I bet you weren't expecting to hear that were you?
It's kind of common knowledge that weddings are expensive but you don't really find that out how expensive until you begin to plan your own. You might not expect a wedding photographer to offer up advice on how to save pennies but ultimately, who am I to tell you what you 'should spend'. (If you're nosey as to why photographers charge so much then pop along to this blog post here). Any way! Without further ado, here's my 2 pence worth....
#1- The fun bit (for me anyway...) research!
First I would recommend getting your FBI cap on and doing some research on what style of photography you like. This will shorten your search in the long run and ensure you are happy with your photos. You'll find that each photographer has their own style of capturing photos and their own style of editing them. Some may go for a more candid a colourful look *cough cough*, where as others will go for a darker moodier look, others may even go for an editorial/magazine type look. I'd recommend categorising photographers in this way and then sending out your enquiries.
*side note* It is a big no no to ask a photographer to change their style based on what you like so make sure you're happy with this before signing the dotted line.
#2- opt for Shorter coverage
Make a list of the events you most want photographed on the day- Can you squeeze all of those into 3 or 4 hours? If so ask if your photographer offers smaller wedding packages with just a few hours coverage- most of us do. In a typical 4 hour wedding I will cover a bit of prep, the ceremony, couples portraits, family shots and a few candids before heading out usually at the start of the meal. If you just want the essentials covered then this might be an option for you.
#3- Ask about Payment plans
These are becoming increasingly popular as an affordable, convenient way of paying your photographer particularly if you’re booking 1-2 years in advance. Like you would for car finance or a catalogue account you can pay a smaller amount monthly right up until the month before your wedding.
#4 Trade services!
If you own a business or provide a service you could ask your photographer to trade services as a partial or full payment. For example if you own a garage you could offer a service, if you design websites you could offer to help update theirs. Heck, you could even offer to re-carpet their living room in exchange for their services. As long as it is proposed in a respectful way there really isn’t any harm in asking.
#5 Hire a Newbie
Say what?! Yes, I said it! Hire a newbie. Now there's a reason this is #5, stay with me okay? We all have to start somewhere and there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a less experienced photographer to cover your wedding if you're aware of possible issues that may arise. It is important to be honest with one another about what your expectations are and what the photographer can deliver. You need to be asking if they're insured, if they have back up equipment and memory cards and how competent they feel using their camera during challenging and changing light. Once this is all discussed you should absolutely sign a contract to ensure that you are both covered just in case anything goes wrong. Fingers crossed it won't of course and this will be a win - win for you and your photographer.