, they’re built into its margins, and your total cost is likely to be higher than what a local provider would charge.
If you're having an out-of-state wedding, you'll be most likely to pay for your photographer's transportation and hotel. It's more financially wise to look for a wedding photographer within the same area or state of where you will have your wedding.
Limit Your Photographer’s Hours
Some photographer packages include a specific number of hours that usually goes from four to seven hours. Before hiring and choosing your package, determine how long they need to be present at your wedding. You would want to capture important points or moments such as your walk down the aisle, exchange of vows, post-ceremony procession and the cake cutting. But do you really need professional shots of your rehearsal dinner or the later stages of your reception party?
Choose your package properly, and don’t be shy to ask for modifications. For example, if you don’t need reception photos at all, your photographer may be willing to bail right after the post-ceremony wedding party shots.